SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is always on the move and things are changing on a regular basis, what used to be beneficial back in 2010 doesn’t have as much importance and weight when it comes to obtaining a high ranking in Google today. If you’re an experienced SEO, you could probably agree that it’s primarily principle and theory when it comes to determining what works and what doesn’t work to increase a site’s visibility in the search engines. Content, code, and strategy need to be replicated over and over again to determine the best approach.. as algorithms evolve and both on-page and off page elements may shift in their importance as a ranking factor.
Luckily for us, we have a massive SEO community to bounce off of (yay), so it’s easier to identify what’s best practice. Jesus, I’m going off topic completely here, but you get the gist, things change. Recently I have been hearing the question “does an h1 tag even matter anymore for SEO?”, “does an h1 tag have as much weight as it used to have”, “how do you write an effective h1 tag in 2017?”. I hear it all the time, the question is .. yes it does (no, it’s not the time to leave this post, stay, warrior).
How Important Is an H1 Tag? Spill the gossip.
The H1 tag has always been an important ranking factor, it’s been influential ever since like 2008, or earlier. The H1 tag is used to signal to Google what the page is about, therefore when Googlebot comes across to your page, it’s smiling because it knows the purpose of your content via analysing your on-page elements such as heading tags, title, keyword density etc – H1 is a big part of that as it classifies your content that’s useful for both users and search engines. The heading tag is still considered an “important ranking factor” to many of the top influencers in the search engine industry.
/Some/ SEO experts believe that the H1 tag doesn’t actually matter, it’s the size that matters and therefore conducted tests to see what would happen if they removed the H1 and applied the same font-size to a paragraph heading with an exact match mention of their target keyword. On the other hand, other top minds in the industry believe that an H1 tag is still an important ranking factor, even in 2014 and have noticed significant decrements in their search positioning when removing the heading tag. So yes, lots of mixed responses. It was only recent that I heard a story from an individual while I was at Brighton SEO that someone deleted all of their H1 tags, site wide and (apparently) saw no decrease in organic visitors. I struggle to believe.
Implementing the H1 Tag
You’ve heard me ramble on about different myths and theories regarding the H1 tag, but how do you write a great h1 tag for SEO? Good question. It’s easy, use the following code and replace the ‘Your Text Here’.
<h1>Your Text Here</h1>
The applies a heading 1 tag to the text between both of the tags, the second tag signals to the browser that it’s coming to a close. However, in order to rank higher for your target keyword, it’ll be a good idea to include your primary search query that you’d like to appear for in here, like this (this is my target keyword for this post).
<h1>How To Write An Effective H1 Tag For SEO</h1>
H1 Tag Conclusion
As we move forward, some on-page techniques will lose importance as a ranking factor, others will climb and the rest will remain the same. The H1 tag is still an absolute “must have” element in my eyes moving forward with on-page optimisation, even if it’s proven that the H1 tag has absolutely no value when it comes to search (which I highly doubt), it’s still a valuable element to correctly structure HTML pages and to provide a better user experience all-round.