Often times I notice on web pages that the Headlines (or Headers) are often not optimized for SEO purposes. A Headline is a sentence or sometimes a word that is larger than the other text on the page and often helps a reader notice that there is a new section of content they are about to encounter. For most sites these are used to highlight either a popular product or service or are used to say something great about the company itself. In the code these are known as H1-H5 (Headline 1 to Headline 5). An H1 is the most powerful and often largest Headline that can be on the page. Often times these are not fully maximized on a site because the aesthetics of the site can look a bit off with a bunch of large text taking up too much space. Here is why you should use your Headlines tags.
1 – Google looks at these as a ranking factor: If you are looking to let Google know that you have the newest most popular blue widget on the market than using “New Blue Widget” as your H1 Tag will help with your ranking on that keyword.
2 – It helps Google see that your content and your Meta information match: Nothing tells Google that a page is about “blue widgets “ like having that term in both your Meta Title, Description, Headline and alt tag. By putting the term into a H1 or H2 tag you can help guide Google in the fact that your page is about “Blue widgets”
3 – It makes for a clean and very user friendly page experience: Letting your site visitors know what is in each section of the content on your page is a good idea. You can use the space to highlight products or advantages of using your site compared to competitors. It will make the site seem more professional when you have areas designated properly.
There is also the factor of when and how to use different Headers. As I mentioned the H1 Tag is the most important Header. It should be used at maximum of 2 times on a page. It would be better to only use it once but if the page is separated into two main paragraphs it could make sense to use it twice. Ideally you would use one H1 Tag and then two H2 Tags after that to separate the content. By using three different Headers you maximize your ability to you use keywords in them. For example if there is nowhere on your site for you to mention Google type search terms (like ‘cheap, discount, on sale etc.’) that people search for but often are rarely found in the content, the Header is a great place to put those in. You can also use other Headers like H3’s or H4’s sparingly on the page as well. As you can imagine the higher the Header number the less relevant it is seen by Google. Using too many of those Headers can also seem spammy and can make your page seem disorganized.
In summary the Header can be a very effective tool for both Search Engine Optimization and Web Usability. Do your best to keep your Headers as organized as the rest of your pages content and use keywords when appropriate in your different Headers.