Where is your Head At: Are Heading Tags Important for SEOs in 2020?

Posted By on October 1st, 2020 in Search Engine Optimisation

Often overlooked and undervalued heading tags are almost the forgotten on-page tool used by SEOs. Headings are one of the most fundamental on-page elements SEOs have used across the years to outline the content. Over the years, we have, however, seen the importance of heading tags has declined somewhat with Google placing less emphasis on running tags as a ranking factor. In a recent webmaster central hangout, Google’s John Mueller highlighted that heading tags still send a strong signal with regards to the content. So what is the role of heading tags in 2020?

What Did John Mueller Say About Heading Tags in 2020?

What are Headers or Heading Tags?

The origin of the heading tag comes from print media where headlines were used to distinguish blocks of text. Heading tags are HTML tags which outline the headings on a webpage. An H1 tag, or Heading 1, is the name or title of your piece of content. It’s the biggest and most important heading. It is considered best practice to have one H1 tag for a page. This is the strongest indicator to Google with regards to the content of a given page. From there, H2, H3, and H4 headings are used in numerical order, decreasing in size and importance.

What is an H1 Tag?

The H1 tag has been regarded as the most important heading tag on the page. They are seen as a strong signal, indicating to both Google and users the kind of content that can be found on the page.

Are Heading Tags Still Relevant? 

Google has indicated that heading tags aren’t as strong a ranking factor anymore. H1 heading tags used to be extremely critical in determining the ranking of a page.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The Type of Heading Tag Matters Less!

Previously, we have always considered heading tags to provide a hierarchical structure in terms of a page; moving from the most important H1 tag to potentially H2, H3 and H4 tags. During the Webmaster Central Office Hours, John Mueller underlined the type of heading tag used; be it H2, H3 or H1 tag, it doesn’t matter as much now. He highlights the importance of using whichever heading tag you do eventually use efficiently, providing a clear indication of the context of the content.

  1. Heading Tags are Still a Strong Signal

During the webmaster hangout, John Mueller unequivocally stated that heading tags remain a strong influence in helping Google understand the content of a page. Logically, with the content being such a strong ranking factor, helping Google understand your content better through heading tags can only benefit your SEO efforts.

  1. Heading Tags help with Images

Google has underlined that as images are harder to understand than text. Heading tags help Google understand the context of the image and thus making it easier to help the images rank in search.

How to Use Heading Tags for SEO in 2020

  1. Outline a Clear Structure for Your Article: Although Google places less importance on the type of heading tag, it is still best practice to use your Heading tags to outline the structure of your content. A clear structure helps both readers and users understand the context of your content with greater ease. This can also help reduce your bounce rate.
  2. Include Keywords in Heading Tags: Don’t stuff your headings with keywords, but use them as an opportunity to feed your content with keywords helping your page rank better.
  3. Target Featured Snippets: Using long-tail keywords in your sub-headings has been shown to help pages rank for a featured snippet. The use of H2s in lists and bulleted lists helps target rich results, therefore improving your CTR and traffic.
  4. One H1 Only!: Even though Google has indicated, it will no longer penalise multiple H1s. Multiple H1s will negatively impact your user experience, confusing your users with the context of your Article.


Bruce Clay AdministratorPerson