What Are H1 Tags?
H1 tags are one of the six header tags provided for in HTML. These exist in a hierarchy from H1 to H6, where H1 is the most prominent and H6 the least prominent. Since they are the most prominent, H1 tags should be a title which describes the contents of the webpage as a whole, whilst those lower down in the hierarchy should be used to demarcate sections and subsections. Note that you should not skip levels, e.g. go from H1 to H3. This is for many reasons, including screen reader accessibility. To create an H1 tag, simply open your HTML file and type <h1>, than add your heading, and then finally type <h1>, as in the following example: <h1>Main Heading</h1>
How Can H1 Tags Improve Your SEO?
The H1 tag is important to SEO because search engines use it to understand what the content of webpages is about. They probably pay more attention to the H1 tag than any other element of the page. As stated previously, those higher in the header hierarchy are given more weight than those which are lower. In addition, headers are all treated as more significant than the body text. H1 is the highest in the header hierarchy and is therefore given the most weight by the search engines. It should therefore contain the main keyword(s) which you expect users will type when searching for the content you provide in this page. However, as in all aspects of SEO, note that keyword stuffing is not advised.
Another reason for including H1 headers is that search engines often penalise pages which do not contain them. This is because they know that headers improve the user experience. Headers also indirectly affect your SEO due to the fact that they make it clear to users whether or not a webpage contains what they are looking for, and so decrease the ‘bounce rate’ (the chance that users will leave your page and continue searching). The bounce rate is another factor that search engines often take into consideration when deciding the ranking of websites. Note that it is best to use only one H1 tag per page. This makes it easier for search engines to understand what the page is about, and therefore improves your SEO.