Headers play a crucial role in SEO best practices, as they enhance readability, improve user experience, and facilitate search engine optimization. Properly organized headers ensure that both visitors and search engine algorithms can easily navigate and understand your content, contributing to better website performance.
Understanding Headers on a Web Page
Headers provide structure and context for your articles. They offer a glimpse into the information contained in the following paragraphs, making your content easily scannable. Articles that are scannable perform 58% better with readers.
Formatting Content with Headers
The HTML code of a web page contains various header tags, such as:
- <h1>: The most important tag, describing the entire page’s content. Use only one per page to avoid search engine penalties.
- <h2> – <h6>: Subsection headers, which can be used as needed on a page.
Most text editors allow you to format and organize your content using these header tags.
Incorporating Keywords in Headers
Including keywords in header tags helps Google gather context for your page. Aim for a natural inclusion of keywords rather than overwhelming your headers with them. Design for your readers first, and then make tweaks to optimize for search engines.
Optimizing Header Tags
Visually distinguishing between headers can enhance the user experience. Smaller subheadings can be used strategically to outline different list items, as Google often pulls these headers together for featured snippet results (see image):
Header Guidelines for Consistency and Readability
H2 First Sub Heading
H3 Further Sub Heading under H2
H4 Further Sub Heading under H3
H5 Further Sub Heading under H4
H6 Further Sub Heading under H5
Treat headers as mini-titles for each section and keep them short, ideally within 70 characters. Begin with simple headers to create an outline, and then refine them to make them more compelling for readers who tend to scan web pages. Your headers should be engaging enough to capture their attention and encourage them to read the content.