How can proper use of headings improve my SEO?
Who Who are you marketing too? When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) headings help search engines understand the subject matter of your content, and the focus of your web page. Google is focusing on user intent when it delivers search results, and delivering highly relevant search results provides a good user experience (UX). So for example, the H1 heading above “How can proper use of headings improve my SEO?”, tells google that my post or page is about headings and SEO. Without that it would have some information from the title “Using headings for SEO. Tips to help you rank well with google.” but not nearly as much as with the H1 heading. MAKE SURE YOU USE AN H1 HEADING. You would be surprised, or maybe you wouldn’t at the number of clients, small and very large, that have no H1 headings when we do our initial SEO audits.
The H1 HEADING is the most important heading on your page or post. The H1 heading should clearly convey what your content is about as search engines will use this information as an important indicator of your pages subject matter when matching with user intent. Only use ONE (1) of the H1 headings per page. Multiple H1 headings are looked at as an error and will send confusing signals about page content to search engines. Don’t simply duplicate the title of your page or post, but use complimentary text to enhance the Search presence. You will get no benefit from saying exactly the same thing in your title as your H1 Heading. Keep your title on point while trying to attract attention, and use the H1 to compliment that title while still being succinct in describing the main topic of the page.
TYPES OF HEADINGS YOU CAN USE TO HELP WITH SEO
There are headings of type H1 to H6 which help you format your content to indicate importance, similar to an outline format where you have main points, secondary points, and then sub points as well. So the heading above in orange, TYPES OF HEADINGS YOU CAN USE TO HELP WITH SEO, is an H2 heading (secondary importance), and I will follow it below with some H3 headings for each of the heading types below (in blue).
Heading 1 (H1) – Main Content Topic Indexed for SEO by search engine
- HEY GOOGLE! This page is about… (insert your H1 here)
- Don’t simply repeat your title when it comes to SEO. Your title and your H1 are two separate opportunities to use SEO to your advantage. Making them the same takes one tool out of the SEO toolbox. Enhance your H1 with additional or complimentary topical info.
Heading 2 (H2) – Key Secondary Headings within the Content Topic for Search Engines
- Use the H2 to help the reader easily see what is important on the page and the key subheading on the page.
- Google, Bing, and other search engines like pages that have more than just the H1 on each page or post. It helps them more precisely determine what your content is about and deliver it accordingly.
- If using WP or other CMS you may be able to format colours, sizes and fonts within your theme settings or in CMS. Use font and colour formatting to make your headings stand out from plain text.
Heading 3 (H3), Heading 4 (H4) Heading 5 (H5), Heading 6 (H6) – Additional Subheadings
- Use the additional subheadings, to highlight content as required in a logical format.
- For SEO purposes use at least the H1 plus one or more sub headings.
- You can use multiple sub headings and try to use paragraph text between sub headings so your entire page is not headings. 🙂
In this editor, WP Bakery, the headings from H2 to H6 Format as follows (this is an H2):
This is an H3 Heading
This in an H4 Heading
And here is an H5 Heading
Finally, the seldom used an H6 Heading
This is standard paragraph text.
One Final Tip on SEO when it comes to headings and titles. Beware the Vertical Bar (|)and the Dash (-) in headings.
You never stop learning when it comes to SEO. It is common and perhaps aesthetically pleasing to use the vertical bar in headings and titles to separate information, but search engines will interpret a vertical dash as a stop word and not combine the text on either side of the vertical bar. They will however ignore the DASH and combine the words on either side of the dash when indexing content.
So the heading
“10 great tips on SEO | Heading, Titles, Bullets, Bold, Lists and more”
will be interpreted differently than
“10 great tips on SEO – Heading, Titles, Bullets, Bold, Lists and more”
The first instance will index two separate strings “10 great tips on SEO ” and “Headings, Bullets, Bold, Lists, and more”. So you may not get the effect you want of combining the first and second together.
The second instance will get the full string indexed because the DASH will be ignored.
See the excerpt below on the vertical bar from search engine land:
Using The Vertical Bar In Title Tags
Search for long winding road, long – winding road, long — winding road, and long | winding road. Notice how Google ignores the dashes but not the vertical bar? That bar separates long and winding, not just visually, but in the Google algorithm. If your website uses the vertical bar, experiment by replacing it with a dash and see what happens.
Read the full article here: https://searchengineland.com/9-seo-quirks-you-should-be-aware-of-146465
Well that was fun! Although it seems very basic, in my many SEO projects and digital marketing work I have seen FAR too many sites that make NO use or the WRONG use of headings, titles and formatting. Take the above and dig even a little deeper into heading and formatting for SEO and you will be surprised at the effect it may have on your rankings.
Any questions please reach out to us and we would be happy to help you improve your digital marketing and web presence.