Of course I can't say for a fact that they get special treatment, my hope would be Google places extra weight on structural HTML vs. presentational.
There does seem to be some anecdotal evidence to support this.
Thanks Slud. I did mean H1 tags. Guess it's true what they about men not being able to multi task!
You have to look at the serps. How many of the top sites use H1? How much weighting does is it give for H1? I'm of the opinion that it isn't very much. Simply because Google's emphasis is on accuracy, and h1 tags are a well known seo trick.
H1 tags in themselves don't lend any kind of credence or relevance to any particular topic. H1 tags don't contribute to relevance.
I'm not sure why a google engineer would say, "Hey, we gotta give these H1 Taggers a lift! These H1 tag web sites are so full of great content!" I can't see that at all.
There's a possibility that they may give it emphasis every once in awhile, like once a year or something, to randomize the algo. Anything's possible, you know. Just my opinion, but it seems logical and reasonable.
martinibuster, there's another way of looking at it. If you and I each have a 500 word page with the word martinibuster in twice, but you have it in your H1, then your page is more likely to be about martinibuster than mine is.
I don't know if Google use H1 elements for scoring but it does make sense to mark a page up according to its structure, IMO.
It seems to me that if your keywords are so relevant to the body copy that they work well as H1 tags (essentially, headlines) then I can certainly see those deserving some extra weight.
I am actually in the process of revising a client site to include H1 tags to improve search engine performance. We're doing other stuff as well, but that is part of the effort.
I haven't done any personal testing to verify this, but some believe that weight is assigned based on relative size.
Therefore H1 text would be weighted more heavily if the rest of the page's text is smaller, but no benefit would be gained from a page where all on page text was H1.
include "title=" in your H tags.
<H1 "title=dog bones">DOG BONES</H1>
Of course the only people who know the answer to this question are the Google engineers :)
Having said that, my guess is that ciml is right, and that document structure is taken into account. Every optimizer knows that the TITLE tag is important, but that does not prevent Google from giving it lots of weight.
|nell suggested: |
include "title=" in your H tags.
<H1 "title=dog bones">DOG BONES</H1>
While W3.org [w3.org] does indeed show that the title element is supported in H1 tags, would you really want the above example to come under the scrutiny of a hand check by a Google rep?
Am I not recognizing some potential benefit to the end user in repeating the exact same phrase in the title element?
I think that many would perceive that as keyword stuffing.
|brotherhood of LAN|
I'd go with ciml's opinion on it.
Something along the lines of a page = "1" and the value of a word is 1/the number of words.
As said, if a <h1> is present, then it's more likely that these words should be emphasised more.
Perhaps if <h1>'s are emphasised more on a page, then something else on the page weighs less IMHO (guess)
Use of H1 and other structural tags:
+ less code (faster page download)
+ easier to maintain (use css for styling)
+ "right" way to do things
+ *possible* benefit to relevance
I'm not suggesting that this is how Google does things, I'm just suggesting reasons why something might be taken into account in a relevance scoring mechanism. (Mohamed_E, I'm sure that people do know these things, but it isn't something that I've measured)
> Perhaps if <h1>'s are emphasised more on a page, then something else on the page weighs less IMHO (guess)
Personally, I'm a fan of that kind of reasoning. PageRank assesses the importance of a document, but it makes more sense to measure the relevance of words within a document relatively.
> I don't know if Google use H1 elements for scoring but it does make sense to mark a page up according to its structure.
I strongly agree with ciml on this one. Page structure is very important. The sequence of elements and the use of proper presentational markup does have its benefits! ;)
Wow! You guys, and girls are a minefield of knowledge! That's what makes this forum so great. Where else on this planet would you find people willing to share what they know?
I will consider everything said in this thread tonight and decide what to do tommorrow. Right now it's getting late and there is a certain young lady who needs bathing. She's 14 weeks old and will make a great SEO one day!
I have somewhat of a feeling that google does use h1's to some extent. I'm wondering if there is possibly a way that google compares the h1 to the title for similar terms with a certain 'golden' ratio of keywords to text.
Of course this is just speculation, but it is my humble opinion that you are looking at just the trees and not the entire forest.
I would say with some certainty(based on my own experience, and what I've read) that G does indeed use h1 tags in the algo.....but a better question i think would be.....
"How does the relevance and structure of the h1 tag effect other variables in the overall equation of the pages served for a given keyword phrase?"
I'm a firm believer that the H1 should be the first element after the <body> tag. I also like to match it to page titles.
|would you really want the above example to come under the scrutiny of a hand check by a Google rep |
Oh, my God no! I would fear being banned forever because I used this for a tool tip over a heading.
[edited by: nell at 8:02 pm (utc) on Nov. 13, 2002]
I've seen many sites use coding such the following:
I'm sure that the fine people over at Google have picked up on the fact we can abuse the system and format H1 tags to look like regular paragraph text. If so, it stands to reason that there would be no added value placed on heading tags of any shape or form.
|a minefield of knowledge! |
Yes, that about sums it up :)
Just because a few may abuse something does not mean it would necessarily be discounted, cost vs benefit. My guess is that an H1,H2 tag has only a small influence over the results, no one is going to rocket to the top by abusing it, so general usefulness more important. Would it help the serps for the majority of pages to give heading tags more weight than p tags? Yes.
I think the main point is being overlooked. If you've read any of the specifcations from the W3C when it comes to using <h> tags, you'll understand that they are an important part in document structure.
This is not solely about Google or ranking higher because you use them. Its about presentational markup and how pages are structured and what works best for both the user and the indexing spiders.
|>>I haven't done any personal testing to verify this, but some believe that weight is assigned based on relative size. |
I doubt that it is relative. In order to do that, they would need to download and parse external style sheets. Otherwise, they wouldn't have any way of determining the relative size of a heading tags for a substantial chunk of their database.
I recently did a review of the top 10 in my pet area. 3 of the sites were low on links, had so-so keyword density, poor keyword proximity, keyword stuffing, invisible text .... most would say not 10 quality.
Two of them used H1 headers at the top of the page and the other used font size=4 to create the same effect as headers.
Maybe I got it wrong but it sure looked as though those factors made a difference.
in order to understand this you HAVE to get away from looking at a web page as purely a visual document...Googlebot has no eyes...it does not see...it doesn't even care about the fact that a web site can be seen...it purely assesses the content of a page
<h1> tags are for the main page header...the header covering the subject of the page...on a well produced page this is the MOST important text anywhere in the body...I am certain that Google weights it accordingly...I'm also prety certain that <h2> tags also add some weight
but there's more to it than feeding the bots...a text to speech browser can be used to skip from heading to heading...so the <h> tags should be used properly to facilitate that...on its own it is sufficient reason
Let me add something to dispel the doubts. I have a site with a page optimized for "widgets". We used Hx tags and H1 was bad placed, covering "blue widgets" instead just "widgets". The page ranked pretty well for "blue widgets" but didn't rank for "widgets". Of course, the sample who showed google started with the "blue widgets" of H1 tag....
Of course it minds.
|Oh, my God no! I would fear being banned forever because I used this for a tool tip over a heading. |
Let me ask again then, based on the example you gave above... what possible benefit to an end user would a tool tip that is identical to the on page header be?
I can understand if perhaps it expanded on the on page text, but if it's identical, how is it anything but keyword stuffing?
You might be crossing into a gray area with titling the <h> tag, although according to the W3C, it is proper document structure...
"For instance, visual browsers frequently display the title as a "tool tip" (a short message that appears when the pointing device pauses over an object). Audio user agents may speak the title information in a similar context.
There are seven main attributes that you can assign to the <h> tag.
7.5.5 Headings: The H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 elements [w3.org]
My goal when designing is to avoid as many inline attributes that I can and move them to an external style sheet. I want html in its simplest form whenever possible.
[edited by: pageoneresults at 6:19 am (utc) on Nov. 14, 2002]
Logical and geared to usability have to count toward deciding sometimes:
|"For instance, visual browsers frequently display the title as a "tool tip" (a short message that appears when the pointing device pauses over an object). Audio user agents may speak the title information in a similar context. |
<title="Dog bows for pit bull puppies"</title>
<h1 title="dog bows">Sweet, Snappy and Sassy</h1>
<img src="mindy_puppies.jpg" height="200" width="150" border="0" alt="pit bull puppies wearing bows">
That H1 wouldn't be too useful for some people without the title attribute, it all looks too logical to be headed for problems.
regarding whats being said about using the title tag in the heading tags, we are trying to make our financial services website DDA compliant and i asked our own WebmasterWorld forum about how to use the title tag inside alt tags and heading tags. They told us that the title tag inside another tag is an attribute and not an element so it was ok to go ahead and use it, as Google would see it as such and not penalise you.
Because screen readers read out the link name or Heading you are not doing anything more than making your website more accessible to those who cannot normally access it.
* dda= Discrimination against Disability Act(uk)
Have also confirmed this with the RNIB.