What Is Header Tag Optimization?

Header tag optimization is the practice of making sure your header tags are doing the best possible SEO work for your web pages. Now for the obvious question – What’s a header tag?

A header tag is the name given to title and subtitles on a web page. Do not confuse these with your Title tag, which is found in the Head of your web pages. The header tags are in the Body section and surround text that your site visitors will see when they view your pages. The most common header tags are:

  • H1
  • H2
  • H3
  • H4
  • H5
  • H6

These tags are largest to smallest from H1 to H6. Do not confuse the larger number with a larger heading. It’s actually quite the reverse.

What Header Tags Look Like On The Page

Usually, though not always, a web page’s title is an H1 tag. Subtitles below the title are usually H2 or H3 tags. Many SEOs believe that these tags should be in descending order, from largest to smallest, from the top of the page down. That’s one view and it’s a valid one, but there is another view that is just as valid. Pick one H tag – the H2 or H3 tag – for your subtitles and make them consistent across your website. If you have sub-subtitles (sections within sections for longer pages) then drop down to the next size for those.

Here’s how your header tags look to your site visitors when you size them correctly.

This is an H1 tag.

This is an H2 tag.

This is an H3 tag.

This is an H4 tag.

This is an H5 tag.
This is an H6 tag.

The actual appearance of these header tags will vary according to the stylesheet that defines them for your website (that’s another blog post). But the best way to optimize these tags is to consider how your visitor will view them. You want them to stand out and you want them to define the sections that they head or preside as title over.

One way to think about it is as a newspaper editor would. Newspaper editors have always put the larger titles near the top of the page and made the titles smaller down the page. This tells readers that there is a taxonomy of importance or relevance to the stories. But you should also consider other practical SEO techniques such as keywords and special formatting rules.

How To Optimize Your Header Tags

Keywords are important to every web page. You want your primary keyword in your web page’s title. Your header tags, however, should be optimized for each of the keywords that are important to a web page. That means you can optimize a web page for multiple keywords.

Depending on how many header tags appear on each page, you’ll have one to three important keywords for that page. Prioritize those keywords according to importance. Have a primary, a secondary and a tertiary keyword. Optimize your header tags for those keywords based on that taxonomy. In other words, sectionalize your web page so that your most important keyword is near the top of the page in a header tag, your second most important is in the middle of the page in a header tag and the third most important keyword is at the bottom of the page.

That’s about it for now. Header tag optimization is important for your web pages, especially if you are writing content intense pages with a lot of useful information. You want to present it so that readers do not get lost and will find what they are looking for easily.