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In this article I am writing about the H1 tag and SEO. You will learn about the pros and cons of having an H1 tag, why it’s important for Search Engine Optimisation and how to use it on a page.

If you own a Shopify store and you are interested in optimising your page title, description and heading, you might want to check the following articles:

If you need help with SEO for Shopify, you can check our Shopify Support package or SEO monthly plans.

What is the H1 Tag?

It is a HTML tag that generally indicates the title of a web page.

HTML tags range from H1 to H6, where H1 is the most important tag and H6 the least important of the tree structure.

What Does the H1 Look Like?

In the HTML syntax it looks like this <h1>This is your SEO title</h1>.

It has both an opening and closing tag.

Why is the H1 Important for SEO?

It’s important because it normally indicates the title of the page on search results.

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It is understood Google uses this tag to determine the main topic of a given web page.

Should I Still Use One H1 on a Web Page?

Traditionally, the general consensus was to use only one H1 on a web page.

Meaning, using it more than once would hurt your Search Engine Optimization efforts.

As you can see in this video with Google’s Matt Cutts from 2009, he advises for using multiple H1 tags on a page only when it makes sense to do so (on a single page website).

Is It Mandatory to Have Only One H1 on a Web Page?

Google had addressed this in 2019 in one of the hangouts by John Mueller:

In this video, John Muller states:

You can use H1 tags as often as you want on a page. There’s no limit — neither upper nor lower bound.

H1 elements are a great way to give more structure to a page so that users and search engines can understand which parts of a page are kind of under different headings, so I would use them in the proper way on a page.

Your site can do perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags.”

So using multiple H1 tags on a page is OK. Having said that, many in the SEO community are still cautious and use only one per page

Does Using Multiple H1 Tags on a Page Hurt My SEO?

This question was tested in an experiment by the guys at Moz[1]Shepard, C. Are H1 Tags Necessary for Ranking? Feb 25, 2020 – Moz.com.

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The author of the article set up a 50/50 split test between H1 and H2 blog titles and measured the impact on organic traffic.

The result confirmed that ‘changing H2s to H1s made no statistically significant difference’ [in the volume of organic traffic generated]:

Confirming their statements, Google’s algorithms didn’t seem to care if we used H1s or H2s for our titles. Presumably, we’d see the same result if we used H3s, H4s, or no heading tags at all.

Should I Still Use the H1 for SEO?

It is still important for SEO because it[2]Lahey, C. How to Use Header Tags and H1 Tags for SEO, May 21, 2021 – Semrush.com:

  • Improves Accessibility
  • Shows Text Structure
  • Improves User-Friendliness (and SEO as a consequence)

Accessibility

Screen readers can read HTML tags on a page, including H1 tags. As such, a visually-impaired person can determine whether the content of a page is worth reading.

Text Structure

This is important because header tags like H1 break the content of a web page in sections. In so doing, readers can quickly scan through the content and decide on which sections to skip.

User-Friendliness

Google considers the user-friendliness of a page as a ranking factor. Having the page broken down into sections with header tags is considered as the page being user-friendly.

This indirectly helps your SEO efforts.

Conclusion

Using one, multiple or no H1 tags is ok provided it makes sense for the given web page.

The H1 one tag is still important because it improves the accessibility, structure and user-friendliness of a page (and indirectly the level of on-page optimisation).

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Featured image by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash.com

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