What is an H1 Tag: A Beginner’s Guide With Best Practices

H1 tags are HTML heading tags that tell search engines the PRIMARY topic of your webpage.

You must learn how to use H1 tags properly in your content if you want better search rankings.

Most people use either the same H1 tags for their titles or lengthy tags. Both are bad practices.

In this post, you’ll learn the best practices for writing H1 tags to improve your search traffic and user experience. Let’s get started!

How to Write the Perfect H1 Tags for SEO?

what is an h1 tag

What Is an H1 Tag?

An H1 tag is an HTML heading tag. It is used to display the main heading of a web page to users. It displays as the FIRST heading of a web page.

The H1 tag is placed at the beginning of the page body, just below the <head> section.

An example of an H1 tag in HTML code looks like this;

<h1>What is an H1 Tag?</h1>

Here’s an illustration of it; (Image Source: Ahrefs)

h1 tag meaning

There are several levels of heading tags (from H1 to H6), H1 is considered the HIGHEST level of heading tag.

Why? Search engines like Google use H1 tags to understand the context of the page.

There are two important rules to remember while using h1 header tags;

  • Rule #1: H1 tags should be UNIQUE on each page of your website. That means you should NEVER use the same H1 tag on multiple pages. 
  • Rule #2: Never use more than ONE H1 tag on a page.

What’s the difference between an H1 and a Title tag?

H1 and Title tags have different headings.

  • The Title tag is a browser title (which is not shown to the user on a web page)
  • The H1 tag is the first thing users see while browsing a web page

Here’s an example;

h1 vs title tag

Also, the title tag is shown as a heading in search results. The H1 tag will NOT be displayed in SERP results. 

Have a look;

title tag

So, what can we understand from the above examples?

Title tags are primarily used by search engines to understand the content of a web page and to display the page title in search results. H1 tags, on the other hand, are primarily used by users to see the main heading of a web page.

  • Location of the H1 tags: On the page itself
  • Location of the Title tags: In SERPs and browser tabs

Here is an example of how to use H1 and title tags effectively:

  • Page title: The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Beginners
  • H1 tag: SEO for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know

As you can see, the H1 tag is more SPECIFIC than the title tag. The H1 tag provides more detail about the page’s content and helps users understand what they will find if they click the link.

The most important thing to remember while writing both tags is accurately describing the page’s content.

In simple words, Title tag serves search engine crawlers, whereas H1 tags serve users. 

Why Are H1 Tags Important for SEO?

If you want better results from search engines like Google, don’t ignore H1 tags, as they’re essential for SEO.

Here are a few benefits of the h1 tags;

  • They help search engines understand the topic of your page. Whether you know it or not, search engines use H1 tags to identify the main context of the page.  
  • They can improve your click-through rate (CTR). H1 tags help Google determine the relevance and semantic structure of a webpage.
  • They are the first thing people see when they’re reading a page. A compelling h1 tag will encourage your website visitors to read more.
  • They can improve user experience. How? H1 tags make it easier for users to understand what a page is about and to find the information they are looking for more quickly.

Make sure to implement these homepage SEO tips as well while crafting H1 tags.

H1 Tag Best Practices to Implement for Better SEO

Use only one H1 tag per page. That’s the one thing you should ALWAYS remember.

So, what other h1 tag best practices can help you with better search and user experience? Here are a few to implement while writing blog posts and other web pages.

Include your primary keyword

You should use keywords in your H1 tag, as it’s a good idea to include your primary keyword.

However, it is important to use them naturally and avoid keyword stuffing. Your H1 tag should be natural and readable. You can use the following headline generator tools to generate great H1 headlines;

  • CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
  • Sharethrough Headline Analyzer
  • AMI Headline Analysis Tool

Make it unique and compelling

The H1 tag should be unique. Avoid using the same H1 tag on multiple pages of your website. Otherwise, it will confuse the search engines when trying to understand the context.

Also, use only one H1 tag per page. This will help search engines know the most important heading on the page.

The H1 tag should be written in simple language that is easy to understand. Avoid using technical terms that may not be understood by your target audience.

Also, avoid making these common SEO mistakes if you want better search rankings.

Use the title case for your H1 tag

Using a tile case makes your H1 tag more readable, professional, and scannable.

Also, title case heading tags are visually MORE appealing. Why? The title case makes the header tags stand out from the other text on the page. Most major websites use title cases for their page headings, including H1, H2, and H3 tags. So, it’s a very good practice.

Here are some examples of title cases for H1 tags:

  • Best Laptops for Bloggers 
  • How to Write a Blog Post
  • 10 Tips for Improving Your SEO

As you can see above, using title case means capitalizing the first letter of each word, except for prepositions.

If you’re looking for a handy tool to use title case for H1 tags, you can use ConvertCase.net, which is a free tool that helps you create title case tags easily.

Here’s what it looks like;

title case for tags

Write your H1 tag for humans, not search engines

Most people try to manipulate search results by using click-worthy H1 tags. Using such tags is okay until the headline matches the search intent. If not, it’s a bad practice.

Why? The H1 tag is one of the first things users see when they visit your page, so it’s important to make a good impression. 

Make sure to write a clear H1 tag that will accurately describe the content of your page. 

Here are some of the helpful SEO glossary terms if you’re interested in learning SEO basics.

Test your H1 tags regularly

Lastly, test your H1 tags as often as possible. This will give you the best results and a clear idea about what H1 tags are.

You can use A/B testing to test different H1 tags to see which ones perform best. If you’re curious, here are some tools you can use for A/B testing your headlines or other website copy.

  • Optimizely
  • Unbounce
  • Crazy Egg

If you’re running a new site, use this handy SEO checklist that can help you with higher Google rankings.

Find the missing H1 tags

As mentioned above, H1 tags are extremely important for ALL the web pages on your site.

Make sure to find a list of all the posts that are missing H1 tags.

You can use many tools, including Semrush or Ahrefs, to easily find missing H1 tags on your website.

If you’re looking for a free option, go sign up for a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account. Then, crawl your website in the Site Audit section. You’ll then be able to see all the issues on your site including missing H1 tags.

Here’s what it looks like;

missing h1 tags

A Quick Checklist On H1 Tag Best Practices for 2024

Here are some H1 tag best practices:

  • Use your primary keyword at the start of your H1 tag.
  • Limit your H1 heading length to 60 characters. Google truncates longer H1 tags in search results. So, keep your H1 tags short and to the point. If you’re using WordPress, install an optimization plugin called RankMath (we use the same) for better optimization, including title and heading tags.
  • Avoid repeating the page title or your website’s name in the H1 tag. But make sure these two tags have similar search intent. Don’t use manipulative words that do not match with the content.
  • Try using a strong call to action in your H1 tag. This could be something like “Learn More,” “Sign Up Now,” or “Free Trial.”
  • Use only one H1 tag per page. Consider using H2 and H3 tags for other subheadings.
  • Include your target keyword in your H1 tag, as it tells search engines like Google what the page’s main topic is.
  • Use descriptive and relevant keywords (whenever possible).
  • Make sure your H1 tag is clear and concise. Avoid using jargon or technical terms for a better user experience.
  • Use title case for your H1 tags. 
  • Make sure your H1 tag is HIGHLY relevant to the content of your page.

Check out this free guide to learn how to rank for featured snippets.

FAQs on H1 SEO

Here are some frequently asked questions about H1 tags.

What is the purpose of an H1 header tag?

The H1 tag tells search engines and users the page’s main topic. It is also the highest level of heading tag, as several heading tags range from h1 to h6.

How many H1 tags should I have on a page?

You should have ONLY one H1 tag on any given page. Using multiple H1 tags can confuse search engines and make it difficult for them to understand the page’s main topic.

Can I use my title tag as my H1 tag?

Yes, you can use your title tag as your H1 tag. However, we recommend creating a unique H1 tag for each website page. 

How can I run an H1 tag audit?

You can use content auditing tools like Semrush to run an H1 tag audit on your website. Also, many site audit tools can help you identify pages with missing H1 tags, pages with multiple H1 tags, and pages with H1 tags that are too long or too short.

How long should an H1 tag be?

There is no rule of thumb for the length of an H1 tag, but it is generally a good practice to keep them under 60 characters because search engines may truncate longer H1 tags.

Should I include my target keyword in my H1 tag?

Yes, you should DEFINITELY include your target keyword in your H1 tag, as it will help search engines understand the content of your page.

What are some common H1 tag mistakes?

Here are some common H1 tag mistakes to avoid in 2024;
– Using multiple H1 tags within one page (or blog post)
– Not using any H1 tags on a page
– Using H1 tags that are NOT relevant to the content of the page
– Using lengthy H1 tags

Final thoughts on what is an H1 tag SEO

H1 tags are important, but here’s what’s more important: user experience.

User experience should always be your TOP priority when optimizing your pages. As long as you’re creating a better user experience with h1 tags and other on-page SEO elements, you’ll be fine.

What are your thoughts on H1 tags in SEO? Did you find this post helpful? Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments. 

About Author
Anil Agarwal is the Founder of Bloggerspassion. He is a full-time blogger and SEO expert who has been helping people build profitable blogs for over a decade Now. He has been featured in Over 100 Publications including Forbes, The HuffPost, HubSpot, Shopify, Semrush, Kinsta, Bluehost, Hostinger and G2.com etc. Know more about Anil Agarwal from here.

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