John Mueller from Google has recently explained how to use H1, H2 and other HTML headings. In this explanation, he has shown how heading elements influence ranking.
Back in the 2000s, headings like H1, H2, and H3 were an effective ranking factor. That time it was important for SEO experts to insert keywords on the heading elements for improving organic ranking. But now, keywords in headings don’t play an important role, but still, many people take it as a common SEO practice.
Now, most of the SEO experts insert keywords on their heading just out of habits. But while doing so, you also have to ensure that by adding keywords on your headings, you are making it useful to the users. If you are not making it useful, then there’s no point of inserting keywords on headings.
Old SEO Practice
During a Webmaster Hangout, a publisher asked John Mueller the best way to use headings. Mueller started his answer by rebutting the outdated SEO practice and rote. The word “rote” means that you are doing something mechanically without thinking anything about your process of work. He said, “I think in general, headings are a bit overrated in the sense that it’s very easy to… get pulled into lots of theoretical discussions on what the optimal headings should be.”
During his explanation, he said that Google takes heading in the way they are meant to be. It means your heading should contain the topic of the following paragraphs. So if you think that it is highly important to insert the keyword in the heading, then you are wrong.
Many SEO experts use their primary keyword in the highest level heading. On the other hand, they insert the secondary keywords on the lower-level headings. Mueller said that this is also an SEO myth.
When using heading tags, you have to understand that it indicates hierarchical levels of information. So if you are using an H3, then you have to ensure that it is a sub-topic of H2. If you are starting a new topic, then there’s no point of using an H3. In that case, you need to put it under H2.
Best Way to Use Heading Tags
John Mueller takes a lot of time to answer this question, and then finally he said, “But rather, what we use these headings for is well we have this big chunk of text, or we have this big image and there’s a heading above that, therefore maybe this heading applies to this chunk of text or to this image.” In addition to that, he also added, “So it’s not so much like there are five keywords in these headings, therefore this page will rank for these keywords but more, here’s some more information about that piece of text or about that image on that page.”
And finally, he concluded in this way, “And that helps us to better understand how to kind of frame that piece of text, how to frame the images that you have within those blocks. And with that, it’s a lot easier to find… the right queries that lead us to these pages.”
Heading Tags as a Ranking Factor
Headings had been a ranking factor for several years. But recently, Google has changed its algorithm a lot. The purpose of heading is to help search engines and others to understand what the content is about. But if you check the search engine result page (SERP) carefully, then you will understand that still, many SEO experts are sticking with the old SEO practice. You can search with any keyword you like. And after that, you will find that almost all the sites that are ranking on the SERP have been used keyword in their title.
Then finally Mueller helped us to understand that keywords in headings are not important when he said, “So it’s not so much that suddenly your page ranks higher because you have those keywords there. But suddenly it’s more well Google understands my content a little bit better, and therefore it can send users who are explicitly looking for my content a little bit more towards my page.”
If you want to rank for a less competitive keyword, then inserting keywords on the title tags might help. But when it comes to rank for highly competitive keywords, then you have to follow the other important ranking factors. In that case, you have to ensure that the topic of your content is fresh, and its quality is excellent. In addition to that, you also have to put efforts to build links for the target page.
Meanwhile, you also have to focus on the technical factors to improve your ranking. For example, you need to ensure that the page is mobile-friendly, and it loads faster. In addition to that, you also have to focus on brand power, domain power and social signals to improve your SEO ranking.
In this section of the post, we will discuss about the main things that we have learned. The core thing that we have learned is that inserting keywords in headings is not necessarily improves your rank. So here comes another important question, how we should write headings. Well, it is always recommended to use headings in such a way so that search engine and users can understand what the content is about. So this is all for now. Hope you have understood how to write headings for your web pages and posts.