Everything seems to be moving towards automation and AI generation these days. Faster, easier, cheaper, they say.
But when everyone has the same capabilities to push out the same results from similar inputs, how will they differentiate themselves to audiences and search engines?
The secret to success lies in building a well-presented website structure with truly engaging content.
A key part of this is using HTML heading tags. These tags do more than just format text; they organise and prioritise content, making it accessible and readable for users, while simultaneously catering to search engine algorithms.
In this article, our specialists at Digital Eagles will explore everything from the basics of header HTML options to mastering the art of creating a cohesive website structure, covering exactly how these tags can transform your content pages into well-organised SEO masterpieces.
What are HTML Heading Tags?
Header tags are HTML tags that mark-up headings and subheadings to reflect the hierarchy of the covered topics.
What does this mean for those who aren’t web developers and seasoned content creators? Well, with heading tags, SEO specialists can tell search engine bots which is the main header of the page, which are the subheadings, and so on, telling them the order of sections to review to rapidly determine the content’s relevance.
Naturally, they also improve the readability of your website structure. Audiences are much more likely to read and digest a page broken down into sections, rather than massive chunks of text.
Heading tags are shown as <Hx> (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.) in the HTML code of any web page.
By using heading tags to structure your content, you can achieve both more search engine visibility (through being featured more) and better user engagement (heading tags have been found to prompt the user to spend more time on a web page).
Why Header HTML Elements are So Important When Learning How to Make a Content Page More Visible
Improving SEO Amid Changing Search Behaviour
With local and mobile search becoming increasingly popular, search behaviour is changing continuously, and search engines are evolving to prioritise user experience wherever possible. As a result, consumers regularly search on the go and want – no, they demand – answers right here, right now. If your content cannot meet this immediate demand for information, consumers will simply move on to other sites that can.
By following the correct practices for HTML heading tags, SEO will always be your friend. They will help search engines instantly recognise the website structure and content hierarchy, essential for indexing. Incorporating relevant keywords into these subheadings will further enhance your content’s visibility in search results, catering to the evolving algorithms and user search behaviours.
Effective use of header HTML options and website structure dramatically improves the readability of your content. Think of them as signposts, guiding readers (as well as search engines) through a text by breaking it into manageable sections, rather than overwhelming them with paragraph after paragraph. If you regularly post longer articles, for example, where readers can easily lose track of the main points, well-placed subheadings will help retain their attention and make the content more digestible and engaging.
Featured snippets in search results have become a coveted position for any content creator. By structuring your content with clear, concise H-subheadings that directly answer common queries or provide quick summaries, you increase the likelihood of your content being picked for these snippets.
To identify which URL deserves a featured snippet treatment, Google’s featured snippet algorithm uses content and website structure almost exclusively. Google will display the best answers in both the featured snippet and the “People Also Ask” areas of the search results page.
Users can often only see these two sections in the area above the fold. This algorithm is capable of extracting answers from well-structured text. This often means that pages that rank between #2 and #5, and sometimes even between #5 and #10, will outrank the #1 result and get featured above it.
Modern technology has dramatically changed how people consume information. With digital assistants available on our mobile devices and on our benchtops, it’s now just as easy to call out a command than it is to manually search – perhaps even easier.
When voice search is executed, the results rely heavily on featured snippets, and consumers will mostly see these snippets in response to voice search queries. As such, voice search algorithms tend to favour well-organised and easily interpreted content. HTML header tag utilisation ensures the content on your page is well-structured in a question-and-answer format or succinct summaries that can align well with voice search queries, making your content more accessible through this growing medium.
Accessibility in web design is no longer optional but a necessity. Users with disabilities, particularly those who use screen readers, rely heavily on well-structured content to navigate a webpage. HTML heading & subheading use provides a roadmap through your content, allowing users to understand the layout and skip to sections of interest easily. Doing so enhances user experience and ensures inclusivity, making your content accessible to a wider audience.
How to Build Proper Website Structure with Heading Tags & SEO
H1 – The Main HTML Heading for the Content on Your Page
The H1 HTML header tag is going to be the main heading of the page.
You should also understand that the page title (<title>) is different from the <h1> tag, although they should be similar (and even identical).
Crafting an effective title and a solid H1 tag has a lot in common:
- In the title tag, use the keywords that have the highest volume and are critical.
- In the H1 heading, don’t be afraid of getting a bit more creative. Think of it as catching the reader’s eye once they land on the page.
There should only be one, and make sure your H1 contains the primary keywords and locations you’re targeting, as it is likely this will be the first part of your page read by search engine bots. Services like SEMrush and Ahrefs can be helpful in selecting more effective keywords to optimise on-page headings.
H2 Tags – Subheadings & Poignant Questions
H2 tags act as an information guide for search engine bots, spread throughout subsections, meaning that each one should also include a keyword with a high search volume (where possible).
Although H2 tags are often used at the top of content, they can, in fact, be placed anywhere within the body of the content. This signals to Google that one article covers several equally important topics within one page, helping it diversify its rankings.
It is a good idea to research niche questions to come up with effective H2 headings. You can start by reading Google’s “People Also Ask” results to find popular questions to cover and structure your article.
The more you click on actual questions inside the box, the more questions will appear at the bottom of it, helping you to discover more and more sections to include in your content. Other tools to research questions include:
- Quora and Reddit help you find questions people actually ask each other
- Answer The Public is the free tool that extracts question-type queries from Google Suggest results
- You can also use Twitter question search to monitor real-time natural-language-driven questions.
SEO Tips for H2 Headings
- An H2 tag should always be included in the content
- Include the primary keyword for the content in the tag
- Don’t put too many keywords in the tag (one keyword per heading is enough)
- Make sure that users can read the H2 tag easily
- Try to use no more than 70 characters in the heading – keep them concise
- Make sure the headings catch an eye and grab attention
- When taken out of context, your H2 headings should give some understanding of the content
Again, using question research to identify your H2-headings is always a good idea:
Make the Most of Other HTML Heading Tags to Improve Website Structure & Content on Each Page
The hierarchy of these tags (from <h1> through to <h6>) helps in organising content logically and in a clear sequence per section. Having a hierarchy like this is not just beneficial for readers but also signals to search engines the relative importance of various sections.
Yes, there is only one H1, but you can use H2, H3 and other HTML heading tags anywhere in the body of the content. For example:
- H1 Heading: How to Cook Delicious Grilled Chicken
- H2: Preheat the oven
- H2: Make the marinade
- H3: Mix together the olive oil, salt, etc.
- H3: Place the ingredients in a small bowl and stir
- H2: Place the chicken and the marinade in a bag and grill
- H2: Serve
H4, H5, and H6 tags are not used very often, but are useful for breaking up long sections of content. In the example above, you could, say, include H4 tags to discuss the ingredients placed into the bowl.
Don’t use headings that are too long, as this could be distracting to the reader and decrease the value of the headings to search engines.
Heading Tags & SEO: Quick Tips
- Start with a Clear <h1> Tag: This should be your starting point. Ensure your <h1> tag is clear, concise, and contains your primary keyword.
- Use Sequential Heading Tags: Follow a logical order in your heading tags. Don’t skip from <h1> directly to <h4>; this can confuse both users and search engines.
- Keyword Optimisation: Include relevant keywords in your heading tags, but avoid keyword stuffing. Remember, the primary goal of your headings is to guide and inform the reader.
- Consistency is Key: Maintain a consistent style and tone in your headings to reinforce the website structure and theme of your content.
- Utilise <h2> and <h3> Tags for Subheadings: Break down your content into sections and subsections using these tags. Here, you can delve into specifics, incorporating keywords more strategically.
- Optimise for Featured Snippets: Use your headings to answer common questions or provide succinct summaries. This can increase your chances of appearing in featured snippets on search engines.
- Responsive and Accessible Design: Ensure that your headings are responsive and accessible across all devices and for all users, including those with disabilities.
- Regular Audits and Updates: Regularly review and update your heading structures, ensuring your content remains relevant and adheres to the latest SEO practices.
- Tracking Performance and Adjustments:Use analytics to track how your content performs. Adjust your heading strategies based on user engagement and search engine rankings.
- Integration with Other SEO Best Practices: Combine your heading strategy with other SEO practices like meta tags, alt text for images, and quality backlinking for a comprehensive approach.
Learn How to Make Content on Each Page of Your Website More Visible with SEO Campaigns from Digital Eagles
HTML heading tags are not just about formatting; they are about creating an accessible, readable, and SEO-friendly website structure.
To learn more about how you can improve these and many other aspects of your search engine optimisation campaign, speak with our specialists at Digital Eagles today.