How to Use Heading Tags Effectively on Your Blog

Picture of the letter H from a typewriter button.

6 Tips on Making Heading Tags Work for You

Picture of the letter H from a typewriter button.Think of heading tags (i.e., H tags) as organizers—important labels or categories that can be put on sections of content to group them appropriately. They’re kind of like headlines in a newspaper article, and because they structure information in terms of priority, H tags give useful information to both search engines and Web visitors. In fact, heading tags can be one of the most important factors to affect search engine ranks.

When used skillfully, heading tags promote content and make it easier to understand, but when used carelessly, they cause more confusion than they prevent.

What makes the difference? How can you use H tag styling to benefit and not harm your blog?

Here are 6 tips that can help take the mystery out of effective header tag styling and turn your headers into useful, helpful tools for readers and search engines!

1. Customize Your CSS

Generally speaking, blogs come preloaded with style and formatting for all of your heading tags. Unfortunately, this formatting often isn’t ideal, with huge or unattractive text for H1 tags, for example. But the good news is you have power to adjust these stylistic choices through the back end of your blog, through your CSS.

Within your blog’s style sheet, you’ll see formatting for H1, H2, H3, etc. All you have to do is edit the colors and font sizes to what you want: from 50px to 30px, for example, or from #000 (black) to #096C57 (a green that matches your color scheme better, maybe). Then, your headings will look exactly the way you want them to.

2. Use H1 for Titles

After you’ve gotten your heading tags formatted the way you want, so that they will be attractive on your site, then it’s time to work them into your content. H1 is the first and most important heading, which you will probably use only once per page, perhaps as your page title or blog title (although using it more than once is acceptable). The H1 tag tells search engines what a page is about, what content can be expected there.

3. Use H2–H6 Tags for Content

After H1, the heading tags flow in descending order of importance, H2 being most important and H6 being least important. Generally speaking, H2 tags will denote main points of a blog post or Web article; H3 tags, subpoints; and so on. Some experts say to implement all six levels for maximum SEO and organization power, but that’s probably only useful for extremely long chunks of content. What’s more important is that you use at least the first few consistently.

4. Optimize Heading Tags for SEO

Because heading tags, by their very nature, are designed to tell search engines what information is most important on a page, they are the perfect place to work in your SEO keywords. Keep them short and sweet (no paragraph-long headers!) in order to make each word count, and work in the main keywords you’re trying to make the page noticed for.

5. Don’t Skip Levels

It’s OK to use only H1, H2 and H3 tags in your blog posts, but it’s not OK to skip a level and use, for example, only H1 and H4 tags. This signals to search engines that your page is not well-organized. Besides, since you can style the tags however you like, there’s no reason to skip levels.

6. Use H Tags for Structure, Not Style

Try to remember heading tags are for creating a hierarchy of content importance, not just for making your text look a certain way. When you know your H4 tag is, say, 14-point bold and that’s what you want a bullet to be, it can be tempting to use the heading tag to set that content’s style. You shouldn’t. Use CSS to set styles and heading tags for structure in order to reap the best possible benefits of SEO.

What do you think? Could adjustments to your H styling help boost your page ranks and bring in new traffic? What other strategies do you rely on in terms of blog headings?

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