header tag importance

An often overlooked and under appreciated SEO item are HTML header tags, also know a "h" tags. There are the h1, h2, h3, h4, h5 and h6 recognized by all major browsers. The search engines use them to rate the relative importance of the information / content that follows them.

A common mistake is to think that the SEO "system" can be spoofed by using h1 tags for all headers. This would be a mistake, because it reduces the importance search engines give of all of the h tags.

Probably the easiest way to think of using header tags in articles is that the page title is automatically, given either an h1 or h2 tag by the CMS or by the designer if it is a static website. Use "lower" header tags to denote items of decreasing importance. For example, say an article is laid out something like this:

  • Content Title (h1)
    • Section 1 - Preamble (h2)
    • Section 2 - The Content (h2)
      • Paragraph Grouping 1 - Description of Problem (h3)
      • Paragraph Grouping 2 - Problem Parameters (h3)
      • Paragraph Grouping 3 - Possible Solutions (h3)
    • Section 3 - The Conclusion (h2)
      • Paragraph Grouping 1 - Choice of a Solution (h3)
      • Paragraph Grouping 2 - Conclusion (h3)

It is fair to say that if common sense is used to denote which header tag is used when creating an article in an on-board text editor, there won't be a problem. Remember, content is king and presenting that information in a logical way to emphasize or enhance that content will help ranking the page or article.

Another way of thinking about it is that these header are often visually differentiated from the other text by a larger or different  font and / or different color. Remember that search engine robots are "blind" and using the header tags is HTML's way of informing them of the importance of the text within them.

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