John Mueller Explains How to Use Headings- January 30, 2020 - [hit_count]
Just a simple question—why do you use headings?
Yes, you are thinking in the right direction—to make a post easy-to-understand for the readers. When writing a post, the first thing that’s taken into consideration is to understand your audience. Because you are writing for them—and should focus on providing solutions to their problems.
Headings help both search engines and readers to understand the text easily. In other words, they act as signposts, allowing readers to learn what the post is all about and reach the important sections easily. Thus, in addition to web design, speed, social media marketing, and other factors, you should also take good care fo adding relevant headings to boost traffic and leads.
Heading Tags in SEO
Heading tags H1, H2, and H3 were considered as ranking elements in the early 2000s. Thus, marketers focused on adding the keywords in the headings to get their posts ranked in the search engine result pages.
Even, nowadays, including keywords in heading tags is one of the common SEO practices. It has become a habit. However, you can see many top-ranked sites, which don’t have keywords in heading tags, still, they are ranking.
Confused over whether to use keywords in headings? Let’s see what Google’s John Mueller has to say.
According to Mueller, heading tags are still important, but they are overrated. Thus, people overthink about headings that they should.
Here’s what Mueller said
“I think in general, headings are a bit overrated in the sense that it’s very easy to… get pulled into lots of theoretical discussions on what the optimal headings should be.”
Mueller explained that Google understands the headings the way they are meant to, i.e. for understanding what the topic is all about.
However, most think that H1 is more important than H2, H2 is more important than H3, and so on. According to this rote SEO belief, people use the most important keywords in H1 and less important ones in H2, H3, etc.
Heading tags represent the hierarchical levels of information packed in a blog post. Under the H2 tag, most of the H3 tags are sub-topics to help readers to have a better understanding of the topic. In other words, heading tags help in the organization of the post properly.
So, How to Use Heading Tags?
As headings helps in explaining the topic, make sure you use them the right way. John Mueller said-
“But rather, what we use these headings for is well we have this big chunk of text or we have this big image and there’s a heading above that, therefore maybe this heading applies to this chunk of text or this image.”
Thus, the main purpose of heading tags is to break up the text. Do you know only 16% of the internet users read an article word-for-word?
Yes, it’s true! What do the majority of readers do? They just scan content. According to the same research, articles that are scannable have 58% more likely to perform better.
It means if your article is scannable, it’s readable. People will spend time to find the information they want and are more likely to share with their friends as well. Needless to say, more shares—more traffic.
Another major impact of header tags in SEO is with featured snippets. It’s important to optimize your header tag for long-tail keyword, and answer the query within <p> paragraph tags. However, you can also use smaller headings for outlining various list items. Google will create bulleted and numbered lists for featured results.
To sum up, heading tags are important. They help in structuring the posts to make them easy-to-understand by the readers and search engines. Using the heading tags, you can break the text, allowing readers to get the relevant answers to their queries quickly.
As the majority of the readers scan online posts, header tags can make your content scannable, thus increasing its chances to perform well in the web. Google’s John Mueller explains that headings won’t necessarily make your site rank better, but they are useful to tell your readers what your post is all about.
So, use the heading tags properly to help search engines and readers understand your content easily.
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