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Editor’s note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Halasz. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!
Today, our Ask an SEO question comes from Michelle K. via Facebook. She asks:
One question I can’t seem to find substantial answers to is: Are there any implications to SEO for web pages that skip H2s and go directly from an H1 to an H3? Thank you for any insights and advice.
The H1 is generally known as the item on the page that has the most weight, but this is based on old school rules of HTML.
The H1, or Heading 1 tag, was technically used as the heading or “title” of the document. Typically, that “Heading” would also be the “Title” of the page (as in the HTML title), which is why that staid “advice” about not making them the same is so asinine (but I digress).
In the old rules of HTML, before the advent of CSS, the H1 would be the largest text on the page, the H2 the second largest, the H3 the next size, and so on. Therefore, search engines traditionally placed higher weight on the largest text on the page.
Enter SEO pros and their penchant for breaking the rules.
Some figured out that they could code anything as an H tag, but use CSS to control the size and position of the text. So search engines still used this classic signal, but became wary of it. Over time, this signal became less and less important.
I still recommend that clients try to have a single H1 that uses their core keyword and at least one H2 that does, because why not do it? It helps to structure your page visually and provides important clues about the topicality of the page.
But Bing (through Duane Forrester) went on record stating that they only look at the H1 and the first H2 in terms of assigning additional weight, and Google has indicated (although not said as clearly) that they use a similar strategy.
If I were you, I’d use the H1 and the H2, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
- The topic of the page is clear.
- The text is presented well.
- It renders well on mobile.
By doing this, you’ll have handled three things that carry a lot more weight than the header tag.
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