20 May, 2014 by Michiel Heijmans – 23 Comments
This post just had to be written. Somehow we have a chapter about Headings in all (!) our site reviews. Usually the website owner can’t change a single thing about the heading setup of the website, as he is unwilling or just lacks the knowledge to change the theme of the website. But headings do matter.
There are two ways headings can structure your content. In classic HTML, there would be 1 H1 tag on each page, maybe a couple of H2′s etc and these would all combine to form an outline of the entire document.
In HTML5, each sectioning tag (for instance
Structuring the entire page
In the case of HTML4, it seems logical to use one H1 per page, of course being the main title of that page. In most cases, that’s not your brand name or website name (on your homepage it probably is, and that’s fine). On this page on yoast.com, it’s “”. That is what this content is about. I’m not going to talk about Yoast here, so no need to make that the H1, right? Matt Cutts agrees on using just one H1:
On a category page that H1 would be the category name and on a product page the product name. It’s not that hard, indeed. That is why we still recommend using the H1 this way.
H2 is for subheadings of that H1. Use it to divide content into scannable blocks; both Google and your visitor will like it. H3 is for subheadings of that H2, preferably. Sometimes I use H3 for blocks that should be H2, but just don’t hold that much information for the visitor, like the closing heading on this post, where I will ask you to comment on my statements – perhaps you don’t agree and we could have a nice discussion about that 😉
I want to emphasize that this all isn’t new. Over the last five or six, maybe even more years, not much has changed in the way we recommend using headers.