When creating website copy or blogging it can be easy to overlook certain formatting features that are available to you. It’s easy to open the editor, start typing away, throw in an image or two and then just rush to hit that publish button. But there are so many different tools available to you that will not only make your layout more visually appealing but also help your content GET SEEN.
The feature/tool I’ll be focusing on here is the use of header tags. Don’t know what those are? No problem!
Have you ever clicked around your blogging platform and seen the option for H1, H2, H3 etc? Those are header tags and they define the important headings within your content and help to rank them in order of importance.
While this is helpful, ranking your headings isn’t the only benefit to using header tags.
Formatting - If you’ve got several sections and subsections within your content, using these headers helps to visually distinguish each section to improve the clarity and flow of your work.
Retention - Splitting your work into different sections with headings allows your readers to skip around to the topics they’re most interested in. If your content is just one big block of text, it forces readers to read the entire article when they only came for one bit of specific information. Readers are more likely to stay longer and read more if the information they’re looking for is easily found rather than buried in a mountain of text.
SEO - While headings may not have the SEO impact they once did, they can still help to improve your rankings. Google can scan your web page, blog, or whatever content you’ve written and get a basic idea about the topics and information within your content.
A word to the wise when using header tags, however. There is such thing as using them too much. To better illustrate the dangers of over-tagging, check out this quick video from Matt Cutts…
Overall, header tags are useful for exactly what they’re named for - headings. When you start using them for whole blocks of text or overusing them for keywords and key phrases, their impact is diminished.
If you’re still a bit confused about which headings to use and where here’s a quick little guide to help you out.
- H1 - Main headings or titles. For example, the main heading on a single web page or the title of your blog post.
- H2 - Subcategories or sub-titles. For example, if you’re building a web page with products, each product name would be a good place to use an H2 to make the products and their descriptions easier to scan through. In blogging, H2s can be used to categorize your points in a “listicle” type fashion, for example.
- H3 - Typically, these are used as sub-headings to your sub-headings. Sub-sub-headings? Sub-headings²? Either way, H3 helps you micro-organize your content so that your readers can navigate with ease.
- H4, H5, H6 - There’s a lot of debate online concerning these three tags. Should we use them or not? If so, when and where? How often or sparingly? Ultimately, it seems to come down to preference. You can use them to further organize your text, especially in content that’s on the lengthier side - think 1,300 words or more. Or, you can forget about them completely. There’s not a whole lot of evidence (so far) that using these 3 has any benefit for SEO.
Overall, the benefits of using header tags in your website content far outweigh any downside as long as they’re used correctly.
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