Importance of Heading Tags

Heading tags are one of the most important on page SEO factors. They help determine how a page should be related to a search query at Google or any of the other search engines. This relevance is how a search engine decides where to show a Website in the returned search results.

Unfortunately, many designers completely ignore this and it leads to bad performance in search results. As of this date, you can search for “we are hear to help you prosper madison wi”. You will see a certain lawyer’s Website sitting at #1 in Google. That’s great right? WRONG!

what not to put in page heading


Tell me, what person in their right mind would type “we are here to help you prosper” into search when they are looking for a lawyer? Now try a more reasonable phrase, “lawyer madison wi”. That should return our lawyers Website right? Wrong! They are nowhere to be found; I personally stopped looking at page 5 Google.

ALL of this because their Web designer put “We are here to help you prosper” in an H1 tag, the big bold print on the their home page (like a newspaper heading, the big bold print summaries what the page is about).

The H1 in the source code looks like this (for you technically inclined viewers others, ignore this image).

source code


And below is that same H1 tag being displayed on the Web page…

bad sentence for an H1 tag


The problem with this is that search engines use the heading tags to help determine what the page and the Website are about and especially the home page when there is no other good indicator such as the name in the URL. The H1 should contain something like “Madison Wisconsin Lawyers”, if it did , they would most likely be on the first page of Google, nothing else to change..

This new heading would closely match up to a reasonable user search such as “lawyer madison wi” and Google would see a close match and happily return their Website somewhere near the top of the page because now it is relevant to what users are searching for. Lets not forget there should be content in the following paragraph that heading that uses the same or similar words also.

Now let me show you what happens when you put the right words in the heading..

search results


The source code for the geeks.



And finally the actually page displaying the H1 heading…

image of seo web page


This is not magic, its not some great thing that will get you found in the top spot on Google. What this is, is something that is fundamental to good search results and good Web design.

Understand that ignoring what this page is telling you comes at a large price; the difference of being found for your products or services, found for the right searches or even found at all. Or worse, paying someone  to do it all over AGAIN the right way.