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What are Heading Tags & Do They Help SEO?

Heading tags are a small yet vital part of any website. It can be pretty amazing how even the slightest details can have such an impact when it comes to SEO and your webpage content

I often speak about the value of content. However, content without proper structure is less effective. Let us take a look at what heading tags are and why they are so important.

What is a Heading Tag?

Heading tags are HTML code that indicates headings and subheadings on a webpage that tell a browser how to display text correctly. Heading tags are great for helping search engines distinguish parts of an article or blog post. Additionally, they improve accessibility for people who have poor eyesight or skimming to a part they need quickly. 

Here is what heading tags look like:

This is a normal text

This is an H1

This is an H2

This is an H3

And so on…

What Do Heading Tags Have to Do With SEO?

When a search engine crawls through a web page, heading tags help it figure out readability and main topic contents. Heading tags act as a sort of index of topics for a web page. However, there is more to this process than just reading the headings when Google indexes a page, but this is just one of many factors.

Google recommends choosing heading tags for maximum effect. Therefore, it is best to break down content into essential topics with a proper structure, making it easier to navigate. Another benefit is that appropriate heading tags help boost the chances of your content becoming a featured snippet.

Your website structure is often like a guidebook. There are main topics and subtopics within the book. For example, in a book about animals, you would have sections on birds (H1), followed by specific types of birds (H2).

In addition, the book analogy works well as it helps you index your entire site. With a “table of contents,” you can create a better site organization with a clear theme and hierarchy.

Setting Up Heading Tags 

The first step to setting up a webpage so both readers and search engines will be happy by making your content readable is to add proper heading tags. Adding heading tags help your reader follow a structure, so they know what to expect.

Heading tags create great visual markers for quickly assessing the content. While many decry “Buzzfeed format content,” this is what works and what people read. Having this, a reader can quickly know what each section contains. In contrast, a search engine is similar because it knows a simple structure and organization that readers prefer. These principles, in turn, increase your website ranking.

Heading tags should be set up similar to an outline, with H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 used in order similar to a hierarchical scheme. With each subsection, you go smaller, all the way down to H6. However, many web pages do not go beyond H3 or H4.

H1 heading tags always are the primary topic of a page. Any subtopic or subheading from the main topic begins with H2. There are often several H2 tags on a given page, and if there are H3 or H4 tags, these commonly have several tags. However, there is rarely more than one H1 tag per page, and it is not recommended

Heading tags should always have relevant keywords. From there, H2s and H3s can be used to add variations of that main keyword.Keywords in heading tags are precious when it comes to relevance.

Heading Tags: What to Do and What to Avoid


  • ALWAYS have an H1 on each page. Without a central topic for each page, there is less structure. Less structure = less ranking.
  • Include keywords in your heading tags whenever possible.
  • Make sure your headings are clear and concise so the reader knows what to expect.
  • Make sure you use a hierarchy with your tags, H1 first, H6 is last. 


  • Use headings to change the size or style of your words. This is why we have CSS. Misusing headers looks terrible in a Google page crawl. Another option is to use bold or italics.
  • Use buttons and navigation links.
  • Use heading tags excessively. Stick to one per topic and dedicate 1-3 paragraphs to each subheading.

Now, look over your webpage content. Have you made proper use of heading tags? Are you not sure? If you are at the end of this article and still are not sure, remember, there is far more to SEO than just heading tags. Contact Capstone Digital Marketing. We can go over your content with you and help you rank higher on Google to help you secure more clients than you have now. Contact us now for a consultation.