The term “search engine optimization” (or “SEO”) is used to refer to the process of formatting and providing content on a website in a certain way, so that the search engines will place the website higher in search results pages for certain keywords and phrases.
Stay On Top Of Changes
In many ways SEO is a moving target and search engines are constantly changing and refining their algorithms for evaluating websites, so a website that appears high in the results page for a search on a particular term today might not place as high (or might place higher) during the following month.
But there are some general techniques for improving your website’s placement that have worked well over the years.
One of these SEO techniques is proper use of “H1 tags” in your website code.
Using H1 Tags
An H1 tag is simply a marker in your website’s html (“
” is the opening tag, and “
” is the closing tag) which indicates that the text within the tags is more important than the text that immediately follows it.
This emphasis is often shown to the website visitor in the form of different visual styling, such as a larger font and bolded or underlined text.
Because the website is indicating that the text within the H1 tags is more important, search engines also give extra weight to that text in determining what that webpage is about and its relevance to certain keywords and phrases that people may be searching for.
Focus On Your Primary Keywords
At a minimum, make sure that your primary keyword or phrase for the page is enclosed in an H1 tag.
But the text within the tag needs to be a headline or sentence that sounds natural when read aloud.
Also make sure that your H1 text is near the top of your page; the best place is right after the opening tag.
Pay Attention To Best Practices
Google has indicated that there are some best practices regarding the use of the H1 tag.
Their most useful piece of advice for writing your web pages is to pretend that you’re writing an outline.
What are the main points of your page? What are the sub-points? Use the imagined structure to guide you in selecting text for the H1 and other level header tags.
However, don’t use header tags for text that doesn’t help define the structure or purpose of the page.
In the early days of the web, header tags were almost exclusively a styling tool (to make text more prominent on a page).
However, that job now falls primarily on your webpage’s Cascading Style Sheets, so don’t think of your H1 tag as being anything other than a semantic designation of what’s important on your webpage.
Be careful to use your header tags sparingly and appropriately.
You might think it a clever idea to simply put your entire webpage within a set of H1 tags, since the search engine will then give the entire page extra weight, right?
Unfortunately, Google and the other search engines have long been able to see through that and other transparent techniques for tricking the system.
Be clear and accurate in your use of H1 tags and the search engines will reward you accordingly.
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