Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Nick Thorley on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Tuesday, February 24, 2015).

Is h1 hierarchy no longer used as a decision in seo?

From a coding perspective its perfectly fine with html5 to have multiple h1 tags per page - ie each section can have its own h1, each article in a list can have its own h1 etc. This has changed from the previous rules of only one h1 per page. As far as I am aware it was always part of the seo guidelines to only have one h1 per page and hence I wondered if this advice still stands ie you need to go against html standards or is the h1 hierarchy no longer used as a decision in seo.

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YOUR ANSWERS

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Nick Thorley: From a coding perspective its perfectly fine with html5 to have multiple h1 tags per page - ie each section can have its own h1, each article in a list can have its own h1 etc. This has changed from the previous rules of only one h1 per page. As far as I am aware it was always part of the seo guidelines to only have one h1 per page and hence I wondered if this advice still stands ie you need to go against html standards or is the h1 hierarchy no longer used as a decision in seo.
  • Toni Anicic: I'd say it's not a critical issue if you have multiple H1 tags per URL. I still prefer having only one H1 per URL to make sure search engines understand what that URL is all about. As long as you don't spam the H1 tag (put things that are not really headings into H1 such as whole paragraphs or even entire texts) you'll be fine. ;
  • Nick Thorley:  ;thanks for the reply. I wasnt really concerned about being penalised but more what was optimal to being indexed. Most of the pages with multiple h1's are section home pages and hence not really concerned if they get indexed but more the content pages themselves.
  • Federico Sasso: An HTML with multiple H1 tags was perfectly valid even for HTML4. From an SEO standpoint, it's just a guideline, not a strict rule. Relative importance is split among the various H1s, that's all. I personally prefer having one per page, yet having more is fine.
  • Iblis Bane: Yeah, count me in the 1 per page camp as well. ; That's why you have H2's and H3's...for sub-headings. ; Not just from an indexing point of view, but from a readability one too.
  • Nick Thorley:  ;I agree with you but when you have a page of equally significant panels ie latest products, Latest News, Upcoming events etc then each of their top level headings are of equal significance and hence I think h1 is appropriate for all - how would you assign the headings in that case?
  • Toni Anicic: I'd put those into H2.
  • Iblis Bane: Agree with really . ; I would have an overall page heading (above the panels) that was an H1, and then the panel headings all as H2's.
  • Nick Thorley:  ;Thanks - yes thats how I had done it - the questionable part is one of the sections is News (which is a h2 for the heading) and then each article has its title / link which could be h3 tags but then when I look at the w3 specs - I interpret them that the article should have a main heading and hence h1. This makes sense in terms of syntax and coding but I just wasnt sure in terms of SEO. As was mentioned earlier - I dont really think it matters too much providing spam isnt being injected.
  • Iblis Bane: , the main heading of the article being an H1 should happen on the article's own page. ; I wouldn't have the full text of the article in the panel (if I'm understanding you right), just a heading and excerpt that links to the dedicated page for that article. ; On that page you have the normal heading hierarchy with an H1 for the title etc.
  • Greg Baka: Only one h1 per page is "tried and true" for SEO. Why gamble with going against what has been shown to reliably work? ; There is no reward for taking that risk.
    If you just like the visual look of the h1 headings, than alter your CSS so the h2 or h3 text "looks" just like the h1 text.
  • PromozSEO: I have one single question, why do you need multiple H1 in a page? Can you please show one instance?
  • Gene Urban: I like one per page and then I try to add H2, H3 and H4 in hierarchical order as I headline paragraphs in the post.
  • Richard Hearne: Realted to this, since you can now include Schema.org article data via JSON-LD, it seems that doing so will reduce any ambiguity as to which element contains your real headline. I'm guessing search engines, and Google in particular, have no problems pulling the real headline in the majority of cases.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Tuesday, February 24, 2015).

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