How Powerful are H1 Heading Tags? <h1>
I wanted to know how powerful H1 heading tags were in web content, what their importance was and what impact they had in search results.
On their own, H1 Heading tags are a little weak for the competitive search engine market. Combined with page title, keywords and meta tags they can pack a punch!
Here's what I did
To test this out I created a page (.V1 page) with almost no written content but the title "How Powerful are H1 Heading Tags? <h1>" and set it as a H1 heading. Other settings included:
- Page title: How Powerful Are H1 Heading Tags? <h1> - Jamie King Media
- Keywords: how, powerful, are, h1, heading, tags, jamie, king, media
- Description: How powerful are H1 heading tags? Jamie King Media
- Page file name: how_powerful_are_H1_heading_tags.html
However, a few days after publishing the web page I realised the test was a little unfair.
I realised by using keywords, description tags, page titles and naming the web page cleverly I gave the whole pages search engine optimisation a boost.
So I decided to created a new page (.V2 page) with the following settings:
- Page title: Page - Jamie King Media
- Keywords: jamie, king, media
- Description: Jamie King Media
- Page file name: page.html
Now all I had to do is wait for the search engines to pick it up and start indexing it. I linked to the page from my resources page and added it to my html & txt sitemaps.
Unfortunately although Google indexed the .V2 page it failed to present it's self in search results for the phrase "How powerful are H1 Heading Tags?". Proving my prediction that without other search engine optimisation elements in place the heading tags would be weak.
The .V1 page (this page) ranked 1st on Google within a few days. The search phrase I used in this experiment was a little long tail (meaning more specific to what I was looking for, unlike using a phrase like "H1 Heading Tags"" which would be harder to rank 1st for.) but in light that this was an experiment to showcase the use and power of H1 heading tags I felt it served it's purpose well.
Yahoo and Bing are still waiting to index the page despite updating my sitemap.txt files to help them update their records. Just proof that Google updates quicker and the other search engines remaining lagging behind.
What did we learn?
Well, using clever heading tags within your web page's content along with other seo elements like page file name, page title, keywords, description tags and using bold on keywords can all build a stronger, better performing web page in search engines.
These are all simple techniques you can apply to your web pages to obtain better search results. Even if you only write the copy for your web pages and send them to your website designer, ensure the content you write is well written and makes good use of Heading titles.
If your not very good with words then consider professional copywriting advice, try Juliet Fay based in Carmarthenshire Wales. She offers a fantastic guide to new newsletter members called "8 Worst Website Writing Traps" which you get free when signing up, which is also free to do.
A closing note
The ranking of web pages has many factors involved all to which make up the pages search engine performance and ranking ability. It's worth remembering although this test was directed towards the H1 heading tag some other factors may have helped it's search engine performance such as back links, website page rank, traffic, alexa rankings, etc.
The aim of this test was to try and demonstrate the impact of heading tags within a web pages content and the best ways to utilise them. Believe it or not I've seen many people not use them what so ever.
If you want more advice on SEO, Search Engine Optimisation or obtaining better search results for your website get in touch or visit our resource page for other articles that may help.
Author: James King
Dated: August 7th 2011
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What is a H1 Heading Tag?
A H1 Heading tag is a html tag that defines a 'heading' within a web pages written content. For example;
<h1>What is a H1 Heading Tag?</h1>
Above is an example of a html heading tag. The <h1> tags at either end of the title define that it is indeed a heading title for that page.
A search engine will see this and understand that the words between these two <h1> tags are important to determining what the page is about.
There are other <h> tags such as h2, h3, h4, h5 & h6 which merely define the priority of the heading used, H1 being most important and so on.