Eric M. Hoover: At this point I`d say more important than those in meta descriptions, or at least as important.
Rob Woods: not very. It`s one of hundreds of factors. More useful for capturing the featured snippet than ranking in the main results.
Roger Montti: They are useful (like any other content element).
But like the title tag, they are not critical or as absolutely necessary as they used to be in the past.
I`ve gotten a ton of pushback about this for the past few years, even though all you have to do is look at the SERPs to see Google is ranking things despite a lack of keyword targeted H1s and titles.
Yes, there is an SEMRush report that says XX% of top ranked sites use headings. But that report does not distinguish between headings with keywords in them and headings used for styling purposes. So using that citation to show that headings correlate with rankings is misleading.
Neil Cheesman: My input is this - `many` Wordpress themes will put the title as an H1 and sorry but the key phrase or part of it will likely benefit - IF that is what you want to be found for in the SERPS - ie if your page is about Black Labradors and the title/H1 is "Ron`s Friend Bill" (unless around the world `Ron`s Friend Bill` is known to be a black labrador) then this won`t help... it can only help by having something relevant to your key phrase/word in the H1/title... there are of course always exceptions... IF used CORRECTLY and not spamming I have not found the use of a key phrase/word detrimental to ranking when used in an H1. IMHO they can be `important` along with quite a few other things - so how do you define `important`.
Adam John Humphreys: According to the Google Patents I have read it’s not so much the h1 as much as the proximity of keywords and general content. That said, write like a thesis and keep on topic. Before any of that consider that the number of queries your page is found for will determine its placement so be very specific and ensure it’s share worthy.
Neil Cheesman: and from Google: "Create unique, accurate page titles"
Imagine you`re writing an outline
Similar to writing an outline for a large paper, put some thought into what the main points and sub-points of the content on the page will be and decide where to use heading tags appropriately.
Placing text in heading tags that wouldn`t be helpful in defining the structure of the page.
Using heading tags where other tags like <em> and <strong> may be more appropriate.
Erratically moving from one heading tag size to another.
Use headings sparingly across the page
Use heading tags where it makes sense. Too many heading tags on a page can make it hard for users to scan the content and determine where one topic ends and another begins.
Roger Montti: >>>"...write like a thesis..."
Nice way of putting it!
Alan Bleiweiss: Claiming "they`re very important" or "not very important" is complete BULLSHIT as a blanket statement.
Do you want to have good results or do you want to ensure you have maximized the consistency of signals, within reason, where you can through intelligent use of methods that help visitors AND SEO?
Because if it`s the latter, then using well written H1 headlines is proper and intelligent reinforcement where even if it`s not absolutely helpful to SEO, it is to visitors.
Since the H1 is meant to communicate the primary topic of the page from within the main content area, as a reflection of the page Title, and representing the primary topic that should be found in the content, then use of H1s is a correct, valid reinforcing signal.
Just don`t wrap the stupid logo with an H1 through lazy assed programming of templates like happens in WordPress too often. Because that`s stupid. Lazy. And unhelpful.
Bill Hunt: Had a client remove them about 8 months ago since a celebrity SEO said they were no longer important and their traffic tanked. Added them back and traffic went back up. As Alan Bleiweiss suggests there are other reasons a site might have them as long as they are not spammy. Also, if they don`t hurt (which they cannot) why not have them?
Thulasitharan : i think very important. H1 is main ranking signal of any search engine
Nikhil Tevatia: H1 is important but don`t include your keyword as it is in H1. H1 should be combination of long tail keyword and brand(if possible)
Kuldeep Kedwani: Very important google gives way more attention to H! tags then H2 or any other. Having keyword in H1 Tag tells google about your posts. And it helps it to rank your web on your focused keyword :)
Tim Capper: They are a tiny part of the understanding of the site.
If you have a massive site without proper h1, h2 structure, then this is way down on the list of things to fix, if ever.
If you have a smallish site, you may as well get it corrected, then move on with other things
Parma Sandhu: Put long tail keyword in title h1 n content and see the result in 2 days
Makis Cris: what about for H1 in e-shop? Does it matter on category pages? On product pages is easy since it is the name of the product.