How to use H tags properly for SEO and readers


H tags, or heading tags, play a significant role in showing the structure of your website and making it easier for search engines and readers to understand your pages, which results in a higher ranking and a better user experience.

In this post, we will read about heading tag definition, optimization, and how to use H tags correctly.

Heading tag definition, what are H tags?

According to, “a heading is a word, phrase, or sentence at the beginning of a written passage that explains what it’s about.” A heading is very similar to a title.”

A heading resembles a head.

How important do you think your head is?

All your sensory organs meet in your brain, inside your head.

Your head is the place where your thoughts, calculations, imagination, and plans are made. It is also where you can reveal your beauty, smile, joy, and sadness.

Header tags are to a blog what the head is to a person.

H tags are HTML tags that create headings. They come in six sizes, from h1, the largest and most important, to h6, the smallest. 

Always use h tags in descending order of importance, beginning with h1>, which is the heading (title), and working your way down.

H2 is the second-most important header tag. It is the first sub-heading in your text and represents the second heading after the main heading on your page, h1, the title.

This helps search engines easily understand and evaluate your page in terms of structure and SEO. It also allows readers to navigate the page and understand the content that lies under this or that heading or subheading.

The order of h tags should always be like this:

<H1>, <H2>, <H3>, <H4>, <H5>, and <H6>.

Sticking to this order will give you the best results as far as your site’s structure and SEO are concerned.

READ MORE>> How to optimize your blog’s site structure easily

Benefits of Using H Tags

Using H tags can help improve your SEO ranking as well as the readability score of your content.

By using H tags, search engines can better determine the importance of each heading in your post, giving your content more chances to appear higher in the search results.

In addition, using H tags can also help improve the readability of your post. Properly-structured headings can make it easier for readers to quickly find the information they are looking for in your post, which can help keep them engaged and come back for more.

Using h tags for SEO purposes

When you write a post, you target two types of readers: search engines and humans.

Everything you do, you do for both recipients.

For instance, you run on-page optimization to help search engines and users understand our content by optimizing your posts to increase SEO and readability scores.

Off-page and technical SEO also address search engines and readers by optimizing your links, page speed, and many other parts of the optimization process.

Let’s talk about your first reader: search engines.

Search engines are smart readers that have more eyes than human readers.

Although they are clever, they don’t judge your posts based on your ethnicity, color, location, or other traits. They judge them based on what they read and understand.

Your posts are eligible to rank higher if they are well-structured and easy to navigate (along with optimization and all other aspects that help).

To let search engines understand your content, you need to use h tags.

No matter what style, font size, or color your h tags are, search engines will read them as HTML, which will be displayed like this:

 <h1>Your Title Here/h1> or <h2>Your Subheading Here</h2>, etc.

Once search engines understand your content, they’ll send it to readers based on their queries that match.

Using h tags to enhance user experience 

Google made it clear. User experience (UX) is a ranking factor.

But what is the connection between h tags and the user experience? Let’s see how vital it is to use h tags on your web pages.

Imagine you are reading a book that has no title (even though I doubt anyone will do this).

This book is full of paragraphs with no headings, just a wall of words. How many pages do you think you could bear to read?

The same applies to the consumer medicine information leaflet. Imagine again that there are no headings or subheadings; how difficult will it be to find the precautions section or other vital parts?

Using h tags in your posts is vital for readers. It is a visual map that takes them to their destination.

If they want to read or remember an important part of your post, they will know it from the heading or subheading.

Using h tags makes your post scannable and readable.

How do you think your readers choose to read your post among the others? by looking at the title, which is the H1 tag.

How do they continue reading? by looking at the subheadings.

Not convinced yet? Here’s another reason to use h tags:

If you use the Yoast plugin, you can notice that it recommends splitting long texts that are more than 300 words and using a subheading. This is because long paragraphs have an unpleasant impact on readability and may cause readers to bounce back early, increasing your bounce rate or decreasing your dwell time.

By doing this, you’ll suffer a horrible drop in traffic, and damage the user experience, which results in a lower ranking.

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How to Use h tags

Using H tags is straightforward.

When you’re writing in HTML, you can simply add the tag to the beginning of your heading. For example, to create a heading for your post, use h1>Your Heading Here/h1>.

You should always use the appropriate size h tag for each heading. If your post has a title, for example, use h1>Your Title Here /h1>.

To include a subheading, use “h2>your subheading here/h2>.” You should never skip sizes, as doing so could cause SEO and structure issues.

1- Include the h1 tag

The H1 tag represents the weight and essence of your content in a post. It is the most essential part of your text.

Do you know why? simply because it is the most notable part, the front face of your text.

Thankfully, you don’t need to do anything in order to use the H1 tag. Most (if not all) content management systems, including WordPress, take care of this part.

Once you type your title, WordPress automatically adds an H1 tag to it.

It rarely happens that some themes do not automatically allow this process. In this case, you need to either change your theme or contact the theme developer to solve this issue for you.

2- Include your main keyword in the h1 tag

Since our goal is to help searchers and search engines better understand our content, and since the H1 tag represents the title of the post, it is inescapable that we include the main keyword in it. 

Despite the fact that it is optional, it is preferable to place the main keyword at the beginning of the title so that it is the first word or phrase noticed by search engine radars and users’ eyes.

Including the main keyword in the title is also recommended by SEO plugins like Yoast and others to help you get the best SEO results.

If you forget to use your keyword in the H1 tag, Yoast will tell you to add it. It will also indicate whether this keyword is put at the beginning of the h1 tag or not.

The plugin recommends using your main keyword at the beginning since most readers only look at the first and last three words before deciding whether to click.

Furthermore, adding your keyword to the title will tell the readers what your post is about, and the best practice, besides adding your keyword, is to craft a catchy title that hooks your readers to your post for as long as possible.

READ MORE >> How to craft catchy blog titles for your blog

READ MORE >> Top 9 ways to keep your readers hooked to your blog

3- Use a headline analyzer

Knowing how to use h tags correctly is not enough. You need to show the best version of them. 

The H1 tag is distinctive when it comes to its power: the power to attract, hook, and clarify.

That’s why you should craft your headline.

Fortunately, there are tools to help you with this.

I use the “Headline Tracker,” which is part of the MonsterInsights plugin. It helps optimize my headlines by suggesting improvements based on word balance and sentiment.

4- Use only one H1 tag per post

If you ask any blogger whether you can use multiple H1 tags or not, the answer will be: don’t.

This is because H1 tags have always been used once in a post.

Even SEO plugins warn you if you use more than one.

I only use one H1 tag since it is enough and relevant to my topic.

John Mueller, Google webmaster trends analyst, recently explained that using multiple H1 tags won’t hurt your SEO as long as you need them.

But do you have to do this and risk distracting your readers?  

If your post covers one topic, as is the case with all of our posts, what’s the need for multiple H1 tags?

Keep it as simple as it is: one H1 tag per post.

5- Use the right H tag

As we now know, we use h tags for a purpose: building a structure that helps SEO and users have a better idea about our content.

Each h tag size serves a different purpose than the others.

This means that we should use these headers correctly according to the role they play.

Use H1 tags for titles and include your primary keywords.

H2 tags should also include the same keywords (when convenient) and are used to break up your content into sections.

H3 headings are subheadings of h2 headers. They are critical in splitting long texts into smaller units, and they can also include keywords.

H4, H5, and H6 are subcategories that are used to add more information, split texts, and make your content more scannable.

It is crucial to use h tags in their proper places and only for their definite purposes.

Do not use them to emphasize an idea or focus on a specific word or sentence, but rather use other methods such as using a bold or italic font or even changing the font size, color, and style instead.

6- Follow the hierarchy of h tags

As mentioned before, h tags should be used in a hierarchical order, starting from H1 to H6.

Although Google no longer considers header tags as ranking factors, they made it clear that using them helps readers better understand your content.

Logically, better understanding means better user experience and, therefore, higher chances to rank.

Consider using “h1” for your title, “h2” as the first and most important subheading, “h3” as sub-subheadings, and so on.

H4, h5, and h6 should be used to split long chunks of text and add more information to them. 

In this post, you can notice the hierarchy of header tags as follows:

H1: How to use h tags in your posts

H2: Heading tags definition- what are h tags

H2: Benefits of using h tags

H3: Using h tags for SEO purposes

H3: Using h tags to enhance user experience

H2: How to use h tags

And so on.

Sticking to this hierarchy will also help readers and search engines navigate your page and have a better understanding of your content.

7- Do not write long h tags

Experts say that header tags’ length should be between 20 and 70 characters.

Do not forget that headings are titles of the texts that follow; therefore, there’s no need to make them long since you can expand them into longer texts.

On the contrary, short, clear heading tags convey your point in a scannable, direct way.

One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is trying to squeeze their keywords into a heading, resulting in a long header that does not appeal to readers.

Do not overthink this.

If your keyword doesn’t fit, leave it alone and keep your header short.

8- Keep H tags direct to the point

If you read the heading of this paragraph, “Keep tags direct to the point,” you’ll notice that it is clear and direct to the point.

Writing h tags should not be a puzzle game.

Readers are “fragile,” and they visit your blog to find answers; thus, playing games and puzzles with vague headings is the same as playing riddles.

Keep in mind that the purpose of h tags is to assist search engines and users in better understanding your content, so keep your headings simple.

9- Use lots of headings

If I give you a book and ask you to tell me what it’s about in half an hour, what will you do?

You will definitely skim through it, reading the headings to get an overview of the content.

You may also go directly to the index page, which serves as a roadmap to the book, to help you gather the information you need to tell me.

The headings, subheadings, and index play the same role as the h tags in a post.

The more header tags you use, the more likely your readers are to understand your post.

Always split your long texts using relative h tags in order to make it easier for readers to navigate and understand the content.

10- Aim to win a featured snippet

In this post, Neil Patel gave the exact description of the featured snippets.

Featured snippets are extended search results that appear at the top of Google and provide users with a quick answer to their questions.

Neil Patel

Among the several conditions that contribute to getting a featured snippet, using header tags increases your chances if they are correctly used.

For example, if you want to get a chance to win a featured snippet, you should add a “what is + keyword” or “how to + keyword” (or other types) to an h tag.

Look what I got when I typed the question “How to get backlinks”! This snippet is a list of h tags taken from the top result post by “searchenginejournal”.

how to use h tags to win a featured snippet
a featured snippet on how to get backlinks

How to add h tags to your WordPress site

There are two common ways to add tags to WordPress; by using the HTML version or by using the classic WordPress visual editor

Using the HTML version

Bloggers do not need to bother themselves with the HTML version to add headings since most CMSs and themes automatically insert them.

But knowing how to use the HTML version is good for you to learn the syntax of h tags and to help you inspect your text in HTML.

The syntax is not complicated.

  • <h1> your text </h1>
  • <h2> your text </h2>
  • <h3> your text <h3>
  • And so on

Using the classic WordPress visual editor

All you need to do is

  • Highlight the text you need to transform into a heading
  • Click on “Paragraph” in the toolbar that shows up
  • Click on the menu that shows the header tags
  • Select which tag you want to use

Once you click on a header tag, your text will be transformed into a heading.

If you are on a blank line, you can click on the plus button and select “heading,” then choose which heading you want to insert.


How long should your page’s title tag be?

An ideal H1 tag length is 60 characters. This length allows you to insert your main keyword/phrase without making your title too long.

What is the proper way to write an H1 tag?

To use the H1 tag correctly, it should

  • be the first h tag in the hierarchy
  • contain your keywords
  • be relevant to the text followed
  • contain 20-70 characters
  • only be used once in the post
  • hold the title of the post

How to add an H1 tag in HTML

Adding an H1 tag in HTML is simple. In the HTML version, type <H1>, then write your title and finish your sentence with </H1>.

How to optimize h tags for SEO

  • Always start with the H1 tag as the title
  • Do not use multiple H1 tags in one post
  • Include the main keyword of your post
  • Do not exceed 70 characters when writing your title
  • Use a headline analyzer
  • Follow the hierarchy of tags
  • Keep your h tags direct to the point

If you have any questions or have something to add, I’ll be glad to read and reply to your comments.

Until next time


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