Marketing 3 min read

Google's Mueller Explains How to Use Headings for SEO

In a recent Webmaster Hangout, Google's resident SEO expert, John Mueller, gave valuable tips on how we can use headings for SEO.

Screenshot of INK file | R.A.Fuertes

Screenshot of INK file | R.A.Fuertes

During a hangout, Google‘s John Mueller explained how to use headings for SEO.

Twenty years ago, heading elements — H1, H2, H3 — were an essential ranking factor. It was simple; if you wanted your article to appear on the SERP, you must include your keywords in the headings.

However, that hasn’t been the case for many years now.

Some experts point out that adding headings to a post is now something we do out of habit rather than necessity. In other words, we no longer need headings for SEO.

So during a Webmaster Hangout, a publisher asked John Mueller what the best headings practice were. The question reads:

A long question on headers and H1, H2, H3… What is the best setup?

The trend analyst’s answer describes the role of heading elements in ranking and how you should use them.

Headings Tags No Longer Ranking Factor?

First, Mueller rebutted the SEO practice of adding keywords to heading tags with the belief that it’s a ranking factor. No, it’s not.

According to the analyst, headings are a bit overrated. He further explained that people could waste a lot of effort overthinking what the optimal heading should be.

Meanwhile, the search engine reads headings the way they were meant to be — to understand the paragraph that follows.

We do use headings when it comes to search. But we use them to understand the content on the pages better,” Mueller explained.

Another belief is that H1 is more important than H2 as a ranking factor, and H2 is more important than H3, and so on. However, John Mueller explains that it’s no longer the case.

While the hierarchical information of heading tags provides a proper organization of web documents, it plays no role in ranking factors.

Mueller noted:

“So… this question of… how should I order my H1, H2, H3, headings and what should the content be, that’s something from my point of view isn’t really that relevant.”

So, what’s the right way to use heading tags?

How to Use Headings for SEO, According to Google

Mueller explained that heading tags are useful for explaining a big chunk of text or image.

It helps Google how to process the piece of text or image that you within the heading. “And with that, it’s a lot easier to find… the right queries that lead us to these pages,” Mueller said.

So, instead of helping your page rank higher on the SERP, headings help Google understand your page a little better. In turn, the search engine can send in users who are explicitly looking for your content.

Watch the Google Hangout here:

Read More: Mueller Suggests Tips to Optimize Podcast Sites for Search

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