What are they and why are they important?

H1 tags can have an immense impact on factors such as traffic and ranking on search engine result pages (SERP). According to Google, 80% of their results on their first page use a H1 tag. An example of how the tags can improve visibility of a company is with Motorcars Ltd, they are a company which supply parts for Jaguar, Land Rover and MINI cars. After adjusting their strategy as well as reconstructing their H1 tags these were their results.

They themselves have stated that the H1 tags play a crucial role in helping with the visibility and ranking of web pages of a site. Furthermore, Moz‘s survey data from their Search Engine Ranking Factors confirmed that “Page-Level Keyword and Content-Based Metrics” ranked top three in a list of influential factors for a website.

important parts of a website ranked h1 tags google
image credit: Moz

User Experience

H1 tags are usually the most attention-grabbing part of a page and it would be what a user looks at first compared to the rest of the site. Although they may not seem like a direct SEO feature as there is no technical optimisation occurring. when used well, a H1 tag can increase user optimisation, which in turn will lead to better results in regards to SEO. To quote Google Analyst, John Mueller, “SEO shouldn’t be your primary objective, instead, think about your users.” Results from a survey conducted by WebAIM, presented below, found that 68.8% of users go straight to the headings of a page when trying to find information and 52.2% of users find different levelled headings useful.

navigate headings h1 tag
image credit: WebAIM

When it comes to user experience, page structure and design is everything. A study conducted by Carleton University discovered that the visual appeal of a website can be assessed within 50 milliseconds, suggesting that web designers have about 50ms to make a good first impression. With H1 tags being one of the most prominent parts of a website, they have an significant role to play when it comes to keeping a user engaged and interested.

Zero-Click Searches

Another issue that is becoming prevalent is zero-click searches. Zero-click searches are when search engine results pages provide the answer to the question at the very top of the results making any other results redundant. An example of this is when searching for the weather in a particular location. Google will provide you with an answer which doesn’t require another click or additional site visit, hence, zero-click search.

Melbourne Weather H1 tag Zero Click Search forecast
image credit: Google/Weather.com

Although this does result in the user receiving the relevant information quicker and more direct, it also proves to be a problem as a study conducted by SparkToro found that zero-click searches make up 50.33% of all browser-based searces, outranking searches with organic clicks and searches with ad clicks.

zero click search h1 tag paid organic google sparktoro
image credit: SparkToro

The amount of zero-click searches increasing over the past years result in less traffic and fewer marketing opportunities. To ensure that the most is being done to bring in traffic to the website, H1 headings should be used appropriately and with their intended use, which to quote John Mueller is that “SEO shouldn’t be your primary objective, instead think about your users, if you have ways of making your content accessible to them be it by using multiple H1 or other standard HTML constructs, then that’s not going to get in the way of your SEO efforts.”

If you are looking for more ways to understand your consumers and their behaviour have a look at How Can Understanding Consumer Behaviour Benefit Your SEO?

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