Why are headings and subheadings like the H1, H2, H3 tags and more so important to a site? Well besides their SEO benefits, they help add structure to your website and make your content easier to read.
How Headings Make Your Site More Attractive
Have you ever tried to read through a huge wall of text on a site? You probably tried, and then after realizing it was too hard and uncomfortable to your eyes, you probably went to another site. In short, having to read through a bunch of text isn’t fun.
With headings, you can break up the text to make it more readable. More importantly, you can give your readers an organized guide as to what they’ll be digesting in terms of content.
In this day and age where we’re constantly overloaded with information, headings and subheadings are more vital than ever for this simple reason: They let a reader instantly know if they want to read that content.
A heading gives them a visual guide that says, “This is what this section is about, take it or leave it.” By making your headings precise and attention-grabbing, they’ll be more likely to take it. And as you may or not know, the more time a person spends on your site, the better your SEO.
Heading Tags and SEO
Another way in which the proper use of headings can boost SEO is via keywords. It’s a good practice to put your focus keywords in your headings and subheadings as well. You don’t have to stuff them into every single subheading to the point you start over-optimizing, but if they fit naturally, go for it.
Will having keywords in your headings give you a huge boost that will rank you on Google’s first page of search results? No, but they can’t hurt. In fact, they can only help.
In addition, keywords are important to visitors. After all, they probably entered that keyword into their search. Now that they’ve arrived at your site, they want to make sure they’re in the right place. Readers will use your headings to quickly determine what all your text is about. It’s likely that search engine crawlers will do the same.
Now that you can see the importance of headings in terms of search engine optimization and providing a pleasurable user experience, let’s look at how to use headings and subheadings properly.
What Are Headings and Subheadings
When you go on a site, you usually see certain parts that are in bold print and maybe even bigger font. These are headings, and they carry such a format to attract attention and let you know, “Hey, this is important! This is the main idea we’re about to convey. Stick around and read more to discover all the details in the smaller print that follows.”
Heading and Subheading Structure
The heading is the big dog. It’s the title of your page or post. You should obviously only use it once. Officially, the heading is referred to as <h1>, or the H1 tag.
Subheadings are the smaller subsections of your page or post. They take on the official titles of <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, and <h6>.
These subheadings, in terms of their hierarchical structure, can be used more than once, unlike the H1 tag. Here’s an example:
H1: Football is the best sport
H2: Why football is the best sport
H3: Football has the most viewers
H3: Football has the most action
H3: Football has the best athletes
H2: Where to watch football
H3: Go to local games
H3: Watch it on TV
H3: Watch it online
As you can see, before you use an H3 tag, you must use H2. Remember that this is a hierarchical structure. Luckily, it’s one that is rather easy to understand and implement so your page is not only easy to read and navigate, but also optimized for search engine rankings.
Can you get more complex than that structure listed in the example above? Of course. You can go all the way up to the H6 tag, if needed, even though most people usually stick to H2, and H3 tags. Just ensure that it all makes sense in terms of organization.
How Headings Boost Your Site’s Accessibility
Not everyone is lucky enough to read a screen with their own two eyes. For those who are visually impaired, a screen reader helps them read by saying what it sees on-screen. Here’s where the proper use of headings can increase your site’s accessibility ratings and your SEO at the same time.
Screen readers offer shortcuts so their users can skip over content that doesn’t appeal to them. These shortcuts come in the form of headings that the screen readers read aloud. If the user hears a heading that interests them, they’ll tell the screen reader to read that content. If not, they’ll skip to the next heading.
Imagine having a page with no headings at all? Would that entice a visually impaired person to stay on your site? It’s not likely, and the same can be said for someone who visits your site and sees a huge wall of daunting text.