What are heading tags? - ROOT AND ROAM CREATIVE STUDIO
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It’s hard to believe at times, but the internet has rules. There are protocols and conventions that, when followed, tend to make things easier on all of us. They also make the content we create more accessible to more people! One of the foremost jobs of a digital marketer is knowing these rules and knowing how to use them to do better work for their clients. Heading tags fall under this category. This post aims to explain what heading tags are, why they’re important, as well as how they function.

What are HTML heading tags?

Heading tags serve several different purposes.

Let’s start with the content creator or the web designer, the person writing and determining each heading tag. Here, heading tags act similarly to an outline of the content being created. They establish how the information and the content surrounding that information are to be structured. 

To search engines such as Google or Bing, heading tags act like labels or signs. They help point search engines to the specific places within web pages to quickly locate the content that people are searching for. Heading tags inform the search engine robots about the hierarchy of the information that they’re processing – a heading tag helps delineate what is the most important content and where it is located. 

Finally, to someone visiting a website to read the information or content, heading tags are topic signifiers and points of interest – by reading the “What are HTML heading tags?” above the previous paragraph, a reader can easily determine what the overall topic being presented will be and can deduct what to expect in the post. Heading tags are also an important accessibility feature that helps accessibility software like screen readers parse and categorize the most important information on a page. 

heading tags are also an important accessibility feature

How are heading tags structured? How many heading tags are there?

Heading tags are numerical, starting with H1 to denote the most important section heading. This is the heading that a search engine gives the most weight. Most HTML (the markup that most pages are built with) supports six levels of headings, with H6 denoting the heading with the least importance. Within that markup language they look like this:
heading tags are also an important accessibility feature
But what about the page’s title? The title tag is used to denote what your page is titled, and it’s what displays as the preview for your page in search engine results and social media snippets. The page title tag is not the same as a heading tag, but a page title tag and the H1 tag are often mirrored. This is largely because best practices have shown that Google typically gives more authority to pages that are formatted in this way because it views those pages as being more accurate.

Prevent inaccurate article titles

We use our crawler to scan your article pages and determine the correct headlines for your content. Follow our best practices to help us display the correct title from your content:

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Place the title of your article in a prominent spot above the article body, such as in an <h1> tag.
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Match the title of your article page (in the HTML <title> tag) to the title of your article (in <h1> or equivalent).

Google HTML Rules

Heading tags and SEO best practices

Although using heading tags alone may not have a substantial impact on overall SEO from the standpoint of a search engine (the keywords used on each page take precedence), it does have a substantial impact on the readability of your content. When utilized properly, this impacts the time that is spent on a page and the overall webpage traffic. Both have a substantial impact on your search rankings. When correctly utilized alongside your page title, meta-description, and target keywords, your heading tags play a key role in improving search rankings for those specific keywords. A few best practices directly from Google:
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Match the anchor text that points to your article in your section pages to your article/page title.

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Avoid using the article title, or a substring of the title, as an active hyperlink on your article page.

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Do not include a date or time in your article title.

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Article titles should be at least 10 characters and between 2 and 22 words.

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Do not include a leading number in the anchor text of the title to make sure your article title displays properly on mobile devices.

A few more SEO specific best practices include:
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Use only one H1 tag per page.

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Keywords should be aligned by the rank of importance corresponding to your tag hierarchy.

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Keep your heading tags concise and keyword specific.

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H1 headings should be approximately twice as large as your body text.

Why should you use heading tags?

There’s plenty of reasons to use heading tags, and it mainly comes down to structuring your content in a way that makes it coherent and legible for every interaction with them. They are also an important part of your overall on-page SEO efforts, especially when you consider how it impacts your entire audience’s ability to find and digest the information you put out there. A quick summary of why using heading tags is important:

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Heading tags structure your content

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They help make your content more accessible

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They are an important part of SEO best practices

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They enhance readability and improve accessibility

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They play a part in enhancing the overall user experience

Here at Root & Roam, we have a team of passionate people with decades of experience utilizing all aspects of available technology to help communicate value to customers. Our company has experience working with all forms of media through all available channels, platforms, and mediums. Our mission is to help businesses connect with customers, and we take pride in our ability to do just that. We know we can help you grow your business, so schedule a free marketing consultation to see what we can do for you today.

Determining how to structure your page and its headers to best benefit your business and its goals can be tricky. Root and Roam has a passionate team with experience in Content Creation and Web development to help.