How to structure web page headings

To build effective headings throughout your page structure you have understand how to build a clear hierarchy within your heading structure. Headings should run in terms of relevance from your h1 to your h6. Every page should have an h1 which is similar in nature to your Meta title; it should clearly sum up your page and should include your main page keyword(s). Below the h1, your h2 tags should reflect the sub sections underneath the h1; the h3 should reflect the sub sections underneath your h2 and so on.

<h1>Heading text</h1> // Wrapping content in a basic h1 tag

The necessity of headings

Headings are a necessity on every page and are one of the primary means of mapping out your page structure to search engines and users. They are the perfect place to put your keywords and can consist of single words or short sentences if appropriate. If you have every studied Graphic Design you can build your headings in terms of relevance based on Graphic Design principles of hierarchy. Prioritise the important information and split it up as clearly as possible when going down levels.

Use headings to sum up content underneath

Generally under most headings you will have paragraphs of text which act as a more in depth explanation of the topic within the page heading and usually follow directly below it. You can place headings in different orders than from h1 to h6. For instance you can have multiple h2 tags underneath the h1 with multiple other heading tags underneath each. You can also have your headings in an erratic order with a heading tag other than the h1 first, but this isn’t good practice and you should generally always follow the idea of the h1 first follows by the other tags after. You can have multiple h1 tags on one page but again you should be looking at ways of creating a clear hierarchy and you should be able to use just one h1 tag no matter what the situation. H6 heading tags are especially useful for headings at the very bottom of your page in things like your footer where you may have small navigation elements. They emphasis the sub section below them but because the heading tag is an h6 tag it clearly defines the information as of smaller relevance than your actual page content above.

Optimise your headings

Headings can form an integral part of your page content if you have a lot of them and so you should be looking at going through and optimising each heading tag within the page. Optimise them in terms of the keywords they target and have a look at are they the optimal length they can be. If you build a page without any sort of planning and you don’t have a good idea about hierarchy don’t be afraid of going back and repositioning your page content and create a better structure. If you see a h3 tag below a h2 tag and you think the hierarchy doesn’t make sense by all means restructure your headings so everything makes sense. Remember a bad heading structure will create a bad flow through your page content and may lead users confused as to how exactly the document should be read through. A bad heading structure can also have a negative impact on your page SEO.

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