5 Tips for Writing Killer Header Tags

When it comes to writing, everything is permitted except for incoherence, irrelevancy, and lack of well-structured form. If your text contains plain letters put on a white paper, without header tags, consider that you've wasted your time creating it – nobody will show interest in reading it.

Writers are both authors and readers at the same time, and that's why they need to create content that would look catchy from the readers’ point of view as well. That’s especially important in the SEO world, where rankings mostly depend on the site’s structure, which should look impeccable even from the bird’s perspective.

To create a page that looks like it’s made in pure Ancient Greek architecture style, you’ll need to enrich it with the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns – or, in SEO language, h1, h2, and h3.

If you find this too confusing, let's switch to plain English and explain the essence and importance of SEO header tags.

What are Header Tags?

Let’s start with defining the concept of headers.

Header tags are used to distinguish the headings (h1) and subheadings (h2 – h6) from the rest of the content. In HTML coding, the heading tags go from h1 to h6, and it’s recommended to use them in a top-down hierarchy.

For example:

<h1> Top 3 Edgar Allan Poe’s Short Stories </h1>
<h2> Horror stories </h2>
<h3> Berenice </h3>
<h3> The Black Cat </h3>
<h3> The Tell-Tale Heart </h3>

And the line could be continued until the h6. However, the first three headings are considered the most important, so, focus on them when creating a content.

1. Use the Heading Tags Correctly

Now that you're familiar with the terms let's see how to use them properly.

One of the purposes of using SEO header tags is making the page more readable and comprehensive, not only by people but also by the bots. A search engine gives higher priority to the text that's used in header tags, so, it's essential to include a keyword in it.

Here are some things you should have in mind when creating SEO heading tags:

  • The h1 tags in SEO should be at the top of the page

H1 is always put on the top of the page since it describes what the article is about. Also, it’s enough to have one h1 per page.

  • If you’re targeting a question, it should be in h1

If your article’s targeting the question, for example, What is a Metaphor? , you'll want to put it in the h1 tag. Also, you should put the answer to the question next to the h1 so that Google can find it more easily.

  • If you’re writing how-to articles, use h2 for each step

When your page is targeting people who should follow the directions, the best would be putting each step into the h2.

Let’s imagine that the article’s title is How to Analyze Poems? – header tags in HTML would be:

<h1> How to Analyze Poems? </h1>
<h2> Step 1: Read Carefully </h2>
<h2> Step 2: Find Figures of Speech </h2>

Also, if the how-to concept is a part of a larger article, the steps can be put in h3.

  • Use h1 to target commercial intent

H1 tags are also used to target specific commercial plans that include, for instance, exclusive offers, discounts, or add-ons.

Now that we know the main purposes and uses of header tags let's dive into 5 useful tips on how to enrich them.

2. Create Interesting and Appealing Heading Tags

H1 tag is the most prominent piece of text on your page, and it should be quite compelling and persuasive if you want it to stand out from the sea of other, similar articles.

In a world full of bright-colored and high-quality images, people still fall for powerful words.

When creating a headline, ask yourself a question: Would I read the article with such a title? – the answer will tell if you're in the right way.

Look at the examples below and see how a strong h1 should look like:

  • A Post about Post-Vacation Blues: How to Quickly Get Back into Work Mode
  • Do You Know Your Earning Potential?
  • 11 Things Someone Should’ve Told Me Before I Started My Small Business

3. Try to Reveal and Answer User Intent

No matter if we’re SEOs, marketers, researchers or students – we’re all Internet users and Googlers. Have that in mind when you’re about to create an article.

For example, you write for a company that produces eyeglasses and frames. Think – what the people who wear glasses might want to know regarding their problem? Brainstorm the ideas or ask a friend with glasses (you have at least one, for sure) what he/she would like to know about it.

Let’s go for best ways to clean eyeglasses and search it on Google.

The result that grabs most attention is Worst and Best Ways to Clean Your Eyeglasses, which is found in the first position on SERPs. Why is that?

It’s simple – most people who wear glasses did something wrong regarding cleaning smudgy glass at least once, and the author used that information for creating the eye-opening article. And the ranking proves that many people found it useful.

However, don’t try to deceive users – if your h1 promises the solution, your content must provide it.

4. Include a Long-Tail Keyword to Your H1 Tag

Believe it or not, some SEO experts claim that it’s not recommended to use keywords in h1. The reason is keyword stuffing, which is something people used to practice a long time ago, and search engines don't show mercy to such attempts anymore.

To avoid stuffing or omitting focus keywords, consider including long-tail keywords to h1. In that way, crawlers will understand better what your page is about, index it more appropriately, and Google might give it higher rankings.

Let’s see one h1 tag example with long-tail keyword Agatha Christie mysteries:

When we search for it on Google, we’ll see that the article named The Top 10 Agatha Christie Mysteries is on the first page, position two. That’s quite a ranking, and the long tail keyword found in the h1 might be the reason for such success.

However, if the long-tail keyword doesn’t sound natural in the title, don’t force it, and include a variation that would fit better in the context.

5. Optimize Heading Tags for Rich Snippets

Featured or rich snippets have a significant impact on SEO practices. They can be observed as a movie trailer – they don’t reveal every detail, but they give you a well-structured preview of the webpage.

However, there is no HTML code that would make your page a rich snippet – you’ll need to convince Google that your post is worth it.

How to do that?

When Google recognizes a question, it automatically detects the pages that answer that question in the best way, and it displays it as a featured snippet in search results.

The blogs that mostly end up as rich snippets are those that contain food recipes or device specs.

Let’s see the example:

When we type mac and cheese recipe on Google, we see step-by-step instructions as a first result. Google’s chosen it because it answers the question, and the optimized headings also impacted the page’s success.

Here are two tips that might help your page became a featured snippet:

  • Use subsequent headings: Google will recognize the headings you used in a text, and it will use it them to create its own bulleted or numbered lists on feature snippet results. As you can see in the example below, Directions are in heading two, and they appear in rich snippet as well.
  • Include a long-tail keyword in h1: As mentioned before, long-tail keywords are checkmate for SEO. As you can see in the example, Google’s given it a priority because of the keyword – Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe.

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