How To Use H1 Tags In SEO

Every website owner wants to make sure that their site can be found by potential customers through search engines.

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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Pam Lawhorne

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  • Tom

    Hey Pam,

    Like your tweets. While an H1 tag can be considered an HTML marker on a website, its not just any marker. It’s is used for headers and of different sizes (H1 through H6).

    Also, an H1 tag on a particular page should be the only instance of that H1 tag and can be combined with page title and the description tag, keeping the ‘optimization’ in SEO on-focus.

    So, you don’t want to put just anything between the tags, but the heading of a particular section, which of course can be a keyword or phrase, but you get my point.

    Just did not want your readers to think they can H1 tag an important point in a paragraph. It would turn into a header.

    See this post for reference:


    • Pam Lawhorne

      Great point Tom! Thanks for bringing that up. I try to be thorough but sometimes I fall short! ;o)


  • Linda Strother

    thanks great article.

    • Pam Lawhorne

      Thanks Linda. Glad you liked it!


  • Stephanie Rainbow Bell

    Thanks for this! It was EXACTLY the information I was looking for! I appreciate the distinction between using the H1 as a “style” vs. its purpose for SEO! ***NOW*** I get it!!!

    Rainbow Blessings!

    • Pam Lawhorne

      You’re welcome Stephanie!

      Glad it helped out. It took me a minute before I got it too. But like you – once I got it I GOT IT! ;o)


  • Abbie Pili

    I am so thankful that I find your blog. I am working on my site to improve it’s online visibility since it is new. Currently working on H1 tags how and where to put it, thanks for this helpful article.

    • Pam

      Hi Abbie!

      Thanks so much for the feedback! If you need assistance with your online marketing then check out our Online Marketing Packages.

      We’d love to work with you!


      • Abbie

        Hi Pam, Thanks for the suggested link, I will check on it.

        • Pam

          You’re welcome Abbie! Anytime!


  • Wayne Pruner

    Thanks for an explaination even I understand.

    • Pam

      Thanks Wayne!

      Glad the info was helpful!


  • Steven

    Thank you so much for your advice . This Article gives me a good explanation about h1 tag and how to optimally use that in my website

    • Pam

      You’re welcome Steven!

      Glad you found the information helpful!