Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What are heading tags and how do you optimize them?

22 August 2019 Eugénie Delhaye

Whatever type of content you write, you need to structure it in such a way that users and search engines can understand and analyze it. This is done by using the <Hn> title tags, also known as heading tags. In this article, our content writing experts explain how to use them to optimize your SEO.

Heading tags

First, let’s take a closer look at what heading tags are and how you should use them.

The famous heading tags come in six numbers: the most important being the H1 tag and the least important the H6 tag. Most web content has 3 different rows of title tags: H1, H2 and H3. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use more if you feel the need.

It is important to ensure that these tags are used properly. Equal or higher-ranking titles start a new section and lower ranking titles start new subsections within the higher-ranking section.

Furthermore, please note that according to HTML 4.01, each title must be framed by an opening tag <Hn> and a closing tag </Hn> so that it can be correctly interpreted by search engines.

Page Title Structure

H1 tag

Now we turn to the most important tag, the H1 tag. All your pages, even those without lengthy content, such as the home page, for example, must contain an H1 title indicating the main subject of the web page.

Your H1 tag specifies the most important title of your web page. This is one of the most analyzed tags by search engines, so be sure to include your primary keyword in order to better rank yourself on it.

H1 Heading Tag

Here are some tips and details about the H1 tag:

  • Your H1 tag is the title of your web page. It should clearly present the subject of your content. For example, on a product page, the name of your H1 tag will be the name of the product in question;
  • It has to be different from the meta title tag on your page. This is because the H1 tag is intended for users who are already on your web page, while the meta title tag is visible on search engines and is used to attract users to your page;
SEO Meta Title Tag Example
  • You only need to integrate one H1 tag per page;
  • The H1 heading tag should appear at the top of the page. Since this tag presents the content of your web page, it should be displayed at the beginning of the reading;
  • This tag should contain the main keyword of the topic being covered. This makes your title even clearer about the subject and helps you position yourself on this keyword from an SEO standpoint;
  • Your H1 tag should be relatively short (more or less 70 characters)

The other heading tags

Following the H1 tag, if your content is lengthy enough (which we recommend for good SEO performance), you should include title tags up to the H6 tag (the least important one). Unlike the H1 title, you are not limited in the number of these heading tags. They will guide users through their reading and make it easier for search engines to analyze your content.

H2 tags present the main sections of your content. They should be seen as sub-headings of your H1 title and the reader should be able to understand the different topics that are covered in your content at a glance. Next up is the H3 tags which are sub-sections presenting the arguments or details of the H2 tags. They are used to let your content breath if the H2 sections are too long. In general, the H4, H5 and H6 tags are rarely used but can help people better understand your article if it is very long.

Hn Title Heading Tags Structure

Put simply, if your H1 tag is the title of your book, your H2 tags will be the chapters of the book, the H3 tags the sub-chapters, and so on.

The importance of heading tags

In a nutshell, choosing your Hn title is based on both the user experience and SEO. If presenting your content helps users understand and read it, then it will certainly also be very beneficial for search engine analysis.

Moreover, with regard to SEO, the heading tags are certainly the most important tags after the SEO tag. As we have seen previously, these heading tags are used as reference points for readers. With a hierarchical and organized content, the user will be guided through the reading process. That is why the title of your tag must explicitly indicate what the following text is about. However, be careful not to overdo it by putting too many keywords in these titles, search engines don’t really appreciate this and you could annoy your users. Find a balance between what will optimize your SEO and what will make reading enjoyable. Also, when you structure your content, you avoid the catastrophe of a large block of text that makes readers want to flee. To avoid this type of problem, you should not use more than 300 words in the text that follows your sub-sections. If the text is too long, the user will probably not read the content in its entirety.


Writing plays a very important role in your ranking on search engines. Make sure you carefully choose your keywords and structure your content. Don’t worry, this optimization is just a matter of practice.

Here is what you should remember about heading tags:

  • One and only one H1 tag per web page;
  • All your pages must contain at least one H1 tag;
  • Your titles must have a logical sequence (no H4 directly after an H2, for example);
  • Include your main keyword in some of your tags;
  • Your titles must clearly state the subject of the section;
  • These tags promote the user experience and search engine analysis of your content.

We hope that this article has answered all your questions about HTML tags. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help with content optimization, we will be happy to lend a hand!

Eugénie Delhaye
Cofondatrice et Spécialiste Marketing Internet et Référencement Naturel (SEO) Ma maîtrise des techniques de référencement, combinée à une analyse minutieuse des tendances du marché, me permet de créer des stratégies SEO sur mesure, efficaces et durables.
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