How to Create the Perfect H1 Tag for Top Google Rankings?
Content marketing is highly successful and is overgrowing across the globe. You must be familiar with various elements of content marketing and SEO. Some of its most overlooked features include article or page headings, especially H1 tags.
We frequently use them to help users understand the topic and optimize the article with keywords. Still, very few people know that creating H1 tags is the secret recipe for rankings and traffic.
Web admins know very little about the power of H1s and how you can use them to improve engagement, Click Through Rate, and time spent on the site. We talk a lot about H1s but never pay attention to enhancing rankings with the intelligent use of H1 tags.
Here you will learn the secret recipe of how to write H1s that appeal to search engines and users.
H1 heading carries a lot of significance for visitors. It is a strong indicator of whether a person is going to read a page or not. Apart from that, it also determines the relevancy of the search engines.
In HTML, headings tags are defined in the following hierarchy:
We will create an H1 tag using this markup code in HTML
<h1> Are you ready to launch your own digital agency?</h1>
To know how it works, let’s open a new web page, preferably a blog post.
The H1 tag on this page is “How to Create a Powerful Marketing Funnel Step-by-Step.” Now, take a look at how it looks on “View Source.”
Please pay attention to the highlighted H1 tags. The text – “How to Create a Powerful Marketing Funnel Step-by-Step” can easily be seen between the tags.
It looks pretty straightforward, but the H1 holds much more value than you can think of from an SEO and content marketing perspective.
What Can H1s Do For Your Website?
H1s are extremely good for search engines as with different variations; you may target different keywords. It will allow you to attract entirely different sets of audiences.
There are several instances when web admins experimented with H1s and noticed dramatic results. Neil Patel wanted to attract an entirely new audience for his blog. To achieve that, he decided to improve his site and that included updating an H1 on one of his blogs.
In less than a week, organic traffic multiplied by 85%, and its ranking improved from page three of search results to 8th position on page one.
And all of this happened just by changing the H1. Neil made no significant changes in an SEO strategy or investment in off-page promotion or link-building.
So, here is something every SEO professional must know:
Tip: H1s have always been a significant ranking factor, so optimize your H1 according to users and relevant keywords before anything else.
Are H1 Tags the Same Thing as Title Tags?
H1s are the first headings or titles of a page or article, whereas HTML title tags are created for search engines. They tell the search engine what your page is all about and are independent of the H1s or header tags.
So, a page’s title can be completely different from H1s.
However, the SEO rule book says that the title tag should be a combination of your H1 tag and the title of your website.
Let’s consider the following example:
The title of the article is “A-to-Z Guide to White Label Solutions for Marketing Agencies.“
The title of the website is “White-Label Solutions for Digital Marketing Agencies.”
Then your title tag should be something along these lines:
“White-Label Solutions for Digital Marketing Agencies – An A-to-Z Guide“
Instead of separating both these parts by a dash (-), a pipe (“|”) is also used frequently,
Here is the top SERP returned by Google for the keyword “iPhone 12 reviews.”
Have a look at the titles separated by both a dash and a pipe:
Remember, most of the search results highlight the title tag and not the H1 tag. H1 tag is just for further info about the page’s contents to enable a better user experience.
User Optimization of H1s
Contemporary SEO is more about user optimization. If users find that your website is easily navigated, Google will reward it with high rankings. Your website will get improved rankings if it’s content:
- Answers users’ queries
- Matches their search intent
- Hooks them and keeps them coming for further information
You shouldn’t rely on a few technical tweaks to immediately push your site up the SERP ladder. The focus should be user experience — all else is secondary.
SEO is an art —- and not math, and the ultimate objective of all this exercise is to offer a better user experience.
Tip: So, here as well, when you optimize your site and on-page elements such as H1 tags, etc., aim to provide what the searchers are looking for. If your H1 matches the user intent, you’re likely to see an overnight jump in rankings.
How to Create the Perfect H1 Tag?
Here are five powerful tips for writing a perfect H1 tag that will boost SEO on your site and improve the user experience:
1. Use a Single H1
Technically, we can use multiple H1 tags per page, but it will create confusion and negatively impact the user experience. It will also dilute the value of an H1.
One major drawback of using multiple H1 tags is that these can easily confuse search engines regarding target keywords so that the page ranking may drop. It may also confuse users in terms of the content on the page.
So go with a single tag, even if it ends up becoming a long one.
If you have multiple subheaders or need more to explain the content, use the H2 tags for the purpose.
It won’t confuse Google since Google loves multiple H2 tags and perceives such content as rich content.
2. Keep Your Tag within 20-70 Characters Range
Even though you can very well have a long tail H1 tag, try to restrict it within the range of 20 to 70 characters. There can be several reasons for that, but the user experience is a significant reason as a small header helps the user instantly understand the topic.
A longer tag may become even longer when a website’s name is added to it. Imagine when a super long H1 tag appears in the SERPs. Would it look that user-friendly? In that case, Google won’t even publish the entire tag. It will just shorten it and add ellipsis, i.e., “…”
When the complete information doesn’t reach the users, they might skip the result. So keeping it within 20 to 70 characters will help you put it in front of the users, so they can easily understand that your website contains what they are looking for.
3. Make your H1 Stand Out
Aesthetics play an important role while creating your H1s. To ensure perfect styling, look at `the text in your WordPress draft. Ensure that the text stands out and there is plenty of white space before and after the tags, so the tags appeal to the eyes and look clutter-free.
Please take a look at it from your audience’s viewpoint.
Here is an excellent H1 tag:
Now have a look at this example, where H1 doesn’t stand out:
4. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
If you have already used a keyword in your H1, avoid stuffing it throughout the article, as Google considers it keyword stuffing. It was an old SEO practice when web admins stuffed keywords to rank high, but many major algorithm updates announced by Google after Panda aimed to penalize such sites. However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t include keywords in your article. Optimizing your content with intent-based keywords is standard practice, but it should look natural and not forced. Google wants to make sure that nothing makes user experience suffer on a website.
5. Address User Intent
Last but not least, you should now move over user-experience to user-intent. If your H1 addresses the user intent (what they are looking for), there is no reason it won’t help you to rank high on SERPs.
Your H1 should answer the customers’ question or call it “intent,” which can be slightly different from the actual query they might use in the search field.
Before we discuss it further, let’s have a look at Google’s mission statement.
Have a look at this example:
This query “backlinks” is a general keyword where the intent is not very well defined, so we can safely say that the searcher seeks reliable information on what backlinks are and how they are created. You can see that most of the results are informative articles around backlinks, and the H1 includes the query — “What are backlinks?“
Now let’s look at the search results using another keyword, “create backlinks free.”
Here, the search query is “create backlinks free,” but most of the results are about tools that can create free backlinks because that’s the search intent.
Again, look at the result at the third position, which comes from www.fannit.com. They have intelligently combined the search query “free backlinks” with the intent-based query in the H1. That’s what you can try in your H1s. The user wants to know the different ways to create free backlinks, so the article in the SERP suggests tools that you can use to create such links.
It also reduces the bounce rate.
Here is an essential insight into how Google engineers run a user-intent test on a website. According to them, if a searcher doesn’t return to SERPs soon after clicking on a link, it’s a positive indication that they are pleased with the result. Such websites have a low bounce rate.
On the contrary, if he comes back within seconds, it hints that Google sent them to a page that wasn’t relevant to the search query. If it occurs frequently, it will increase the bounce rate. It happens when the user doesn’t find what they are looking for. Google drops the rankings of such a website.
Tip: Align your H1 tag with your title, content, and targeted keyword. It’s crucial for the retention of a visitor. If you claim something in your H1, your content should prove it.
1. What Is the Difference Between an H1 Tag and a Header Tag?
There is no difference. Both the terms “H1 tag” and “header tag” are used frequently because the H1 tag is nothing but the article’s title. Don’t confuse it with the HTML <head> section though. It’s a part of HTML <body>.
Title tag goes into the <head> section.
2. How to Manually Check if an H1 Tag Exists on a Web Page?
Right-click on the concerned web page and click on “View Source.” A tab will open with some raw HTML coding. Now do a Ctrl+F term search for “<H1.” Hit the enter button; it’ll take you to the first “H1” on the page. If you can’t find any tag, it means the H1 tag doesn’t exist on that page — create one immediately.
3. What Should Be the Position of the H1 Tag on the Page?
It should be on top of the page for SEO purposes because that is what Google expects from you. Please make note that Google considers it as the title of the page. And if you want any other text to be highlighted below, tag it as subheader text such as H2, H3, etc.
4. Does Your H1 Tag Have to Be Stylish?
For SEO purposes, no — but it needs to be stylish to appeal to human eyes. Usual style elements are color, size, font, and spacing. If your website suffers because of any of these elements, you need to reconsider adding that. Remember: the mobile-friendliness of a website is one of the chief concerns of Google.
5. Should the H1 Tag Match With the Title Tag?
No, it should not. For HTML, both these are two different elements. Even though they define the same article — the article title doesn’t appear on the web page. It’s meant for Google spiders. The H1 seems on the web page as Page Title, intended for both humans and Google bots.
What Are Common H1 Tag Errors Many SEOs Make, and How to Avoid That?
Below are the four most common mistakes SEO professionals make. Go through them and never commit such mistakes:
1. Creating Content Without an H1 Tag
H1 tag helps your visitors understand what your content is all about. So, it’s good for SEO and user experience. You must be paying a lot in terms of rankings if you don’t have an H1 tag.
2. Using Only a Single H1 Tag When You Need More
If you feel your content requires more than one H1s, go for that. It helps in SEO and user experience as a single piece of content may provide solutions to different sets of audiences.
3. Focusing Too Hard on Search Engines
Don’t focus too hard on search engines or changing algorithms. Pay attention to user experience, and everything else will fall in place. Make it simple, but adding relevant keywords and creating a few variations of your H1 would immensely help you if it improves user experience on the site.
4. Don’t Duplicate H1s
Avoid repeating your H1s from external websites and your own website. It’s not a good practice. H1s should be unique as the search engines would rank your web page accordingly. Duplicating H1s can confuse search engines.
Use the suggestions given in this article on how to improve your H1 tags for higher rankings and traffic. Revisit your website, identify the weak H1 tags and implement these tips to improve them. However, user experience is still the most crucial element for rankings and traffic. Make sure everything you do improves user experience and skip everything that harms it.