This search engine optimization (SEO) guide answers the question, “why are header tags important for SEO?”
Below, you’ll find out why header tags matter for a website’s search engine rankings and get a list of the top benefits of HTML headings in SEO.
There’s also a section with additional resources that explain more about the fundamentals of header tags to help you create the most effective search engine optimization strategy.
Table of Contents
Why Are Header Tags Important for SEO?
Header tags are important for SEO because header tags help search engine crawlers understand the main topics of the content for indexing and ranking in the SERPS as well as make web pages more user-friendly, readable, and accessible.
Benefits of Header Tags In SEO
1. Header Tags Are A Ranking Factor
The top benefit of header tags is that they’re a ranking factor for SEO and can help increase your web page’s position in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The H1 tag, for example, carries the most SEO weight for the headings (H1 to H6) because it defines the main topic of the content. HTML headings like the H2 and H3 tags also help improve the relevancy of the content for a user’s search whereas the H4 to H6 level headings are not as important for SEO.
When keywords are placed in the upper-level header tags (H1 and H2), it makes it more likely for the content to appear at the top of the SERPs for relevant searches.
2. Header Tags Improve Crawlability
Header tags are also important because they impact crawlability. HTML headings allow search engine spiders to quickly scan your web page to understand the document structure.
Using the correct headers for HTML hierarchical structure (e.g., an H3 under an H2) adds valuable context for search engines when crawling and indexing a page to store in the database.
3. Header Tags Define Page Topics
Another advantage of header tags is that they help search engines categorize your content under specific topics for users. The proper way to use HTML headings for web pages is to highlight the important topics and subtopics for the reader to define the structure of the document.
In regards to SEO, this is best done by including your primary keyword in the H1 header tag and your secondary keywords in the H2 subheader tags. The H3 tags should include the relevant supporting topics for the associated H2 subheader to boost topical authority without including the target keywords.
By following this type of SEO strategy for the header tags, you’ll help search engines better understand the key topics and subtopics for the page without being over-optimized so the content can rank better for relevant keywords in the SERPs.
4. Header Tags Improve SEO Readability
One of the best benefits of header tags is that they make your content more readable and accessible for the user. When visitors can easily scan the content to find what they want, they’re more likely to spend more time on your website to gather further information.
Additionally, people with visual impairments use screen readers to read web pages, and header tags are important for those users to navigate quickly through the content with their devices.
Improved readability also decreases the bounce rate which is an important factor for SEO. Search engines like Google collect data about the bounce rates for web page listings in the SERPs, and a high bounce rate typically indicates that users are not satisfied with the content.
This process of bouncing back to the SERPs to find other websites to click on is called pogo-sticking, and it can negatively impact a web page’s rankings for its target keywords. Therefore, header tags make your content more readable and accessible to users, decreasing bounce rates and further pushing your web pages up in the search engine rankings.
5. Header Tags Are Used In Featured Snippets
Another importance of header tags is their impact on your content appearing in a Featured Snippet in a Google Search. Web pages with proper heading structure and correct answers for search queries have an improved chance of ranking in this top position in the SERPs.
Google often uses the H2 and H3 tags on a web page to decide what information might suit a Featured Snippet for a user’s search. By organizing your information in a specific way using header tags, you can make it easier to get selected for Featured Snippets.
A great way to do this is to make the first H2 heading match the search query a user types into Google to find information. A keyword research tool can give you this data. Next, you want to answer that query directly below the H2 header in the format that Google is rewarding for the current Featured Snippet. It may be a short paragraph, list, table, or video.
If the Featured Snippet is a short paragraph, then answer the query succinctly between 40 to 55 words. For tables and videos, create something similar to the ranking snippet.
For lists, you’ll need to add between 5 to 10 H3 tags with subtopics that support the H2 heading above it. Look at how this section of the guide is laid out (Benefits of Header Tags In SEO) to see an example of this practice in action.
Learn More About Header Tags
The links below explain more about header tags and how to use them correctly for better search engine optimization. Use these resources to expand your knowledge on the subject.
Header Tags Are Important for SEO Summary
I hope you enjoyed this guide answering the question about why are header tags important for SEO.
As you discovered, header tags matter because they help search engine crawlers understand the main topics of the content for indexing and ranking in the SERPS. The benefits of header tags in SEO also include making web pages more user-friendly, readable, and accessible for users.