Why the fuss over H tags?

I hate H tags sometimes. I mean H1 tags for example can really make a site go from pleasant to ugly pretty quickly.

Why oh why do the serps persist in even making them a factor so those of us who don’t want to use them are penalized?

Use CSS to change their appearance to something more of your liking. So long as its still looks like a header its okay.

Chris is right, style those babies with CSS and all is good.

Secondly, you are certainly not penalized for not using heading tags. That’s like saying you’re penalized because your co-worker works twice the hours and gets paid twice as much.

Exactly. The Hx tags are there to specify heading within your site. Naturally you can alter their appearance to accomodate the look and feel of your site through CSS. What aspen is warning you about is making your Hx tags look like regular text. This kind of trickery is an easy way to getting your site banned.

I don’t use H tags at all. Most of my pages rank well in google. If you look at google website, there’s no H tags in the pages. H tags may work for other search engines.

It is generally a good idea to include your keywords in h tags. This is just one section spiders look into for your keywords an of course there are other areas you can optimize without using h tags. In general sites that use keywords in their h tags rank higher but there are always exceptions. Again, it depends on the keyword, if it is not very competitive you can get away with using no h tags. Personally, I recommend using h tags and putting some keywords in there. As for appearance, use style sheets just like others suggested.

Use CSS should be better.Normally H1 does not effect to your serps but it’ll let bot start index your site on H1 tag. try to search for (site:www.your site.com) the description shows on serps. it’s in the <h1>. if you don’t have any h1 on your site, G’ll pick up a first text on your site for description

You don’t have to have Hx tags to rank well. But having them is a useful way to categorize and explain the content on a page. That’s a good thing to do for a user and a search engine but is not required to rank well.

Some people have tried formatting H tags so that they can use them to replace P tags to try to get a benefit. Whether it works or not, its spam.

You’re not being penalized. But you’re also not getting the added benefit of having them.

That doesn’t mean that Google’s engine doesn’t use headers for ranking in its engine.

And your pages may rank better in all the engines if you created some effective headers.

I’ve found that Google doesn’t respond as lovingly to heading tags as say, yahoo or msn, but I think its still worth it to use them. I don’t think they can hurt you, unless of course you abuse them.

They’re also a significant part of using (X)HTML properly, and of making your Web site more accessible. For the search engines that use them, that’s a bonus. But headers have more value than simply to rank better. You should use them, regardless.

Google doesn’t put as much weight on them than Yahoo! because Google focuses more on links. But it still has value, it would seem.

Use css to change them… H1 does not mean larger text. :frowning:

You can even modify it to even just use your header graphic as the background, and if you have no text displayed, just have some title text and set it’s positioning to -2000px or something…

Don’t do that. If a user has images disabled but CSS still turned on it will lead to a much less informative page. Do something like this instead:

<h1><img src="/images/myheader.jpg" alt="My Header Graphic" /></h1>

That way, if images are disabled the alt text takes the place of the image, and you still get the bonus of using a header in the search engines.

or you can have, say, this for your header:



<style type="text/css">

#header {
	background: #fff url("head.jpg") no-repeat top center;
	height: 100px;
	width: 578px;

#headerText {
	display: none;



<h1 id="header"><span id="headerText">The best site ever!</span></h1>


Your image will be set as what people who have css enabled will see. And the “display: none” makes the text you place inside your <h1 id=“headerText”></h1> tags text not show up. But if your reader has css disabled, then the image will not show, and your site name, which is placed in the h1 tags, will show, and your reader will still know where they are. Also, search engines who do use hn tags for ranking and such will be happy. Everyone wins, and it’s super easy.

edit I didn’t see your post Vinnie. That makes sense.

what are H tags?


They are used to delimit headings and subheadings within a web document.

Wow. What a question.

Clearly there is a need for <h> tags because they hold meaning. Given the fact that they come in different sizes…I don’t see a fair amount of need to resize them. There’s nothing wrong with big headlines. That’s just a design preference :stuck_out_tongue:
Plenty of sites at the Garden have very large headlines and it looks great.

When folks finally figure out that <h> tags are good for seo, they start to overuse them. You definitely won’t get penalized for using them a lot…you’ll just start to drown out your keyword density.

a good rule of thumb is to only use them the amount of times the number says in the tag.

For instance, only use 1 <h1> tag per page. More than that and they’ll start to lose their meanings.

Take for instance a newspaper, You have one top level header…like “The Washington Post
Now if you put more than one top level heading on your page…it would start to look silly.
Consider section headlines as <h2> or <h3>
Then subheads as <h4> or <h5> …then if you need to…use an <h6>

That’s another reason why you shouldn’t be laying out your websites with tables. tables are meant for spreadsheets…not holding your page together.

For every element that’s on your page, think about what it actually is, then use the specific tag for it.

If it’s a navigation list, use a list…
if it’s a header, use an <h> tag.
if it’s a quote, use <blockquote>
if it’s a paragraph, use <p>

all this stuff is so super basic, but somehow as web developers nobody ever told us that these tags had a purpose.

Good luck and happy SEOing :slight_smile:

Unfortunately, that one’s not good either. Screenreaders (unfortunately) also read screen-media styles, especially ones like JAWS, which read what IE has on screen. That means that your h1 won’t be read out, leading to a more confusing experience for a blind user. The H1/img combo is the best solution to this, or using an object/h1 combo (but it may not work right in IE).

Can you have, say:

<h1><img src=“path to img” alt=“website.com” /><span id=“headText”>Website.com</span></h1>

and then set the z-index on each, to where the img show above the text? Or am I totally wrong?