How To Use Header Tags (H1, H2, And H3) To Boost SEO
Updated: Oct 29
93% of all online experiences start with search.
H tags are the headers and structure you use in your writing to help Google determine relevance. Why? Google wants the experience of searching to be positive, so by scanning the writing first, Google can be confident that they are sending the searcher to the right place.
If you don’t use H tags, Google may only read part of your content.
How to structure H tags in content to boost SEO
You need to have a relevant theme that runs through a well-structured article. The headers then form the structure headers in a way that Google can understand and recommend to people searching. Your headers should look like this:
You’ll see that in this article, I have started with a headline that includes the keywords ‘H tags’, ‘header’, and ‘H1, H2, and H3’, and I have then structured my H2 header tags and H3 header tags with keywords that take a deeper dive into the topic.
Your reader should be able to find exactly what they are looking for easily and want to read on – a long-form article sits at 2000 words, so they should be engaged enough to scroll for a while.
Don’t forget that the longer a person stays on that page after searching is recorded by Google, as it tells them that your page was helpful.
You must not stuff your article with keywords; you’re looking to use a structure where the headers have keywords and the content is relevant. You can get penalised by Google for adding too many keywords.
What is an H1 or H tag header?
An H1 header (<H1> tag) is your headline or title of your article, and it’s very important that you get it right.
Start by adding a headline <H1> with your most important keywords in. In Google Docs and
WordPress, you can select the size and header description in the same place you choose font or size.
If you were to write it in HTML for a website, it would like this:
<H1> I’m a hard-hitting header with keywords </H1>
I try to aim for:
* At least 50 characters in my H1 header.
* At least 1900 words in my articles (also known as long-form content).
What are H2 and H3 header tags?
H2 and H3 header tags are the headers of different sections within your article. For instance, if I was talking about how to get your first mortgage, I might structure my article like this:
My headline or title (header, or H1 tag), would be in large font (or selected as an H1 in Google/WordPress) like this:
How To Get Your First Mortgage
I’d then separate my content into around five sections that my research shows will be helpful, such as most searched for challenges. I’ll make sure I use my keywords so that Google sees that the content is relevant. So, I would have headers and subheaders a bit like an academic piece, but without the boring 1.2.1. bit.
My H2 header tag would be a little smaller than my headline and look like this:
How do I know how much money I can borrow for my first mortgage?
I’d then break the section down with subheaders (H3 header tags). I rarely go beyond H3 tags.
What is affordability, and why is it important for mortgages?
How to get my articles and website to rank higher on Google search?
Google has around 200 different tick boxes, or algorithms, to decide if your content or website is the chosen one. So, H tags and keywords are only one way. Here are some other essential factors:
Content quality – longer and informative.
Backlink profile – reputable websites linking to yours.
A low bounce rate – people who click on and off your website very quickly.
SSL security – make sure you have the little lock symbol on your website.
A high click-through rate.
Images and illustrations.
How do I attract local visitors to my website?
The good news is that Google likes local, so it will list the most relevant answer to search and add in a local element too. So, if you get the content quality and structure spot on, it will have a better chance of attracting more visitors from your local area to your website.
Thanks to bluelist.co, I can show you some statistics on local search:
For 93% of searches with a local intent, Google’s 3-pack local listings appear in the top spot.
18% of local smartphone searches lead to a same-day purchase.
46% of Google searches are local.