Title Tag vs H1 Tag: What’s the Difference In SEO

This search engine optimization (SEO) guide explains the title tag vs H1 tag.

As you’ll discover below, the H1 tag and title tag have separate purposes for search engines and website users. And knowing the difference between H1 tags and title tags for SEO will help you understand how to use each element correctly to increase your site’s organic traffic and rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

There’s also a section with additional digital marketing resources that explain more about the fundamentals of title tags and H1 tags to help you create the most effective search engine optimization strategy.

Title Tag vs H1 Tag

What Is the Difference Between Title Tag and H1 Tag?

The main difference between a title tag and H1 tag is that the title tag is displayed in the web browser tab and search results snippets while the H1 tag is visible within the content of the page for users to read.

Title Tag vs H1 Tag Comparison

The comparison table below shows the key differences between title tags and H1 tags in an easy-to-understand format. After the table, I’ll explain each factor individually.

ParameterTitle TagH1 Tag
DefinitionThe text contained in the <title> tag in the HTML code of the website.The text contained in the <h1> tag in the HTML code of the website.
Primary PurposeDisplay in the SERPs and shown in the browser tab.Display as an article title and the most visible page header.
Optimal Character Limit60 or fewer70 or fewer
Can It Be OptimizedYesYes
SEO Ranking FactorYesYes

What Is a Title Tag?

A title tag is an HTML element used to specify the title of a web page. Title tags are located in the <title> section of the HTML code and are displayed in the browser tab and in the search engine results for website listings.

Title Tag Details

Purpose

The primary purpose of the title tag is to give a summary of the page content for both users and search engine crawlers.

The secondary purpose of the title tag is to improve on-site search engine optimization by including primary and secondary keywords for search engine algorithms to analyze for indexing and ranking purposes.

Character Limit

There’s no maximum character limit for title tags; however, the best SEO practice for title tags is 60 characters or fewer. If your title tag is any longer, it is likely to be truncated in the SERP listing due to limited space for the browser.

Can It Be Optimized?

Title tags can be optimized for search engines and users by including keywords in this HTML field. However, you should avoid keyword-stuffing because it can cause a Google ranking penalty.

A good strategy is to include your primary and secondary keywords without repeating any overlapping words. For example, a title tag that reads, “15 On-Page SEO Tips & Techniques for Increased Rankings” is better than “15 On-Page SEO Tips & On-Page SEO Techniques for Increased Rankings” for both users and search engine algorithms.

Is It a Ranking Factor?

The title tag is a confirmed ranking factor for SEO. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing will match keywords from the HTML title tag with a user’s search; making it a very important ranking factor for SEO.

What Is an H1 Tag?

An H1 tag is the text contained within an <h1> section in the HTML of your web page. 

It’s typically within the main user-readable text on your website, and forms the article title that is read by the user.

H1 Tag Details

Purpose

An H1 tag is an HTML element that indicates the main heading of a web page. H1 tags are used to mark up the content’s main topic and are usually the first piece of text that appears on the page for users to read.

Character Limit

There’s no maximum character limit for the H1 tag; however, the best practice for SEO and user experience is 70 characters or fewer. Having a longer H1 tag can dilute the keyword relevancy for this HTML element and make it hard to read for users.

Can It Be Optimized?

H1 tags can be optimized for search engines and users by including target keywords in this field. Properly optimized H1 tags should provide a clear overview of the page’s main topic while also including the primary keyword and at least one secondary keyword.

Is It a Ranking Factor?

The H1 tag is a ranking factor for SEO. Search engines like Google will crawl the content inside the H1 tag to help understand the context of the web page.

Should the Title Tag and H1 Tag Be the Same?

The title tag and H1 tag should be the same because it forces search engines to show the correct text for the web page listing in the SERPs. Having the same (or similar) H1 and title tag elements is good for both SEO and users.

Another reason this is important is because Google started showing the H1 tag more for website listings in the search results beginning in 2022 instead of the custom title tag written by website owners. And this impacted both search engine rankings and click-through rates (CTR) for content.

After a lot of industry analysis, SEO experts discovered that you can avoid this problem by making both the title tag and H1 tag the same. That strategy forces the indexing algorithm to display the correct information for users in the search engine.

Summary for Title Tag vs H1 Tag In SEO

I hope you enjoyed this guide on title tag vs H1 in SEO.

As you learned, the main difference between a title tag and H1 tag is that the title tag is displayed in the web browser tab and search results snippets while the H1 tag is visible within the content of the page for users to read.

However, both HTML elements can be beneficial for your website when used together with their intended purposes in mind. Instead of just choosing the title tag or H1 tag to optimize for SEO, try to implement both tactics to help improve the user experience and on-page search engine optimization signals for higher rankings in the SERPs.

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