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Check your headings hierarchy

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What should you do? Check your headings hierarchy!

Role: Editor
Impact: Low
Difficulty: Low

Stuffing keywords into your web content headings used to be SEO best practice. But that hasn’t been the case for over 10 years now. Google admits Headings do play an important role in ranking websites, but only in regards to understanding the content as a whole. So using Headings in a logical way is very important.  

Organise your headings for visitors and search engines

Using headings in your website content is a logical way to add structure and support readers (and search engines) understand what you’re writing about. Headings break up large walls of text and also help users who like to scan a page before committing to reading it all.  

In HTML there are six levels of Headings and are labelled H1 – H6. It’s common for the lower numbers to be a larger font style than the higher numbers, but this can be changed using CSS. But how to use them?

H1 – There should be only one of these, and it should be the page title   

H2 – A good way to title the sections of your content

H3 – Used in the breakdown of your H2 sections

H4 – H6 are for nesting content inside your H2-3 sections

Heading Hierarchy is simply the process of using headings consistently and not leaping about between styles.

For example: Do this:

<h1>Heading level 1</h1>

<h2>Heading level 2</h2>

<h3>Heading level 3</h3>

<h3>Heading level 3</h3>

<h2>Heading level 2</h2>

Don’t do this:

<h1>Heading level 1</h1>

<h5>Heading level 5</h5>

<h4>Heading level 4</h4>

<h2>Heading level 2</h2>

Let’s just reinforce those points again:

  • Putting keywords in headings will not necessarily make you rank better.
  • Headings are useful for communicating what the content is about.

How to: Check your headings hierarchy

There are a few ways to check your heading hierarchy. If you’re using a Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress you can look at the page editor and see which headings you are using. Here’s an example from our Curated Content blog post

If you’re comfortable with HTML you’re probably aware you can peek inside the development tools of your web browser and search for headings there. 

Also the ‘SEO review tools’ website have a good free tool you can use. Which makes identifying the number of Headings you are using and the order they appear.

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