Using heading or HTML tags for blogs. What are they? Are they beneficial? How do I use them? All questions I’ve asked myself. I’ve written my share of blogs in times past not knowing what ‘heading tags’ were, whatsoever. I’ll embarrassingly admit to using them as a tool to bold certain text simply to make it visibly stand-out, which apparently isn’t completely off-base to their original intent. Apparently they were initially meant to differentiate content stylistically. But they actually serve another purpose, search engines will recognize the various code tags (H1, H2, H3 etc.) and give priority to the keywords that are formatted within them thereby offering an increased focus to what you feel is important (and want to draw attention to) about your blog. However, proceed with caution as they not only offer a visual change to the intended text but you’ll want to be smart in how you utilize heading tags from an SEO perspective. Use relevant short-tail and long-tail keywords and don’t overstuff your blog with them as it can convolute your content, and confuse the search engines which won’t do you any good.
If you’re pretty much bound to WordPress like we are, you’re probably familiar with where the option to use heading tags lies. If not, they’re located in the drop down menu of the main tool bar on the back-end.
So let’s break each heading tag down, what it’s used for, when to use it, and why/where it can be beneficial.
The Heading 1 or <H1> Tag
- What it is and what it’s used for: To designate and stylistically differentiate the main topic of your blog post. The “H1” segment tells browsers to stylize that particular line of text as a main topic. Should you choose to highlight a specific line of text in your bold then choose ‘Heading 1’ it will make your text large and bold.
- When to use it: Chances are you’ll enter the heading into the ‘title box’ on the backend of WordPress, so you won’t need to do double-duty in designating this text as H1 in the body actual of your blog. In other words, you won’t need to use this one as it should already be a part of the blog template – so H1 is already designated for you.
- Why it’s beneficial: Search engines will pick this text up and recognize it as a primary subject for organic searches as it relates to the text that resides within the intended topic.
Little tip: Make sure that the content in your H1 tag is something that users will type into their search when looking for information relating to that particular topic.
The Heading 2 or <H2> Tag
- What it is and what it’s used for: H2 tags allow you to call attention to the supporting subsections of your blog. An example of this might be, “How to Use the H2 Tag”, which would then be followed by a few sentences, bullet points or a paragraph of supporting content to that particular sub-header. The text of an H2 tag will appear larger and bolder than paragraph text, but is one tier below the H1 tag in size.
- When to use it: This is a good one to use in the body of your blog, and long-tail keywords often make the most sense here. If you’re doing a list format blog you can use the H2 tags to call attention to the main text that leads into the subsections of your blog.
- Why it’s beneficial: It’s slightly smaller than H1 but stylistically offers a differential for solid visual presentation. It also helps sub-headers in the body of your text to speak to search engines when it comes to the content highlights within your blog.
The Heading 3 or <H3> Tag
- What it is and what it’s used for: H3 tags can honestly be used in the same fashion as H2 tags, the font is just slightly smaller. They’re commonly used to call attention to specific sub-headers, phrases, or even with full single sentences that contain relevant keywords for increased SEO.
- When to use it: Use H3 tags to call attention to particular phrases and sentences that support the overall main topic.
- Why it’s beneficial: The H2 and H3 tags are similar in nature from an SEO standpoint, but H3 is smaller which can offer a cleaner visual presentation when used in a blog where you have a lot of specific sub-headers you want to draw attention to.
Another Little Tip: Since all heading tags make the font stand-out stylistically, it’s best to have these lines of text positioned on their own line with ample spacing above and below to separate from the paragraph text.
The Remaining Heading Tags <H4>, <H5> and <H6>
I don’t mean to just pass these over, but their relevance will have a similar effect when it comes to SEO as it does with H1, H2, and H3, according to my research. Apparently if the main header tag is distorted Google (specifically) will use any title tag available to pick up on keywords that relate to a particular topic being searched. The only real difference here is what they offer in size stylistically. For example since H4 is only slightly smaller than H3, you may want to use it for short phrases, or for hyperlinked text. H5 and H6 are quite small so it’s best to keep usage of these to a minimum unless they contain strong relevant keywords. An example for usage of the H5 or H6 tag might be to call out resources or references at the bottom of your blog.
How do you use title tags? Do you think they’re relevant for blogging and SEO? If you have any information you’d like to share, we’d love to hear about it. Add your notes in the comments section!
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