One SEO professional was concerned about heading tags. They are aware that some SEO pros say that they are not going to affect your rankings.
Other SEO pros say that the only thing that matters for your rankings is just their size – the H1 should be larger than the H2, for example.
They explained that they have analyzed John’s blog, and Google’s documentations. They noticed that both John and Google will use only one H1 tag per page, and there is a hierarchy between these heading tags.
Google Chrome’s Lighthouse extension also has a warning when you don’t use hierarchical heading tags.
Their question is: should we use heading tags like Google and John use? Or can they use them randomly?
Could they add, for example, 5 H1 tags to a page?
John answered that just because Google does something, it’s not necessarily the best way to do it.
He says that across all their sites, there are people with various levels of search and SEO-related knowledge.
Not everyone has all the details in terms of how everything works and how it should be implemented perfectly.
John reiterates that although Google does this, it doesn’t mean it’s always perfect.. The same is true for any other large website.
His main point is that despite what some people may do on some of these sites, don’t assume that they are perfect, even if they rank number one for many queries.
This is the first thing he wanted the SEO professional to keep in mind.
Regarding headings, he continued, Google does use headings in order to understand more about the context of individual pieces of content.
For this, the hierarchy of the heading tags on the page helps establish this hierarchy.
He also mentioned that the larger impact you would see from these heading tags is for usability.
For people who use screen readers or other assistive technologies, they rely on page headings to better understand the page and to know where within the page they have to go.
Therefore, he would say: “Well, if you’re gonna work on page headings, you might as well do it correctly.”
Oftentimes, it doesn’t take extra work to figure out how to do the hierarchy, and to set up templates for this.
His recommendation is to do these headings correctly, but it’s not required to do them in any specific way.
This happens at approximately the 06:11 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
SEO Professional 2 6:11
Sure. Hi, John. So my question for this week is actually about heading tags. Some SEO say that they will not affect your rankings. And some of them say they, the only thing that matters for your ranking is just their size, like H1 should be bigger than H2, than H2, for example.
But when I analyzed your own blog, and Google’s Search documentations, I saw that you and Google use heading tag property. Like you use only one H1 Tag per page, and there’s a hierarchy between these heading tags.
And also, Google Chrome Lighthouse has a warning: when you do not use heading tags hierarchical, it says you should use them hierarchical.
So should we use heading tags like you and Google use? Or can we just use them randomly? Can I just add, for example, five H1 tags to a page?
So I think first of all, you should not assume that just because Google does something that it’s the best way to do it. Across all of our sites, there are people with various levels of search, SEO related knowledge. And not everyone focuses on all of the details and does it all, all perfectly.
So I would kind of like say, Well, Google does this, but it doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. And the same for any other big website. It’s like so many people are always involved with these big websites, you can’t assume that everything they do is perfect, even if they rank number one for some of these queries.
So that’s kind of my first thing. With regards to headings, we do use them to understand a little bit better what the context is of individual pieces of content. And for that, it can help if you have a kind of a hierarchy on the page.
But I think almost the bigger effect that you would see is with regards to usability that, especially people with screen readers or other kinds of assistive devices, they rely on these headings to better understand the page and kind of know where within the page they need to go.
And because of that, it’s something where I would say, Well, if you’re going to work on headings on your pages, you might as well do it right. And often, it doesn’t take a lot of extra work to kind of figure out how to do the hierarchy, right?
And set up the templates for that. So my recommendation would be to do the headings right, but it’s not something where I’d say you’re required to do it.