H1 and H2 Tags: What They Are, How to Use Them in Your Content

Approximately 6,500 languages are spoken throughout the world today. While some languages have many speakers, others have only a few in small, remote areas. Some languages are no longer even in use, such as Latin, while others, like Mandarin, are booming. But no matter how many people speak a given language, it helps people communicate ideas, pose questions and make important points.

Some people are multi-lingual while others speak only their native tongue. There is one language, however, that every content marketer should learn: hyper-text markup language (HTML). Sure, you don’t need to be fluent or even able to hold a conversation without your phrase book in hand, but you should be able to convey important points, such as asking where the bathroom—or main keyword—is. With HTML, content marketers can control where search engines look at their content first. Instead of scanning the entire piece for a particular set of words to measure relevancy, the search engine is directed to particular sections (in this case headers) to look for important keywords.

What exactly are H1 and H2 tags?

Heading tags, or H1 and H2 tags, indicate just that: headings. They section off your content, making it easier to read for the user and for the search engine. While headers range in numbers from 1 through 6, they decrease in importance as the number increases. H1 tags are the most important and the most prominent. They appear in a larger font and are usually the headline of the content. As a writer makes his way down the article, headers should increase incrementally without skipping numbers to maintain SEO value.

The headers should always contain the top keyword or keywords without overstuffing. It should read naturally and, even more importantly, it should clearly tell the user what to expect from the content. Another extremely important factor that search engines consider when ranking is the bounce rate, so you want to ensure that users see the value of your content when they read the headers.

According to Moz’s 2015 Search Engine Ranking Factors, page-level keyword and content-based features are still toward the top of the list when it comes to content ranking. A slew of 150 experts ranked them the third most influential factor. Even as search engines get smarter and Hummingbird begins looking more toward phrases than keywords, the structure of your content still proves to be very important.

The value of page-level keyword and content-based features has certainly decreased over the years, but it is still an essential part of communicating with search engines. While search engines like Google are getting smarter and smarter, they can’t read your mind quite yet. Until we get to that point, you have to continue using a language that search engines understand so you can prevent a language barrier mix up; after all, when you’re looking for that bathroom, you want to get the words right.

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