Everything You Need to Know About H1-H6 HTML Heading Tags

HTML heading tags are an important part of on-page SEO. They help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your content, and can influence how your web page is ranked.

This guide will discuss everything you need to know about html headings. It will cover what they are, how to use them, and the best practices for optimizing them.

So, let’s get started!

What is an HTML Heading?

Headings are HTML pieces of code that are used to indicate the hierarchy of your HTML document structure (also known as <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, and <h6> tags).

The proper use of headings makes it easier to understand what the web page is about.

They catch the eye, helping visitors skim a page quickly, and they give an outline of the content. In addition, they can also affect how high your website is ranked on SERPs.

Each number indicates a different heading level: there are six heading elements, ranging from H1 (the most important) to H6 (the least important).

H1 headings are typically called the “main heading”, while H2-H6 headings show sub heading levels and are known as “subheadings”.

H1 to H6 heading tags

What Is the Purpose of Heading Tags?

Heading tags are important for both usability and SEO.


Skimming has become the go-to method for many readers, making it more important than ever to include signposts in your writing.

In other words, headings outline your content so readers can determine if it’s relevant to them. This is especially helpful when visitors are scanning a page, looking for the information they need.

Headings make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for, and also give them an overview of the page’s contents.

And, if you are worried about people losing their place or dropping off if they’re interrupted, adding headings can help readers easily find their way back. This usually results in longer visits to your page overall.

Now, ask yourself this:

if your post looks like a wall of text, would anyone want to read it?

Example of a text without any headings

No, it’s not. They would leave your page quickly.

Isn’t this one better to read?

Easy to read text with proper use of h2 headings

Of course, it is.

In short, H1-H6 tags make your web page content easier to read and understand. They break it up into smaller, more digestible pieces, and help to highlight the most important information.

Furthermore, they are also useful for impaired visitors who are using screen readers.

In fact, screen readers will read out the headings on a page, which can help these visitors understand what the content is about and navigate it more easily. It is important not to skip heading levels for a proper hierarchy and better readability.

Search Engine Optimization

In addition to making your website more user-friendly, html headings can also help to improve your SEO.

They show your content, or HTML document structure, and hierarchy of your content, which can influence how your page is ranked.

According to Bing, headings are important for users to be able to navigate a page. While Google isn’t as transparent about its algorithms, it has confirmed this is true by John Mueller during a Google Webmaster Hangout session.

Although keywords in headings are only a small ranking factor, they do contribute to better SEO performance.

While you might not think that html headings have much bearing on ranking, keep in mind that anything you do to improve the user experience will likely translate into better SEO results.

Also, H tags are a way for search engines to understand which category your page belongs to and what kind of questions it might be able to answer.

For example, if you have a page about dogs, and your H1 heading is “Dog breeds”, that tells that the page is about different breeds of dogs.

If you then have an H2 heading that says “Small dog breeds”, it tells that the section is about this topic.

In short, heading elements can help your page to rank better for searches related to small dog breeds, thanks to the semantic structure of your content.

But wait, there’s more.

If you want your page to be eligible for featured snippets, and if you want Google to understand when it’s relevant to show your website in response to a user’s query, make sure your content has a clear and proper structure.

Featured snippets

Featured snippets are the little boxes that appear at the top of SERPs when someone enters a question-type search.

Google displays featured snippets by determining which page best answers a question and identifying particular parts of the text.

And good document structure helps Google to choose your website for this purpose.

How Do HTML Heading Tags Work?

The heading tags have a hierarchical structure, meaning that each H tag is nested within the previous heading tag.

The SEO tags on a website run from H1 to H6, with H1 being the highest level and the most important.

For example, an H2 tag would be nested within an H1 tag. This shows the relative importance of each piece of content.

Here’s an example from our Beginner’s Guide to SEO blog showing how heading hierarchy looks like:

hierarchy of H1-H6 headings

Now that we covered what H-Tags are and why they’re important, let’s take a closer look at each category.

What Is H1 Heading?

The H1 heading is the highest heading level one and should concisely summarize the content’s key message in one phrase.

In fact, search engines scan webpages and use h1 as a clear marker of that page’s topic.

Most web pages have an H1 element at the top of the page, and your website users will expect to see it there.

In a few words, it is a short blurb that helps users determine whether a page contains relevant information. Depending on the user’s interpretation, they will either continue reading and possibly convert or leave the page.

This is why it’s essential you should understand search intent and write H1s that accurately reflect what users are looking for when they land on your page.

There are different search intents depending on what your users are looking for, which can be summarized into two main categories:

  • informational intent
  • commercial intent

Informational Intent

Users who are looking for information are trying to learn something. They might be researching a topic, trying to figure out how to do something, or looking for a specific piece of information.

Your H1 should be clear and concise, answering the user’s question as directly as possible.

Here are some examples of informational searches and the types of H1s that would be most effective:

  • “How to tie a tie”—>”The best way to tie a tie”
  • “How to make an origami swan”—>”Origami swan instructions”
  • “What is the capital of Canada?”—>”Ottawa, Canada’s capital city”
Informational search intent example

Commercial Intent

Users looking to buy something are obviously further along in the buyer’s journey than those just looking for information.

They know what they want and they’re trying to find the best option available to them. Your H1 should reflect this by being more specific and convincing than an informational H1.

Here are some examples of commercial searches and the types of H1s that would be most effective:

  • “best camera for vlogging”—>”The best vlogging cameras of 2022″
  • “buy shoes online”—>”Buy shoes online: the best selection and prices”
  • “men’s winter coats”—>”Best men’s winter coats of 2022″
Commercial search intent example

So, your H1 should be worded accordingly.

Also, if you want to improve your website’s SEO, you need to make sure your H1 elements are well-optimized.

Here are some tips on how to optimize your H1 tags:

  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Use keywords
  • Make it unique
  • Use proper grammar and punctuation
  • Avoid keyword cannibalization
  • Place it at the top of the page
  • Style it appropriately
  • Use descriptive words
  • Optimize for mobile
  • Test different headlines

1. Keep your H1 heading tag short and sweet

Your H1 heading should be short and to the point. It should be no longer than a few words, and it should accurately reflect the content of the page. Usually, the common length is below 60 characters.

2. Use keywords

Include relevant terms, as this will help improve your website’s SEO. However, don’t stuff your H1 heading with keywords, as this will make it seem spammy and could get you penalized by Google (or lose potential rankings).

3. Make it unique

Each page on your website should have a unique H1 heading. This shows what each page is about and improves the way they index your website.

4. Use proper grammar and punctuation

Your H1 heading should be well-written and free of grammar and punctuation errors. Not only will this make it look more professional, but it will also help improve your website’s SEO.

5. Avoid keyword cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization is when you use the same keyword too many times on your website, which can confuse search engines. To avoid this, make sure to use different variations of your keywords on each page of your website.

6. Place your H1 tag at the top of the page

Your H1 heading should be placed at the top of the page, before any other content. This shows what the page is about and makes it easier for users to find the information they’re looking for.

7. Style it appropriately

Your H1 heading should be styled appropriately so that it stands out from the rest of the page. This can be done by making it a different color, font size, or font weight. But do not use headings just to make your text bold or to increase the font size.

8. Use descriptive words

Include descriptive words in your H1 heading to give users a better idea of what the page is about. This can help improve your website’s SEO as well as the click-through rate.

9. Optimize for mobile

Ensure your H1 heading is optimized for mobile devices, as more and more users are using them to access the internet. This means using a font size that’s easy to read on a small screen and making sure the heading is placed at the top of the page where it’s easy to find.

10. Test different headings

If you’re not sure which H1 heading is best for your page, then test out different options. This can be done by using A/B testing or by looking at your website’s analytics to see which headlines perform the best.

How title links are created according to Google

The H2-H6 heading tags are used for subheadings and can be present multiple times per page, depending on how complex the topic is.

H2-H6 subheadings

They should be used to break up your content and help users find the information they’re looking for.

As a general rule, it is important that your h2 to h6 html headings accurately reflect the content of your web page. Use h2 tags for main points, h3 tags for subpoints, and so on.

In fact, it’s not surprising that a page with a table of contents would have its html headings starting from H2.

The <h2> and <h3> tags are common, while the <h4>,<h5>, and<h6> tags are seldom used.

Here are some essential tips on the best way to use <h2>-<h6> subheading tags:

  • Make sure that your headings accurately reflect the content of your web page.
  • Use h2 tags for main points, h3 tags for subpoints, and so on.
  • In general, it is best to use shorter headings (h2-h3) rather than longer ones (h4-h6).
  • You can have more than one <h2> tag on a page, but only one <h1> tag.
  • Each heading level should be used hierarchically and in order.

Now, adding keywords in your H2-H6 heading tags is not a must. Here’s why.

Ever since Google introduced the Hummingbird algorithm, search crawlers have been able to understand the overall semantic meaning of a text as well as the user’s intention, making semantic SEO very important.

Therefore, a page’s relevancy to internet users is no longer only based on the number of keywords used (keyword stuffing was never an effective way to rank higher).

Not only does Google look for synonyms, but it also looks at the context of a definition and how language is used to understand the content.

In short, a page’s SERP ranking is now largely based on how relevant, high-quality, and user-friendly the content is.

And HTML headings are beneficial for both users and search engines.

How to Inspect Heading and Subheading Tags

When you’re inspecting heading tags, it’s important to check for a few things.

First, you want to make sure that the tag is being used correctly. That means it should only be used for headings, and not for anything else.

Second, you want to make sure that the heading tags are properly nested. That means that if you have a heading tag followed by a subheading tag, the subheading tag should be closed before the heading tag.

To inspect HTML heading elements, you can use your browser’s developer tools.

In Google Chrome, you can access the developer tools by right-clicking on an element and selecting “Inspect.”

Inspecting an element will bring up the HTML code for that element in the developer tools window.

Inspecting heading and subheading tags using Google Chrome

You can also access the developer tools window by pressing F12 on your keyboard.

Once you have the developer tools window open, you can use the “Element” tab to inspect HTML elements.

In the “Element” tab, you will see the HTML code for the webpage that is currently open in your browser.

To find a specific element, you can use the search box at the top of the “Element” tab.

You can also use the “Inspect” tool to select an element on the webpage.

Once you have selected an element, the HTML code for that element will be highlighted in the “Element” tab.

Frequently Asked Questions About Headings

What is the difference between a heading tag and a title tag?

While heading tags and title tags both indicate the hierarchy of your content, they serve different purposes. Heading tags are used to structure your content for search engines, while title tags are used to describe your page in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Best practices for influencing links according to Google search central

Do all pages need a heading tag?

No, not all pages need heading tags. However, if you want your pages to be visible organically, it is recommended that you use them.

How many H1 tags can I use per page?

You should only use one H1 tag per HTML document. This is because the H1 heading is the highest heading level, and using more than one can be confusing for search engines.

Can my page title and H1 heading be the same?

Yes, your page title and H1 heading can be the same. In fact, it is often recommended that they are the same, as this can help improve your click-through rate (CTR) from SERPs.

H1 vs Title tag: Which is more important?

Both the H1 tag and title tag are important for your website. The H1 heading is important to show the structure of your content, while the title tag is important for describing your page in SERPs. While they both serve different purposes, it is often recommended that you use the same text for both the H1 heading and title tag, as this can help improve your CTR.

What is the difference between a meta description and a title tag?

The title tag is the text that appears in SERPs, while the meta description is the text that appears below the title tag in SERPs. The meta description is not used to rank your pages, but it is important for helping improve your CTR.

Do I need to use both a meta description and a title tag?

Yes, you should use both a meta description and a title tag. The meta description helps improve your CTR, while the title tag is used to determine what your page is about.

Difference between heading tags and header tags?

Heading tags are used to indicate the hierarchy of your content, while header tags are used to designate different sections of your page. For example, you might use a header tag to designate a section of your page as a “header”, or you might use a heading tag to indicate that a certain piece of content is a “heading”.

How to add headings in WordPress?

In WordPress, you can add a heading by going to the “Add New Post” page and clicking on the “Heading” drop-down menu. This will allow you to select a heading tag (H1-H6) for your content. You can also add headings by using the WordPress editor’s “Text” tab. You can change the format of your headings by changing the font size or making the text bold.

Final Words

Headings are important for both search engines and users and they are an important part of your on-page SEO optimisation efforts.

They help you show the structure of your content, and they can help improve the user experience of your visitors.

When adding headings to your pages, be sure to refer to this guide to make sure you can optimize them without any problems.