The Truth Behind H1s: How It Boosts User Experience

Updated on: 29 October 2019

Google has made it loud and clear in their #AskGoogleWebmasters Youtube series: SEO does not give a hoot about H1s (Heading Number 1) – at least not when it comes to rankings.

While it is still relevant to SEO – the main focus lies in user experience, i.e., accessibility and readability.

Even after the explanation given by Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller, it seems that users are still left confused about the whole matter regarding H1s.

With that being said, our task today is to shed light on headings once and for all, so you know what to do the next time you apply them to your content!

Google’s take on H1s

Typically displayed as the header, Google’s systems are not particular when it comes to H1 – meaning to say that they will simply work with any valid HTML found in your content; regardless of whether it is just a single H1, or numerous chunks of text styled nicely without semantic HTML at all.

However, this contradicts the conventional approach of optimising one H1 and any subsequent headings on a page. Based on their own experiences, many users have found that H1 changes DO have an impact on organic visibility.

The purpose of headings

Headings give users a better gauge of what your content is about in one glance and facilitate easy navigation. In other words, too many H1s, or no headings at all can lead to a jumbled and messy page structure which makes it difficult for users to read.

Moreover, accessibility has now become a critical element in every website; this means taking the necessary actions needed in order to provide everyone equal access and opportunity to your content.

A reader can only do so much alone, and having headings can help assistive technologies deliver content easily to users. In that way, they can immediately identify whether the content is of relevance or interest to them.

A WebAIM survey conducted supports the use of headings – 69% of users utilise headings to navigate through a page, while 52% found heading levels to be beneficial.

To sum it up – our point here is to start utilizing H1s and making them a core part of your content marketing strategy!

Why H1 still applies to SEO

So, should you completely disregard H1 tags? The answer is a clear, NO.

Hamlet Batista, CEO and founder of RankSense, has made it clear that H1s can be used as a substitute for title tags in SERP. As long as it is relevant to the main points of your content, it will serve as a great headline.

On the other hand, using multiple H1s may not be the best game plan – too many will lead to less control of your content appearing in search results, especially if it is being used in place of your title tags.

The trick then, is to find a good balance.

The importance of headings

When it comes down to it – Google still considers headings when trying to understand the content of your pages. Hence, learning how to craft the perfect heading for your most important pages is still key and should never be neglected. These are just some of the things that you will be able to learn when you sign up for a SEO Course, in addition to learning how to optimize the rest of your website.

At the end of the day, the most important factor you should focus on is user experience.

If that means inputting the proper H1 headings and working on all your HTML constructs; then, by all means, go ahead and reach out to your trusted Digital Marketing Agency and start making the necessary changes!