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H tags in SEO - everything you need to know

If you've ever been introduced to SEO, HTML and web development, you're probably familiar with h-tags. But if you're new to the web world, the concept may seem a little distant to you. Nevertheless, they are important to understand if you want to hope for high rankings on Google.

Andrea Jensen
- copywriter
Last updated: Oct. 4, 2023

H-tags and SEO are inextricably linked

H tags play a crucial role in the organization and structuring of web content. They act as navigation points and not only help users understand the hierarchy of content, they are also a critical factor in search engine optimization (SEO).

In this article, we will explore what H tags are, how they work and why they are so valuable for both web developers and online writers. Let's begin by uncovering the mystery of H tags.

What are h-tags?

H-tags, also known as headings, play a crucial role in building the structure of a website. They act as signposts and help both visitors and search engines understand what the content is about. 

H tags are essentially HTML elements used to define headings and subheadings on a page. They structure content hierarchically, with h1 being the most significant heading, followed by h2, h3, and so on. 

Each level of h-tags is used to organize and highlight different sections of content, allowing search engines to read, understand and systematize the content. 

An example of h-tags in SEO

Below is an example of h-tags from the article you are reading right now. In our H1s, we have chosen to include the text "Everything you need to know about h-tags in SEO and our 9 takes", as the keyword in this case has probably been "SEO" or "h-tags" and can therefore be incorporated into the headline.

example of an h1 tag

And here's an example of h2s in our blog posts, which are the subheadings of an article, blog post, product page and all the others:


However, it's not just for the search engines' sake that we create H2s, it's just as much for the user experience. It's easier to understand and read a text if it's divided into subheadings that tell you what the next paragraph will be about.

H-tags are a direct ranking factor

H-tags, also known as headings or headers, are crucial to your SEO. Whatever you choose to call them, they play a key role in how search engines like Google evaluate and rank your content.

H tags help define the purpose and structure of your landing page. When search engines crawl your content, they use these tags to understand which parts of your page are most relevant and important. This makes h tags an important part of technical SEO and a direct ranking factor. They act as a guide for search engine algorithms and provide a better understanding of what your page is about.

It is therefore essential to use h-tags correctly. But it's not just about including keywords in each headline. It's just as important to ensure a logical and well-defined structure in your headline hierarchy so that both users and search engines can easily navigate and understand the main points of your content.

Here's an example of a search engine friendly heading hierarchy - again, the example is taken from this article. 

How to structure your h-tags

H-tags vs. page title

Your page title is not the same as an h1 heading, although it is sometimes confused. The page title is more like a door sign, while the h1 heading is your rooms - for example, the living room. It indicates exactly where you are, while the page title, which appears in the search results, creates expectations of the content that awaits you.

Here's an example of the page title and h1 tag on a Google search for 'umbrella', where Sport24 owns the first place on the search. As you can see, the page title is angled like a teaser, while the h1 tag itself briefly tells you what you can find on the landing page: umbrellas!



What do the different h-tags do?

Navigating between the different H-tags can easily get confusing. That's why I've compared them to a movie so you can get a clear understanding of them all. From h1 to h6, we explain their importance in the SEO landscape and in understanding your site's content. 

H1 tag

The H1 header is the landing page control, the captain of your landing page. It runs the whole show - just like a lead actor in a movie. Keep it simple: only one h1 headline per page, for the sake of both usability and SEO. 

In your h1, your primary keyword should come early to reveal your page's content in a split second to both visitors and Google.

H2 tag

The H2 headline is like the subplot of the movie. It continues the story, reveals details or changes course. Here you can experiment a little more - use as many H2s as makes sense. 

However, make sure there are no more than 200-300 words between each h2. Keep your primary keyword back - don't let it drown out the other voices or it could appear as spam to Google.

H3 tag

H3 headings are statistical supporting characters - they don't affect the Oscars aka your ranking in search results - but they do make your text more user-friendly to read. 

Use them according to the needs of your text. Just remember, it should be like a well-choreographed dance: H1 before h2, and h2 before h3. Never jump directly from h1 to h3 without using H2. 

H4, h5 and h6 tag

Besides the A-list of h1 to h3, we also have h4 to h6, which are like the hidden bonus scenes after the credits of a movie. They rarely show up because only the most hardcore fans dig that deep. These headlines are not known in SEO circles, and they shouldn't worry you. Stick to the big stars - h1 to h3.

My 9 takes on h-tags

How to write successful H-tags? Mastering the art of writing good H-tags is a challenge.

Often, composing the right and crisp headline can take longer than writing the paragraph itself, as it requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure that the headline is both keyword relevant - and captures the user's interest to continue reading.

Here are my 9 takes for successful h-tags:

  1. Stick to a single h1 tag per page.
  2. Incorporate your primary keyword in your h1 tag.
  3. Incorporate keyword variations in your h2-h6 tags.
  4. Add an h-tag around every 300 words.
  5. Create engaging h-tags.
  6. Keep your h-tags under 70 characters for easy skim reading.
  7. Your h-tags should describe upcoming content in the paragraph.
  8. Avoid revealing too much in your h-tags to make your readers want to dive into the content.
  9. Formulate your h-tags so that they are understandable and explanatory.

Are you left with unanswered questions after reading my article? As a SEO agency, we'd love to hear from you - no matter what you want to ask.

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