How to Use Heading Tags to Get More Search Engine Traffic

If you think heading tags are an outdated SEO factor that has no importance in today’s UX and social signals world, think again. Heading tags are one of the most important, yet underutilized, on-page SEO elements. This video will show you how to “X-ray” your content to see if you’re using heading tags the right way…and how to optimize the heading tags in your content to maximize their visibility in search.

Video Transcript

Hey, what’s up, everybody? It’s Brian Dean from Quick Sprout and in this video, I’m going to show you how to use <H> tags to maximize the SEO value and user experience of your content.

So, first let’s take a look at an example of an article that isn’t very well optimized from an SEO or user experience standpoint. And the reason that is, is because, as you can see, they just have big, massive blocks of text, which is really hard for Web users to read. But more importantly, for the sake of this video, they don’t have any sub-headers to break up the content, which is really important, because when you first look at an article, you’re kind of skimming. These sub-headers really stand out, and help make the content more readable, and more user-friendly. And as you’ll see, it’s also important for SEO, OK?

So this is an example of, basically, what not to do. Now let’s go over the important tags, what they are and what they mean. So here’s an example of something in the Stress Management category at the Mayo Clinic about yoga, OK? So how do you know whether or not this is an <H> tag, or this is an <H> tag? Well, it’s actually very easy using the SEO Book toolbar that I discussed in an earlier video. So to check all the <H> tags on a page, click on this little X here, which is called “SEO X-ray.” So when you click on that, it will bring up this box. I just want to move that over to the side. And you can see here that this is an <H1> tag, this is an <H1> tag, this is an <H2> tag, and these are <H3> tags, OK? So I’m just going to go over, quickly, what each of these means.

So the <H1> tag is basically your second title tag, so obviously, you’ll have your <META> title tag, which is most important. But your <H1> tag is kind of like your second title tag. And in general, you want this to be also the same as the title of your post or article. And you also only want one per page. So this isn’t very well optimized, because we have two <H1> tags. So you definitely want to limit these to one per page, and I’ll show you how to check and do that later in the video. And <H2> and <H3> tags are meant for sub-headers. So those should be within your content, and those are there to break up the content, and to give you a little better idea of what your content is about.

So here’s an <H2> tag, here’s an <H2> tag. With this tool, it’s pretty cool. You can go down your existing content, and see what type of <H> tags you already have, OK? So, next you want to incorporate this into WordPress. So if you’re composing in WordPress, you want to make sure your sub-headers are the appropriate tag, OK? So when you make your title… let’s say we’re doing “Yoga Health Benefits,” OK? This usually, by default, turns into an <H1> tag, but not always. So, the best way to check is to publish it, and then to use the SEO X-ray to check, OK? So that’s one way that you can very easily see if your titles are automatically becoming <H1> tags. All right?

And then, when you actually compose your post, I actually recommend starting with a sub-headline. So we’re doing “Yoga Health Benefits.” You know, you do something like this. I already made one called, “Important Yoga Health Benefits,” “How to Do Yoga at Home” and “Preventing Injury.” So those will be, maybe, three sub-headers for a very brief article, and to make those the appropriate tags, you want to change them to <H2>. So, click on “Paragraph,” click on “Heading 2,” and as you can see, it makes them bigger and bold, in “Heading 2,” in “Heading 2.” OK?

So, this is just something you do normally, just to break up your content. And that obviously makes it more user-friendly. But, you also want to SEO-optimize these. So, the best way to do that, obviously, to include your target keyword in one of your <H2> or <H3> tags, depending on which ones you choose, OK? So, you can use <H2> or <H3> to break up your content in sub-headers, but in general, <H2> is better, because that’s considered more important by Google, OK? So it just depends which one looks better. It’s not a huge difference, but I prefer to use <H2> tags.  Now, you just want to make sure your keyword appears once in an <H2> tag. So even if you had, let’s say, eight different sub-headers, you’d only want to include your keyword maybe once or twice, OK? But at least once.

And then what about the other ones? Well, honestly, you can just include some to break up the content for user experience, but you can also include LSI keywords in those <H> tags, and I’ve found that that increases performance for content. So, how to do that is you search for, you know, “Yoga Health Benefits” in Google, which is your target keyword. And then you try to look for “searches related to,” and these are great keywords, because they’re keywords that Google has found as related, OK? So, let’s say you want to do a section on hot yoga, you might want to put “Hot Yoga Benefits,” or “Power Yoga Health Benefits,” and then you’d make that an <H2> tag for your content.

I just want to show you something. So, “Hot Yoga Health Benefits.” OK? So this would be another section of your site. And this is important for SEO, because this shows that your content is relevant, and then for some people searching for, maybe, long tails, like “Hot Yoga Health Benefits” in general, or something like that, and you have that in your <H2> tag, that can help you get more long tail traffic, OK? So that’s basically all there is to using <H> tags, but I just want to show you one other way to check your <H> tags if you don’t use the SEO Book plug-in. So, as I discussed, you can use SEO X-ray to see <H> tags on your site, but if you don’t want to use that, or you want another way, you can also use this toolbar in a different way.

So let’s head over to this post, OK? So we have the Mayo Clinic posting again. Now, what we want to do is we want to click on this, which is “View Source in Tab.” OK, and when you click on that, it’ll show you the code for that page, OK? So, this is obviously not something you want to look at normally, because it can be quite confusing if you’re not familiar with HTML, but basically, all you want to do, is use Control+F to find, and then click <H1>, and that will take you right to the <H1> tag.

And, as we can see, this is an <H1> tag that we probably don’t want, because this is kind of an extraneous <H1> tag, and we only want one per post that’s related to the content of that page. So then you can just do <H1> again, and then you’ll find the second one, and then <H2>, and find all the <H2> tags under “Standing Yoga.” OK? So you just repeat that process, and that’s a way to manually find all the <H> tags on your page, without having to use the SEO X-ray. So, that’s all there is to using <H> tags for user experience and for SEO. Thanks for watching this video, and I’ll see you in the next one.