Having the right content strategy is essential for people to see your site as an authority in your niche. Unfortunately, that alone isn’t enough. To rank your website on page one of Google, you need to optimize your content. No one can guarantee page one rankings, but it’s much easier with proper strategies. That means making sure that each page has relevant keywords and that visitors have an easy time navigating and understanding your website.
This is where H1s come in. Wait, what is an H1 tag? The H1 tag is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) because it helps visitors and search engines understand what a webpage is about from the first header on the page.
In this blog post, we’ll explain what an H1 tag is, discuss how to find it on any given webpage, and learn how to optimize each one for better website visibility.
What Is an H1 Tag?
The H1 tag is the first heading on a webpage that tells a reader what the page is about. It’s also the part of a page that search engines look at to decide what your content is about and how relevant it is to a user’s search. Because H1 tags are such an important characteristic of SEO, it’s useful to know what they are and how to improve your site’s content as a result.
First, each H1 tag on your webpages should contain the most important keywords related to the content of that page.
Note, however, that it’s a good idea to have the title tag and H1 contain different keyword variations, so that your page can rank for different phrases.
Second, you want the H1 tag to be as close to the beginning of your page as possible. You don’t want your H1 to come after a run-on sentence or several paragraphs of content because it will make it difficult for humans and search engine algorithms to understand what your page is about.
Finding H1 Tags
You’ll find the H1 tag either at the top of a webpage or somewhere towards the beginning of its content. If you don’t see the H1 tag at the top of the page, that means your page is not set up correctly. Poor on-page SEO structure is one of the most common reasons your page doesn’t rank higher in the search results.
Not sure which header is your H1? Come to think of it, are you wondering where all of your page titles, descriptions, and headers are? We have you covered.
Double-left-click on the phrase that looks like the closest match. Then right-click on your highlight, and left-click on “Inspect.” Your web browser will open up an inspection window. Review the information in the window to see if the section you highlighted is the H1. If it’s not, the inspection window should show you where it is.
If you don’t find the H1 tag right away, you will likely find it somewhere in the middle of your page. You can also use SEO tools like Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz to check if your page has an H1.
Note that an H1 and title tag are not the same. An H1 is the reader-facing, largest header on a webpage. A title tag is a short description of the webpage for search engines’ purposes. They are similar in that search engines use both to determine what a webpage is about, but different in that H1s are much more important for human consumption than robot consumption.
Why Are H1 Tags Important for SEO?
H1 tags are important for SEO because they allow search engines to instantly detect what your page is most likely to be about. The keyword in your H1 tag should be the primary keyword that you’re trying to rank for in your content.
If your webpage doesn’t have an H1 tag, or if it has an H1 tag with the wrong keyword, you’re missing out on a clear opportunity to get your page to rank higher. Your page’s rank will suffer (or never rank to begin with), and your readers will miss out on your content.
How to Optimize Your H1 Tags
What we’ve covered so far is all about how to find H1 tags and how they work. Now, let’s look at how you can optimize your H1 tags for the best results.
First, decide which keyword you want each page to rank for. You can use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or UberSuggest to help you with this. If you haven’t done keyword research before, learn why keyword research is key to your SEO strategy.
Second, find the H1 field for individual pages in your content management system (CMS). H1 fields vary based on the CMS being used, so get familiar with this before you go changing a bunch of H1s or adding new ones. Your CMS should automatically affix H1s at the top of your page since this is where H1 tags are supposed to go.
If you don’t see the H1 tag at the top of the page, contact your web developer to have them fix it. Once you find the H1 field, write the keyword you want to rank for in that form field. Write any new content below the H1. This strategy ensures the keywords you spend valuable time researching are being included in the right places.
Maximize Your H2 Tags, Too
An important and supplementary part of H1s is H2 tags. These tags are slightly less important than the H1, but still important to get right.
H2 tags are smaller subheadings that break up the information on a page and help readers absorb your content better. They also help search engines understand the structure of your content and rank your site higher on their results pages. Read how to create an SEO-friendly website structure if it’s your first time diving into technical SEO.
Just like you research keywords for your H1s, you should have your H2s incorporate keywords whenever possible. Such an approach demonstrates to Google and other search engines that your content isn’t just informative, but comprehensive. Google loves to serve pages to users if it is thorough, easy to understand, and easy to navigate.
The Bottom Line
Here’s an overview of the key points about H1s:
- H1s are the reader-facing title of virtually every webpage on the internet. H1 tags tell search engine algorithms what a page’s content is most likely to be about, and shows humans what to expect on that webpage.
- H1 tags are usually found at the top of a webpage. They should be the largest and most easily read heading on a page. If you don’t see a title that fits that description, you may be viewing a webpage that doesn’t have an H1, or has multiple H1s–both of which are a problem.
- H1s are important for SEO for several reasons. One, they communicate to search engines about what should be on that page. Two, when your H1 contains a keyword, it is exponentially more likely to obtain a higher ranking on Google, or any other search engine.
- The primary keyword you’re targeting for a page and your H1 should be the same, or at least very similar. This creates a clean, on-page SEO structure that’s maximally useful for humans and web crawlers.
- Your CMS should make it easy to find and update your H1s. If you can’t find the H1 form field in your CMS, talk with your web developer.
- H2s are relevant to your website’s SEO success, as well. Use the same keyword research strategies for H2s as you do with H1s. If you don’t have any secondary keywords for your H2s, make sure your subheadings are comprised of terms relevant to your content.
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