Are Multiple H1 Tags Bad for SEO?

Are Multiple H1 Tags Bad for SEO?

Curious if multiple H1 heading tags on your page can hurt your SEO rankings? Check out what Google has to say about that!

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If you’re working on SEO for your website, you’ve likely wondered if it is ok to have multiple H1 header tags on a page.

In fact, if you use multiple H1 headings on your pages, your SEO tools might have even listed them as errors or warnings when doing technical SEO, suggesting that you should fix those pages. 😲

So what’s the deal? Are multiple H1 tags good or bad for SEO?

Well, luckily for us, we don’t have to wonder anymore. 🤷‍♂️ Why? Because an expert webmaster at Google has shed light on the H1 heading situation.

Watch the video below to see and hear the answer directly from Google’s lips! 👄 😊

But first, in case you’re unfamiliar with H1 tags or SEO, let’s quickly cover the basics.

What is an H1 heading for SEO?

When creating HTML for a page, you can use a heading markup tag to turn some text into a header, which generally makes the text bold and bigger, and puts it on its own line.

There are six heading tags you can use:

H1 heading: <h1>H1 Header</h1>
H2 heading: <h2>H2 Header</h2>
H3 heading: <h3>H3 Header</h3>
H4 heading: <h4>H4 Header</h4>
H5 heading: <h5>H5 Header</h5>
H6 heading: <h6>H6 Header</h6>

The most important, biggest, and boldest heading is H1.

You can use H2 to H6 tags to help break down your topics into smaller sub-topics and to create a hierarchy for your page content.

In addition to the obvious visual changes a heading tag can have on your page, these tags also make the user experience better:

They add space and breathing room around your content.
They break up your content into smaller, more easily-digestible sections.
They make your page more accessible for screen readers and similar tools.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization and refers to the process of trying to optimize your webpage so that it has the best chance to show up at the top of search engine results pages so that you can get more traffic to your site.

Thus, when you use a heading tag on your page, you’re basically summarizing your content with a few keywords. These headers help tell search engines what is important on your page.

This leads us to the main question of this article.

Google answers your burning questions about H1 heading tags!

John Mueller, who is a webmaster trends analyst and search expert working at Google, definitively answered common questions about H1 headings back in 2019.

Multiple H1 Headings: How to Handle Them for SEO & Accessibility? #AskGoogleWebmasters

What’s the big takeaway from this video? Well, according to Mr. Mueller:

Our systems don’t have a problem when it comes to multiple H1 headings on a page.

Yay! 😍

Common H1 Header Tag Questions

Let’s dig a little deeper and break down Mr. Mueller’s comments to help answer some common related questions about H1 tags.

Can multiple H1 tags affect your SEO rank?

According to Mr. Mueller, yes, having multiple H1 tags can possibly help improve your SEO rank!

🙋‍♀️ Wait… how can multiple H1 tags help SEO?

Using multiple heading tags can help make it easier for Google to understand and index your page. This is not because you use H1 tags specifically, but rather because the H1 tags can help organize your content.

Mr. Mueller explains:

We use headings to better understand the context of different parts of a page.

As he mentioned earlier, having multiple H1 tags is not a problem.

However, using any type of heading tag or any other markup to help Google understand the context of your page can definitely affect your SEO rankings in a positive way!

According to Mr. Mueller:

Having clear, semantically understandable headings is useful in understanding any given page.

Google needs to understand how your page is structured and what parts of your page are important. This can be achieved by using heading tags or any other type of markup tags that emphasize parts of your page.

In other words, if it makes sense to use multiple H1 tags for your site, then that is fine. Likewise, if it makes sense on your page to use one H1 tag, several H2 tags, and several H3 tags… well, that is also fine!

Here’s what Mr. Mueller says about this:

We have to work with the web as we find it.

Our systems aren’t too picky, and we’ll try to work with the HTML as we find it, be it one H1 heading, multiple H1 headings, or just styled pieces of text without semantic HTML at all.

That’s right… it sounds like using something like bolded text with the <b> tag could be just as effective as using a <h1> tag. But it’s all about helping to make your webpage more understandable, both to Google as well as to your users.

Can header tags help user experience?

Yes, using heading tags can also help the user experience on your page.

Mr. Mueller explains it like this:

In short, SEOs shouldn’t be your primary objective. Instead, think about your users.

If you have ways of making your content accessible to them, be it by using multiple H1 headings or other standard HTML constructs, then that’s not going to get in the way of your SEO efforts.

That’s another way of saying that you should first build your page for your users, and then Google will do its part to figure out how that best translates to search results.

Does that mean that multiple H1 tags are bad for SEO?

According to Mr. Mueller, no, multiple H1 tags are not bad for SEO.

He clearly states that multiple H1 tags do not cause a problem for Google and that structuring your content to make it accessible to your users will NOT get in the way of your SEO efforts.

Translation: Google will not penalize you for using multiple H1 tags.

Excellent! 😎

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it! In summary, it’s clear that:

Having multiple H1 tags does not hurt your SEO! No penalties.
Google doesn’t care which heading tags or markup tags are used, but some type of markup can help Google understand your page better.
We should use heading tags as needed to help the user experience.

If you want to learn more about SEO or about all of the SEO tools available to you, check out our SEO tools page.

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Enjoy! 😊