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Does Google Remove Pages with H1 Tags?
bekyed




msg:202425
 6:32 pm on Nov 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think the algorithm is excluding heading 1 tags as none of the sites in my industry in the top 10 have them.
What are your views on this - and yes all our competitors had h1 tags before plummeting

What do you think?

Bek.

 

lgn1




msg:202426
 11:43 pm on Nov 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

It may be one of the factors that pushes the site over
the edge. I have removed my <Hx tags and is waiting for
tonights freshbot update. The only way is to try it.

Mohamed_E




msg:202427
 12:04 am on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Every single page I have starts with an H1 tag, all are still doing very well.

The Contractor




msg:202428
 12:17 am on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Read www.w3.org/QA/Tips/Use_h1_for_Title

If Google started banning/penalizing sites for using the proper structure of an HTML document than they are in more trouble than we are ;)

Not saying you should abuse it like repeated keywords or wrapping a paragraph in h1's ....

AjiNIMC




msg:202429
 5:54 am on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have followed this sequence,

h1 for keyphrase 1
h1 for keyphrase 2
h2 for keyphrase 1 and keyphrase 2 together

It was doing well but now I donot know where I am, I will become a hermit if google continues florida update.

Anyway I donot think anyone has a clue why some pages are going down in SERPs even though they were in top 10. All are trying to guess optimistically (me too).

Best luck
Aji

coosblues




msg:202430
 6:05 am on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I can only speak of now, not where my site was sitting a few days ago. My site is back in almost its' identical position "on all pages". I might add I use the H1 tag on every page with keywords included, but not just keywords. I make a short sentence around my keywords. My title tag and my H1 tags are similiar, but I again use a much more descriptive text in my title dotted with a keyword here and there. I do follow good HTMl practices, but have moved away from trying to feed Google what I thought it wanted to what "I really wanted". It worked for my web site.

rfgdxm1




msg:202431
 6:06 am on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

>If Google started banning/penalizing sites for using the proper structure of an HTML document than they are in more trouble than we are

Right. My sites using H1 tags are doing fine.

irishaff




msg:202432
 1:14 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I am not penalized for H1 tags. I have also created a test site to see what is happening and put the keywords in h1 ..no bother.

kw1 kw 2 in
title
alt
h1
not in body

number 2 with 0pr and beating a pr4 site for the keywords...

that being said im not in a competitive sector...

lasko




msg:202433
 1:19 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)


Hmmm.....H1

If Google removed pages with H1 tags their would only be a billion pages in the database compared to 3 billion!

H1 tag is just a type of font class nothing much the only thing google would do is either score points to those using it or treat it like any peice of text.

H1 used to be one of the importent aspects of SEO, Google will change each month on how much it reads these tags.

My sites have H1 and are still ranking highly.

So the answer is

No, google does not remove pages using H1.

trillianjedi




msg:202434
 1:28 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

A few of you may remember I ran a test page on this some months back - I actually built it and forgot about it - there's a thread around here somewhere.

I built a page with deliberate over-use of H1 tags (anything more than once on a page is overuse) to see what would happen. Site got booted out of existence by Florida (as predicted).

All other sites with a single H1 on each page are, of course, doing nicely.

So the W3C rulebook is, as always, being adhered to. Being labelled a spammer is now surprisingly easy, and following the rules and protocols and getting plenty of inbound links remains the basis of a good google listing (and staying there). The shortcuts that used to exist are being rapidly closed off.

Hat's off to google for doing that.

TJ

vbjaeger




msg:202435
 1:34 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

It is one of the factors that all of my competition had in common (as well as my site) before we were all dropped. I removed the H1 tags on Saturday to see what would happen and we are not back yet. So I think it is only one of many factors.

europeforvisitors




msg:202436
 1:42 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I use H1 tags for most of the headlines in my articles. Why? Because it makes sense--not just in terms of providing search engines with "spider food" that tells what a page is about, but also because HTML is a structural markup language and it's logical for a headline to be marked as such. I haven't encountered any problems with Google as a result.

I'd guess that, as others have suggested, it's the overuse of H1 tags that has gotten some sites into trouble--especially if they're marking entire paragraphs as H1 and/or using other "grey area" SEO techniques.

It would make a lot of sense for Google to assign "spam scores" to pages or sites, with a point for this, that, or the other thing. If a site had enough points, it might get kicked down a notch in the rankings or have its high-scoring elements devaluad; if the point total was really high, it might get bounced from the index or flagged for a human edit. (Mind you, I'm not saying this is happening, but it would be more "scaleable" than relying on spam reports and random hand checks, and it would be fairer than automatically penalizing a site just because its Webmaster may have done something dumb like loading up a title with 20 keywords or using a dozen h1 tags on a page because he liked the appearance of large type!)

lasko




msg:202437
 1:47 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

we are not back yet. So I think it is only one of many factors.

Changing your site today so soon will not make you suddenly appear.

H1 tags have and always be most commonly used for titles, people who put 5,6,7 or more in a single page that hardly has any text or they have 200 characters in a H1 tag will get a slap from Google.

I will update my site in a months time when their is rock hard evidence to prove what has happened and why.

Bobby




msg:202438
 1:48 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just wondering if the <H1> tags WITH LINKS are getting scrutinized by Google?

After reading the million different posts on the Update Florida thread there are all sorts of theories (keyword density, H1, Title etc.), is there anything we can definately rule in or out?

In my case, the index page got zapped and:

1. Title begins with zapped phrase,
2. H1 begins with and has zapped phrase
3. H1 links to another page
4. 2 H1 tags begin with zapped phrase
5. 1st 2 alt tags begin with zapped phrase
6. Some 50 pages of site begin with zapped phrase

Anybody care to compare what we may have in common that got us zapped?

killroy




msg:202439
 1:52 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

EFV: using H1 more then once IS wrong use according to W3C, and if what TJ says, even accordign to Google now.

The proper structure would be something Like this:

<h1>Widget News</h1>
<h2>Headline 1</h2>
<h2>Headline 2</h2>
<h2>Headline 3</h2>

In fact that might even better be done as a list.

In fact that's something that itnerestes me. The use of headings in lists, like this:

<h1>Top Widgets</h1>
<ul>
<li><h2>Widget A</h2><p>This is a Good Widget</p></li>
<li><h2>Widget B</h2><p>This is a Another Good Widget</p></li>
<li><h2>Widget C</h2><p>This is a Not So Good Widget</p></li>
</ul>

SN

europeforvisitors




msg:202440
 2:04 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry, I didn't make myself clear: When I said "I use H1 tags in most of my articles," I was referring to the main headline on the page--not subheads or sidebar headlines. (I would have used the word "title," but "title" has a different meaning on the Web than it does in print!)

In any case, I find it hard to believe that Google would be foolish enough to ban pages or sites out of hand because Webmasters weren't familiar with W3C conventions and used h1 more than once on a page. I do believe, however, that overuse of H1 tags or blatant misuse of such tags (e.g., using them for entire blocks of sales copy) might result in a penalty or a devaluation of the h1 tags if other questionable techniques had already earned the site a yellow card in Google's eyes.

creative craig




msg:202441
 2:09 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am also pro H1 tag. All of my websites use the H1 tag as the title of the page, with maybe a H2 as a sub header.

ogletree




msg:202442
 2:19 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I wonder if they are just banning sites that use h1 tags using CSS. I could see that. That is obvious scamming of the system. Thre is no reason to call a css tag h1 unless you are trying to scam google.

vbjaeger




msg:202443
 2:29 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

H1 tags have and always be most commonly used for titles, people who put 5,6,7 or more in a single page that hardly has any text or they have 200 characters in a H1 tag will get a slap from Google.

Our H1 tag consists of a single sentence with 10 words describing the product the page is about and it is only used once on the page. I appreciate your input and have always used H1 Tags in the past, I was merely pointing out that for one particular 3 keyword phrase, none of the sites currently listed (that are relevent or not) have them and the ones that got axed did.

Thre is no reason to call a css tag h1 unless you are trying to scam google

What about if you are using a css for the font style only?

[edited by: vbjaeger at 2:56 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]

a_chameleon




msg:202444
 2:32 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Site got booted out of existence by Florida (as predicted).

trillianjedi ;

I feel stupid for asking, but ..
Are you referring to Florida as in the state or an update?

:-?

superscript




msg:202445
 2:45 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Does Brett's Dance Indicator use H1s? The reason I ask, in all seriousness, is that I can't remember the URL, and I simply can't find it on Google anymore.

Could someone provide a search term for it, or sticky me the URL?

kaled




msg:202446
 2:54 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I was using font/bold tags for my page headings but I'm now using H1 tags. However, I have only one line of H1 text at the very top of the page and it is not over-stuffed with keywords.

Having changed to H1 tags, I can report that I saw no change in SERPS whatsoever.

Kaled.

George Abitbol




msg:202447
 2:57 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Could someone provide a search term for it, or sticky me the URL?

Try : brett 12 site:www.webmasterworld.com

I wonder if they are just banning sites that use h1 tags using CSS. I could see that.

They are NOT banning sites that use H1 with CSS. They would be very stupid to do so...

Thre is no reason to call a css tag h1 unless you are trying to scam google

Totally wrong. If you want headlines with a blue font, a size of 16px, a black dotted border and an indent, you will have to use CSS. Is that scamming?

Fred

Hissingsid




msg:202448
 3:03 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a site that has been zapped for a two word phrase but not for an equally important three word phrase.

It has both of these phrases in the title and the two word phrase in a <h1> tag and again in cluded in a short passage in <h2> tags. The rest of the page is loaded for both phrases in first words, link text, urls, alt text etc etc. The page has been at #1 for most of the last two years (with one or two blips) for the two word phrase but is nowhere to be seen now. It is still #1 for the three word phrase.

Post the last disaterous update the pages that are in the top 10 results all do not have <h1> tags or have what I would call improperly formed <h1> tags ie they have style code within the tags.

I have seen a number of theories postulated for this effect but two seem to be front runners.

Hypothesis 1. When a page is spidered if a two word phrase occurs in both the title and <h> tags then it is assessed for phrase stuffing and if above a threshold then it is dropped.

Hypothesis 2. Google is using a lookup dictionary of two word commercial phrases and is dropping sites over optimised for those two word phrases.

The product I sell is widget insurance.

If I search for -fufufuf widget insurance my "overoptimized" page is #1. Does this add weight to the dictionary hypothesis.

I have another site which is equally overoptimized for a "widget club" this site has widget club in title and h1 tags but is now doing better. Again does this add weight to the hypothesis that Google is using some form of phrase list of two word commercially valuable terms and filtering them?

The reason that I say two word search terms is this. Try searching for "search engine optimization" and you will get some of the most heavily overoptimized pages on the planet in the top #10 all of them use "search engine optimization" in title and h tags but have not been dropped from SERPS.

I wish this mist would rise so that we can all decide what to do next.

Best wishes

Sid

superscript




msg:202449
 3:11 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Try searching for "search engine optimization" and you will get some of the most heavily overoptimized pages on the planet in the top #10

Indeed, very interesting - there's also some magnificent keyword stuffing to boot - in some cases very close to the edge!

I wonder how they've got away with it? In some cases, the PR doesn't seem that high either.

Fascinating!

allanp73




msg:202450
 3:25 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think it is several factors coming into play.

1) Is the search phrase a money phrase.
I can give conclusive evidence to prove that the penalty only happens with certain terms. The dictory theory seems to valid. The have many sites only a few still ranked well for major city widget terms. However, the ones that are not affected are only those from small cities. I noticed that doing a double minus search produces the same results for these cities as well. Showing that there is no filter applied.
2) If your phrase is being filtered then it is difficult to appear for that term. This is where having too much optimization can hurt your ranking, actually it will remove your site entirely from the serps. This does not mean some optimization is bad. However, having keywords in title, h1, and with some density in the text is harmful. Another thing which seems to harm is to use a keyword filled link on internal pages linked to the index page.
3) The existance of local filter could be the case. If too many keyword based links are coming from a local set of sites then this might trigger a penalty. I think this is very likely because removing the over-optimization (page factors) didn't remove the penalty from my test sites. The serps seem dominated by sites with little pr and little relevance. So instead wondering why I'm not ranked I look at why they are ranked. I noticed the same things over and over. Anchor text from external sites had keywords. Also their pages would have the keywords but maybe only once or twice as the entire phrase but very often broken up into individual keywords. It was obvious the sites that well ranked weren't targeting the terms at all.

This is possibly the most annoying thing. Sites that are well ranked are those who do not necessarilly want to be well ranked. I count myself in this as well. I have one of sites ranking #1 for a major term (money phrase) that I didn't target and didn't want to rank well for.
Looking at why it ranks well I see that I never mention the entire phrase and I mention the keywords from it several times on the page.

frup




msg:202451
 3:30 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't believe the dictionary theory. It could just be based on the total number of results. If there are 1,000 results the filter doesn't apply, if there are 1,000,000 it does. Something like that.

superscript




msg:202452
 3:34 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Allanp73 -

but surely 'Serach Engine Optimisation' must be in the dictionary. It is a pretty serious money term.

(assuming it hasn't been deliberately omitted to keep the SEOs quiet!)

Admittedly, it is a 3 word term; anecdotally 2 word terms appear to have been hit hardest.

allanp73




msg:202453
 3:58 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

superscript,

I would have thought that "search engine optimization" (when spelled correctly), was on the list. However, I reviewed the sites ranked well for it and they show basic marketing and over-optimization technics. I noticed that the term "search engine ranking" is filtered.

frup,
Actually, I can find examples where terms which produce a low number of results are being filtered. These same terms are money terms.
ex. san diego real estate agents (filtered) 199,000 results
ex.2 san jose homes for sale (filtered) 157,000 results
ex.3 san jose houses (unfiltered) 430,000 results
Number of results doesn't seem to be a factor.

europeforvisitors




msg:202454
 4:00 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hypothesis 1. When a page is spidered if a two word phrase occurs in both the title and <h> tags then it is assessed for phrase stuffing and if above a threshold then it is dropped.

I think that's unlikely, because it's good editorial practice to use titles and headlines that tell what your page is about. If I write an article or even a commercial page about African Photo Safaris, there's a good chance that I'll use "African Photo Safaris" between the title and h1 tages even if I've never heard of SEO. Why? Because that's my topic.

Descriptive title and h1 tags are useful to Google because they provide "spider food" for Googlebot. Granted, they can be abused, but that's where the other 98 or 99 factors in Google's algorithm come in.

Still, maybe I'd better check Google's Webmaster guidelines again just in case it now reads: "Don't be too clear in describing what your pages are about." :-)

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