In a recent video, John Mueller, one of Google’s Webmaster Trends Analysts, has explained that heading tags play a significant role in site rankings.
In the past, including H1 headings was crucial to rank a site. Then, they then became unnecessary, and Mueller himself has previously downplayed the role of H1 headings, stating that they weren’t critical.
However, in a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout, Mueller was asked if a page would still rank if it had no H1 title, but had keywords in the H2 title. He responded “of course”, explaining that it absolutely can still rank no matter which heading element is employed. Further into his response, he detailed how it doesn’t matter whether a H1, H2, H3 or even H5 tag is used, as it’s about the general signal provided by the heading to highlight the topic of a page. Mueller explained:
“So headings on a page help us to better understand the content on the page. Headings on the page are not the only ranking factor that we have. We look at the content on its own as well. But sometimes having a clear heading on a page gives us a little bit more information on what that section is about.”
While Mueller labels heading tags as a ranking factor, it is widely known that websites can successfully rank without any heading tags, but as per his response, content creators should definitely aim to implement heading tags if they are seeking to improve their rankings.
In addition, Mueller continued his response by explaining how a heading tag also aids image SEO. He stated that as images aren’t like text – meaning that Google isn’t automatically aware what it should be displaying the image for – headings help provide context to an image, which in turn enables the search engine to determine where the image should be shown in search.
To watch Mueller’s response in full, see the video below:
Therefore, while heading tags aren’t the be-all and end-all of ranking factors, it’s certainly useful to include them, and not just for ranking, but also to help site users to easily digest content. If you need help with your website’s ranking or in making your content more coherent, contact the team here at Engage Web today.