Well-structured text is easier to read and comprehend. Compare a wall of text with no breaks to a neat page with a title, clear paragraphs and headings. One looks so much better than the other, doesn’t it? If you build a website, you should organize its content in the same way, using the same structure. Some applications often look for such a structure as well in order to display the entire content properly or to show an appropriate excerpt. What you need if you want to organize your site are heading tags.

So, what are heading tags?

Heading tags are small pieces of HTML code that indicate the page and paragraph titles. Standard HTML code includes a total of six tags, from H1 to H6. The most important one is H1, as it usually mirrors the page title. This is why, a single page should not have more than one H1 tag, although you can technically have as many as you wish. The other tags decrease in size and importance. If you look at the code of the page, you can easily recognize headings:

<h2>Paragraph title</h2>

Google uses “heading tags” in its guidelines, while Bing prefers “header tags”. You will come across either term a lot, but the latter may be confused with the tag that refers to the top section of a website. This is why we stick to the widely accepted term “heading tags”.

Why should you use heading tags?

This is a reasonable question. After all, can’t you just use larger or bold letters that people and software will read anyway? The answer is – no. Headings are used for various purposes. The look of the titles on a given page is not one of them, so you should not use headings just because they look good or their size is the one you believe will fit well with the rest of the content. Here are three important reasons to use heading tags.

Better structure.

Headings are used to make content well-structured and easier to comprehend. A wall of text is hard to read, but even if you split the content into paragraphs, people will likely not read them if they have no headings. Most people only scan the content of a page anyway. Adding clear headings will allow them to go through the content and find quickly what they need.

Of course, headings should be short, but descriptive. This way, people will know what to expect with a glance. You will find some more good practices that you should consider if you continue reading.

Having well-structured text has one more advantage. Using headings makes it easier to link specific content on the page - both in a page summary and on an external page. While you can create an anchor link anywhere in the text, it makes more sense to link a heading that people will see as the title of the linked content. In addition, search engines will display a link to a heading, but not to a random part of a paragraph. Find out more about the importance of headings for search engines below.

Better SEO.

Search engines go through the entire content of a website, but they look at the page title and the headings, in particular, to check for keywords. The H1 and H2 tags are the most important ones as they will appear directly in the search results. On rare occasions, H3 tags may appear as well. This is why your headings should contain clear and concise information. If you add something generic, it will be a missed opportunity to give your site a small SEO boost.

A heading signals search engines about the beginning of a new section or a new theme/idea, so they will examine the content after that to check if it is relevant. Headings help search engine robots the same way they help people.

You should keep a few things in mind when you use heading tags for SEO purposes. Do not be tempted to use all tags on all pages or to use too many tags – they give search engines a hint what a page is about, but they cannot replace the page content. Overusing them may give search engines mixed signals, which may result in your site not ranking well in search results. You should not rely solely on content either. Spend some time to find the right balance of keywords between headings and content.

Depending on your headings, you may have a featured snippet or a list appear in Google search results, for example, which can give your site a huge boost. Here is one example:

Better accessibility

Visually impaired people may use screen reader software or browser plugins to read the content of a web page. In this case, headings are quite important as assistive applications will read them to summarize the page content. If you simply add large, bold letters as paragraph titles, screen readers will skip them as they will appear as a part of the content.

Headings are also used by screen readers to navigate through the different sections on the page. It will be much easier for visually impaired people to browse through a page if they can use the headings as navigation on that page. With improper headings or no headings at all, they will have to go through the whole text every time they want to jump to a different section. If this is the case, they will most probably decide to go to a competitor website that offers better accessibility options.

This is why you should make sure that you have proper headings if you want to offer a good user experience for all your visitors. While there isn’t specific legislation about website accessibility, visually impaired people will appreciate it if your site is accessible to them as well.

Source: www.w3.org

How to add heading tags

Most web design applications have a point-and-click option to add a heading. WordPress, for example, allows you to add a heading block in the block editor, while Joomla allows you to choose a heading in their text editor. If you use our Website builder, you can switch between the six types of heading tags with a click. Any other content management system or e-commerce platform should have a similar option in its text editor.

If you want to have a custom-made website or you prefer to have more control by switching to an HTML editor in your favorite platform, you can simply add <h1>your text here</h1> tags wherever you need them. Depending on the software you use, adding tags manually may save you some clutter code that may be added if you use a built-in option. If you want to customize the heading tags, you can add some CSS code, defining the font, size and color. Here is an example

h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 { 

    font-family: "Times New Roman", Times, serif;    

    color:  #000000; 


 h1 { 

    font-size: 30px; 

    font-weight: 400; 

    text-transform: uppercase; 

    margin: 40px 0px; 


h2 { 

    font-size: 28px; 

    line-height: 35px; 


h3 { 

    font-size: 24px; 

    line-height: 32px; 


You can edit the heading style if you use a CMS as well, but you will have to make some changes manually. If you use WordPress, for example, you can edit the theme style.css file, you can add custom CSS code using a built-in theme option, or you can use a plugin to add the code you need. For Joomla, you should look for and edit the template CSS file as well.

Good practices

While search engines do not disclose their algorithms, there are some good practices you may follow when you build your website. For a start, you shouldn’t have more than one H1 heading. Technically, there is no limit, but this heading is usually regarded as the page title. If you want to add more keywords in titles that will appear in search engine results, you should use H2 headings instead. Any major section should have such a heading, but do not overuse it. For subsections/subtopics or a list, you can use H3 headings. This way, they will appear in a page summary or search engine results. H4, H5, and H6 tags are used rarely and do not have an impact on the site SEO. You can use them only if you see fit.

Here are a few more things you can do:

  • Break up text into sections using headings. Do not just add a new line or bold text. If the content is easy to read, it is more likely for visitors to stay on the page and possibly share it.
  • Choose your keywords carefully. Heading tags should be descriptive enough to match your content. You shouldn’t simply add keywords for search engines. You don't have to add keywords at all costs. Avoid repeating keywords in headings just to have more SEO content as such an action may backfire.
  • Encourage visitors to continue reading. Your headings should grab people’s attention, but they should not reveal everything. Your visitors should have an incentive to continue reading and to spend more time on the page. This is why, your headings should be catchy, yet descriptive.
  • Keep the heading tags consistent. Use the same format on all pages. Headings should usually not be longer than the page title. Major sections on all pages should use the same heading type.
  • Make sure all tags on the page are relevant. If you are missing some heading tag or if the H1, H2, and H3 tags are on completely different topics, the page will not rank well in search engine results as it will not seem relevant to the search queries.
  • Do not skip a heading tag level. If you have an H1 tag on the page, do not jump to an H3 one simply because you find its size more suitable for a title than an H2 heading. When you use heading tags, you should always start with the highest and proceed to the lowest.
  • Use a keyword research tool. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are certain keywords that are more suitable for your headings. You can use tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs to find out the best focus keywords to use.

Once you are done, you can check what visitors and search engines will see using a tool such as https://seositecheckup.com/tools/heading-tags-test

Wrap Up

Heading tags are important for both the structure of your content and the site's search engine optimization. Many website owners often ignore or misuse them, though. As little as these HTML elements may seem, you should make sure that you use them properly. One H1 tag that mirrors the page title and a few good H2 and H3 tags that include keywords will make your content more user-friendly and will improve the accessibility and SEO of your site. Keep the tags consistent across the site. A little effort goes a long way, so adding the proper heading tags on your site will pay off in the long run.


I started working in the web hosting business in 2004. My other interests are mountain biking, fine woodworking and raising my kids to be good persons.