A heading is the starting point for any piece of content. It is a key component that search engines look for when attempting to match users with relevant results. While it’s easy to focus on your main text alone, the wrong headings can hugely impact your rankings. Getting to grips with the importance of headings and the best techniques when writing them, as covered in this article, is essential.
Why Do Headings Matter?
Headings serve many purposes. On a basic level, a heading is there to introduce the rest of the content. But given headings can be used throughout a page, they act as key points that distinguish one segment of text from another. If you didn’t use headings, your visitors would need to read through a wall of text or images which isn’t very user friendly.
The contents of your headings matter from an SEO standpoint too. The exact words you use should be highly searchable terms that will bring more traffic to your page. Therefore, researching your headings should be done in an advance rather than being an afterthought. Otherwise, you could be missing out on some highly popular search terms that would vastly increase your traffic.
What Is An Example Of A Heading?
A heading can be identified by a short line of text that breaks up your content into different sections. In WordPress you’ll see them as Heading elements (from H1 to H6). The basic construction of a heading in HTML terms (that actual page code) is like so:
<h1>Insert amazing SEO friendly title here</h1>
<h2>Subheader relating to H1</h2>
<h2>Another subheading relating to H1</h2>
Within the brackets, you can specify which level of heading you require. Normally when working on WordPress or a similar editor, your H1 heading tag will automatically appear at the top of the page. Subsequent headings need to be implemented manually, either by typing out a code on the HTML editor, or selecting the heading and changing it to the heading tag of your choice.
Here are some examples of different styles of headings that you are most likely to come across from a stylistic standpoint.
If you give everything away in your heading, people won’t need to read your content which defies the point of creating it. So instead, one tactic is to use intrigue within your heading. You’ll see this used most commonly within news websites.
<h1>Why the clocks aren’t going back tonight</h1>
<h1>How to save money on your next food shop</h1>
<h1>The reason why we have leap years</h1>
While intriguing headings do work well, care must be taken not to use clickbait. Otherwise, your users will quickly exit the page and up your bounce rate will go. So if users are expecting an answer from the heading make sure you give them it.
Numbers may add value to your content, especially if users think that by clicking on the page they will get an in-depth overview of the topic. A 2013 study found that odd numbers have shown to generate 36% more interest than even numbers when used in headings.
<h1>7 ways to save time in the morning</h1>
<h1>5 passive income streams you can start today</h1>
<h1>27 facts you didn’t know about iguanas</h1>
Ideally, all headings will contain keywords to some degree. Though one common heading style is to use a keyword exclusively in the text. For example, if we looked at ‘coffee’ in Google trends, it would give you a list of related queries underneath it. Each of these queries could form your keyword headings.
Though you can also use general related terms to whatever your topic is about too. This can be explored within multiple H tags throughout your page.
<h1>15 brands of coffee you need to try</h1>
<h2>Best espresso brands</h2>
The benefit of such a structure is that it allows you to build more interest and expand on your original keyword, all while remaining SEO friendly.
What Should Be Included In An SEO Title?
Your SEO title is what will appear on a Google results page, and will form the top line of your result. It will usually include the title of the page, website or post.
So, when you google SISTRIX, it will look like so:
SISTRIX – SEO tool by professionals
The SISTRIX Toolbox is the premier tool used by SEO professionals. Data you love, from people you trust.
The SEO title is the first line of text, which should be no more than 50-60 characters to remain fully visible. Underneath is the meta description, which allows you to go into greater detail, and gives you a chance to include your focus keyword.
What Is A Heading Tag In SEO?
A heading tag is usually the title of a page or blog post. Out of all the H tags, a H1 tag holds the most significance and is what search engines will be scanning for.
<h1>How to make your website SEO friendly</h1>
Quite simply, a heading tag informs both Google and your users what the content is about. That’s why it’s important to use relevant keywords within your heading tag, as every other tag you use should relate to your header in some way.
In our above example, any H2-H6 tags used below this H1 tag would include information that branches off from the initial question.
How Do You Use SEO Headings?
If you’ve invested in some decent SEO software and data you will have no doubt been given a list of keywords that are related to your niche. Your SEO headings, H1 through to H6 is where you are going to start to implement these keywords.
H2 is the most commonly used header tag. If you need to expand on the point even further, then break it up with a H3 tag, and if necessary H4-H6 tags. As a rule, at SISTRIX, we try never to get beyond an H3 in order to avoid confusion. You should only use a H tag that is one place above or below the last tag number you used. Which means no skipping to a H6 tag from a H1 tag.
SEO headings are there to emphasize key phrases throughout your page. So be sure to only use words or phrases that add value, rather than using them as an alternative to bold text. This will keep your formatting on point, with your SEO headings truly fulfilling their purpose.
To Sum Up
When it comes to writing the perfect heading, you need to consider keywords for SEO, and the phrasing so that users will click on your content in the first place. Ultimately, your heading is going to have users deciding they want to read more, or if they should continue to scroll for a better result.
So, it pays to consider your headings before you hit publish so that they are accurate and highly visible. If your content is not ranking as highly as your competitors, then tweaking your headings (especially your H1 tag) can make a difference, regardless of how old the content is.