What is a <h1> tag?
<h1> tag is an HTML code which signifies the heading of the web page in concern. The <h1> usually represents the topic name of the web page.
An HTML document has 6 basic heading tags. Each based on the level of importance of the sub-topic. As you can guess from the headings below the h1 is most prominent and will define what the content on the page will be about.
Why is a <h1> important from SEO point of view?
From SEO point of view having a keyword rich <h1> tag can help you in your search engine ranking. It is one of the many Google and Bing ranking factors. This particular blog post which you are reading currently has the heading under <h1> to capture SEO traffic by ranking for the right keywords.
All though it is not a major ranking factor, having an H1 tag on the page and optimizing it for search engines is very easy. Hence it should be leveraged thoroughly to gain a ranking advantage over your competition.
Apart from core SEO benefits a well-styled h1 with the right font size, font type, and line height can add a lot of value to the aesthetics and user experience of the page. This can indirectly boost your SEO ranking as well.
How to check if a web page has a <h1>?
It is quite easy to check if a page has a <h1> tag.
Step 1: Visit the page you want to check for a <h1> tag.
Step 2: Right Click and select “View Source Code”.
Step 3: Enter Cmd + F and search for <h1> tag within the source code. The browser will highlight the tag if it exists.
How to check if every page on your site has a <h1>?
Now that we know how to check for a <h1> tag on a single page we have to ensure the best practice is implemented across your entire site. This can be done using tools like ScreamingFrog and DeepCrawl. Follow the steps below to use Deepcrawl and find pages missing h1.
Step 1: Run a complete crawl of the website on DeepCrawl.
Step 2: Open the crawled website dashboard once the crawl is completed.
Step 3: Click “Missing h1 Tag” under “Content > Body Content” section in the sidebar
Step 4: Download the complete list of pages which miss an h1 tag. In the case below we have 4743 pages which don’t have an h1 tag!
<H1> Tag Best Practices
Although <h1> tag seems insignificant you can do a lot to optimize it for the user and a search engine. Follow the five best practices below and craft headlines which transform your pages.
Use at least one h1 tag – Every page should have at least one heading. From SEO point of view, this should ideally be an h1. You can even use multiple h1s on a page as long as it makes sense to the user and keeps them engaged.
Create magnetic headlines – Create headlines which gets an emotional response from your users. Get out of the SEO mindset and think of writing headline copy which gets you clicks and intrigues browsers to read your content. Follow Copyblogger guide to create magnetic headlines. See if your current headlines trigger an emotional response from your user. Use Coschedule headline analyzer to check how your headline might perform on social channels, email and search engine results page.
Format it right – A h1 tag should be styled well for readability and aesthetics. A good <h1> tag should have well-crafted font type, line height, styling, and size.
Make it unique for each page – Every page <h1> should be unique. It should be different from all other page h1s on your site. This ensures that your pages don’t compete among each other for SEO ranking. Also, it gives the user a clear discretion on which page to read for what specific purpose.
Target a single keyword – A h1 tag should target only a single keyword. This keyword is the primary keyword you want the particular page to rank for. Trying to target multiple keywords could result in you NOT ranking for any of them. This might also reduce the reader attention and clickthrough rates of your headlines.
How To Fix Missing h1 tags?
Once you have the list of pages which don’t have an h1, bucket them under following two areas.
Fix The Design – These pages don’t have an h1 because the page was not built with proper information hierarchy. Sometimes this could be a blog category page or a homepage. Every page needs to have a heading for the user to consume information in a digestible fashion. Ask your designer to revisit these page templates and include a <h1> tag.
Fix The Code – These pages have a heading but they are tagged under the less prominent <h2> or <h3> tags. Although this is not a major set back when we implement this change across our whole site small changes can add up to a major difference in traffic. Give your development team the page templates which have the major heading coded under h2 or h3 and ask them to change it to h1.