There are hundreds of ranking factors that will impact your SEO rankings and how Google defines the quality of your pages; when used together these elements form a solid SEO strategy. However, one technical element of page structure that is often overlooked or not understood to be important for SEO is header tags.

Header tags have a multitude of uses far beyond making your content clearer and concise for users. By optimising header tags on a page by page basis, you can directly increase your rankings and organic traffic.

Here are basic rules when it comes to using header tags for SEO:

Page Structure

Without the use of header tags in your content it would be one big block of text that isn’t enjoyable for users to read. Understanding which H tag to use for each section of your content is simple you think of it in the sense of this very article you are reading right now!

  • H1 – You should have one H1 tag per page and it should tells the user (and Google) what the page is about. For example, our H1 is ‘How To Use Header Tags For SEO’
  • H2’s – You should use H2 tags to categorise main points/headings that fall under the main title i.e. this section, Page Structure, would be a H2 and so would all of the following rules
  • H3-H6’s – Lesser heading tags such as H3’s are used for sub-headings within a H2

Improve Readability

More often than not, we simply just don’t have the time or the attention spans to read every word of an article – but that doesn’t mean we aren’t interested.

Using headers in your content makes it more readable and easy to scan for the most important points. You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of scannable content, Forbes have even called it “the most overlooked factor of content marketing”.

It’s not just Forbes that back this claim, in fact studies have shown that only 16% of Internet users read content word-for-word. The remaining 84% of users only scan the article. By using headings to make your content more readable it will increase your content performance by 58%.

Scannable content will increase the likelihood of users actually absorbing your content and sharing it on social media too which will not only be good for shares but also your bounce rate.

Keyword Insertion

Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past and will damage your SEO immensely so you should always be careful and realistic with your keyword insertion practices. Google crawls your web pages and uses your headers to help define context and relevance to search queries, so your header tags should include keywords where it makes sense to do so but they aren’t required in each and every one.

General best practise is that your primary/priority keyword for each page is included in the H1 tag, just don’t shoehorn it in every sentence because Google will see this as a spammy black hat technique.

Just like with any page on your website, it should be written for users first and SEO second. Read our guide on how to write content for SEO & users.

Entice Intrigue

As you now know that most internet users only scan content, so you need to make sure the content instantly draws their attention and entices them to read on.

Headers are a great way to not only categorise your paragraphs and sections but also entice users to read on, find out more and understand the topic fully.

Need help with your content from the experts at In Front Digital? Get in touch here to find out how we can help your content development strategy.