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Headings and SEO: Everything You Need to Know

Headings and SEO: Everything You Need to Know

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Headings are the phrases at a section's beginning describing what the section is about. All thanks to a page's headings, visitors can quickly scan the page and search engines can easily fathom the structure of the page.

But, the more important thing to know here is, headings can also help boost your brand's rankings if you use them in the correct manner!

How, you may ask?

Headings shed light on the relevancy and hierarchy of a content piece to both search engines and visitors. Headings, when correctly used, quickly help describe a page to both your site visitors and search engines.

Wish to know more about headings and SEO, and heading tags in more detail? Keep reading!

What Are Headings?

Headings are the phases that describe what the specific section is about.

In total, there are six levels of headings you should be aware of ā H1 through H6. These are defined in the HTML of a page.

The H1 heading is usually called the main heading, whereas the H2-H6 headings are called “subheadings” as they denote sub-levels. The H1 heading is the supreme one and the H6 heading is the least important one.

Example of H1 Heading On a Website

Image Source: Sitechecker

Fact: Headings H1, H2, and H3 are the ones used most frequently.

What Are Heading Tags?

Whenever the subject of headings comes up, people often refer to headings as “heading tags.” However, this is not the case.

Let's take an example to understand heading tags. For instance, you find this in your page's HTML code:

<h1>This is the H1 heading</h1>

Let’s break this H1 heading element down to understand what it means:

  • <h1>: H1 heading’s opening tag
  • This is the H1 heading: The text that will show as the H1 heading to the visitor
  • </h1>: H1 heading’s closing tag

What's the Importance of Headings?

Headings hold importance both for search engines and visitors. Here's how:

Headings help visitors quickly navigate a page and find content that holds relevance to them. Also, visually impaired visitors take the help of screen readers for browsing, and these readers depend on headings to learn about pages.

As far as search engines are concerned, headings help them understand a page's topics as well as page structure. Also, when you incorporate keywords in headings, it positively impacts SEO performance.

Note: The correct use of headings improves user experience, eventually improving SEO performance.

Headings Improves User Experience

Pro Tip: Headings improve your rankings because they help communicate relevance for keywords to search engines.

How Are Featured Snippets and Headings Linked?

You might have seen a featured snippet appear in SERPs after conducting a search in a search engine. These are special snippets that show an extract from a web page.

Now, the thing is, search engines need to know well enough about the content in order to choose these extracts. And you know what helps them in these? Headings!

If you use headings correctly and smartly, you increase your chances of appearing in featured snippets. And you know what this means a boost in your visibility in the SERPs that leads to more organic traffic to your website.

Heading Hierarchy

When it comes to headings, you need to follow a logical structure. Here's everything you need to keep in mind in this regard:

A page begins with the H1 heading and then follows the H2 heading. If you need another sub-section, the H2 heading can be followed by an H3 heading.

Also, in case you require more sub-sections, you can include H4-H6 headings.

Check out these headings levels that will give you an idea regarding what we are talking about:

Heading Hierarchy

Note: Never skip levels in the hierarchy.

An instance of correct heading usage is:

<h1>This heading explains the page's topic</h1>

<h2>An H2 subheading</h2>

<h3>An H3 subheading</h3>

<h2>Another H2 subheading</h2>

<h3>Another H3 subheading</h3>

Also, take a look at a second example to understand the levels of headings in a better manner:

<h1>This explains the topic of a page</h1>

<h2>An H2 subheading</h2>

<h2>Another H2 subheading</h2>

<h3>An H3 subheading</h3>

<h4>An H4 subheading</h4>

<h5>An H5 subheading</h5>

H1-H6 Headings

Image Source: Seobility

Sizes of Headings

The H1 heading should be the largest heading on a web page.

The H2 heading, on the other hand, is a little smaller than H1 and the H3 heading is a little smaller than H2.

And so on..

The thing is, the deeper you go with headings, the smaller their sizes become.

Take a look at this illustration to know the difference in heading sizes:

Example of Heading Sizes

Image Source: Ilya Birman

H1 Heading

So far, we've established that the H1 heading explains the main topic of a page.

Here's another fact you need to know about this heading:

In case your page title doesn't pass the relevancy standard set by the search engines or if you don't clearly define your page title, the search engines may show the H1 heading of your page as the title in the search engine results of the page.

A few other important things you need to know about the H1 heading are:

  1. A page should have only one H1 heading.
  2. An H1 heading should be unique across your site.
  3. Your H1 heading and page title can be the same. But we recommend that you create an H1 heading that doesn’t match your page title. This is because visitors tend to note the H1 heading more than the page title.
  4. Don’t make an H1 heading too lengthy. Why so? It’s because it can hinder your user experience because of reduced readability. We suggest a length of 60 characters at max.
  5. Ensure you create an H1 heading that makes sense for your readers.

Read More: How to Create the Perfect H1 Tag for Top Google Rankings

Other Heading Levels (H2-H6)

To further structure content, you can use subheadings H2-H6.

Use these subheadings only if you feel the need to include them in your content.

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Wrapping It Up

Headings are useful both for search engines and visitors. Visitors can take a quick scan of a page, all thanks to the headings used on it. Search engines, on the other hand, are able to understand the topics of a page and the page structure with the help of headings.

Now that you know what headings are and how to use headings for SEO, you can begin to incorporate them into your pages the right way. Headings are known to improve your rankings because they help convey relevance for keywords to search engines. So, ensure you use them wisely in your content in order to extract the maximum out of them.

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Unlimited Sub-Accounts

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All Apps

All Features

White-Labeled

Active Community

Mobile App

Live Support

100+ Tutorials