Using header tags for SEO

Using header tags for SEO

When it comes to structuring your website for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), header tags play a vital role. Not only can these improve your website’s performance on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), but these can also help improve readability and improve the user experience. So what are header tags? And what do you need to know about using header tags for SEO?

What Are Header Tags?

Header tags are HTML elements used to define headings and subheadings within your content. These can alter the way that the text is displayed so that your subheadings are clear when scanning the page, helping your potential customers or clients find the information they need quickly and easily. However, even without the change in visual display, these tags also help search engines understand the content being discussed. 

Structuring header tags effectively

Using header tags for SEO info

Why should you be using header tags for SEO success?

There are a number of reasons why using header tags is crucial for SEO success in any industry. The advantages of header tags for SEO include:

Improving readability and user experience- By using header tags to structure and organise your content you can make your content much easier to read and to navigate. For potential customers and clients that are looking for certain information, this can be very helpful, allowing them to skim your content for the answers and details they need. This helps to improve the user experience, increases engagement, and reduces bounce rate. 

Helping search engines understand content- It’s not just your website users that will benefit from the improved structure of your website content. Search engines themselves can also use header tags to determine the context and hierarchy of your content which helps to index the pages more accurately, so that these can rank for more relevant keywords. 

Keyword optimisation- Keywords play an important role in SEO, and by placing relevant keywords in header tags, this can help to signal their importance to search engines. As a result, this raises the relevance of your website in relation to those keywords or search terms, which helps to elevate the ranking potential of your content. 

Featured snippets and rich results- Finally, content that is well structured, and uses clear and relevant headers, can be more likely to appear in featured snippets. These are highly visible search results that provide direct answers to user queries, helping to boost the visibility of your website and brand. 

What are the important considerations for writing effective header tags?

There are a number of important considerations to take into account when it comes to writing header tags. These include:

Using headers to outline content- One of the first things you can do is to use the headers to divide and outline your content. This can even be something to take into account before you begin writing, as this process of determining relevant and useful headers can help to organise your thoughts and keep your writing logical and in order. 

Including keywords naturally- When writing great header tags it’s important to use keywords naturally, and to avoid keyword stuffing. This takes balance, as overusing keywords or engaging in keyword stuffing will hurt your website, and your ranking on the SERP. A good rule of thumb is to use the main keyword accurately and naturally in your header 1 tag, and only using the keyword, or a variation of it, when needed in the remaining header tags. 

Maintaining a logical hierarchy- It’s important to note that your header tags help to divide your content, but this needs to follow a logical hierarchy. As part of this, your header 2 tag should fall under the header 1 tag, and the header 3 tag under the header 2 tag, etc. this keeps your content organised logically and signals content that is well organised and well structured. You should also avoid skipping tags, i.e, jumping from header 2 to header 4. 

Keep headers concise and descriptive- In addition to using your keywords wisely, and sticking to a logical process, your headers will also need to be concise and descriptive. This is important for informing readers and search engines about the context of the content, and making your content easier to understand. 

Enhancing user experience- Finally, you shouldn’t overlook the role that header tags can play in improving the user experience. These can make your written content skimmable, help people navigate to the content they are looking for, and improve accessibility. As a result, you should be sure to create header tags that make your content easier to read and understand for your human users, not just for machine algorithms.

What are the most common mistakes to avoid?

There are a number of common mistakes companies may make when using header tags, and it’s important that these mistakes are avoided for the best possible results. These mistakes include:

Using multiple <h1> tags- It’s essential that each page of your website only has one header 1 tag, which should represent the main context or topic of your content. By using more than one you can confuse the search engine algorithm, and this can have a detrimental impact on your ranking ability. 

Skipping header levels- As touched on above, skipping from a <h1> to a <h3> or <h4> tag can disrupt the logical flow of your contents having a negative impact on both the user experience and SEO overall. 

Overstuffing keywords- While it can be tempting to fit in your keywords into each header tag, including too many keywords can make them look unnatural and spammy. As a result, you should focus on readability and natural inclusion of keywords. You should also make sure that the headers still read well and provide value to the reader.

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