An eye catching headline is good for drawing in readers, but do search engines work the same way?
Putting a keyword or key-phrase within a header is not as simple as you’d first think. Web page headers are more like the smaller navigational heading you’d find inside a magazine than the ones you find emblazoned across the front cover.
From a page ranking perspective, a header (H1, H2, H3, H4 etc.) is slightly different to those you would read on the front of a newspaper. After all, headers are invisible to the user within SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) yet are argued to be the 8th most important on-page ranking factor. For a person to read the web page’s header, they have already arrived at your page. The header has already performed its invisible SEO function before a page even loads. A magazine on the other hand uses headlines to make their publication stand out from the crowd, forcing you to part with cash.
The question is, should you sacrifice keywords within the header for a comic one liner?
In the case of the H1 tag I would always say NO, but then again I’m an SEO nerd not a copywriter. Personally, I’d use other methods of keeping a person on the page: a clear informative image, a free give-away or similar. I always make sure the H1 header of any page is closely related, if not identical to the page title (<title> tag) and the page url. You only have one H1 tag on any page – so use it carefully!
With the H2, H3, H4 etc tags you have a certain degree of extra freedom. Don’t go overboard, as random sentences can dilute the theme of a page, making it hard for a search engine to index. Personally, where I have several keywords or key-phrases that I have chosen for a page, I assign them across these headers in descending order of priority. I make sure that only one keyword / key-phrase is used within each tag. Finally, when coding, I make sure the tags read in a logical order down the page.
Do not repeat headers and do not waste them on phrases such as ‘Contact Us’, ‘Terms and Conditions’ etc.
Don’t forget, if you must have a ‘showbiz header’ you could always use large type font, saving your H1 for SEO.
5 Keyword in Header Tips
- Primary keyword in H1 tag
- If possible, separate Hx tags for each keyword
- Only one H1 tag
- Use keyword only once in each header
- H1 tag should reflect title tag of page