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SEO - <h1>
Tag Formatting Misuse

 3:04 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi all - I've been noticing a lot of high ranking pages using <h1> tags around paragraphs and headers dense with keywords - then using CSS to make the text look normal... I.E. cancelling the <h1> effect visually...

It's known that <h1><h2> tags give kudos points (this still true yes?) - but this way of using them seems highly unethical to me...

Is this actually considered "wrong" / SPAM and are sites caught doing this demoted? Is there a "correct way" to use <h1> tags with CSS and not be unethical?



 5:10 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Use this tool [validator.w3.org ] to check the outline of the document. Enter the URL of the page you want to check, and tick the Box for "Show Outline".

In the Results screen scroll past the list of errors (if there is one) and look at the section headed "Outline". The outline is built from the heading tags found on the page and presented as an indented bullet-point list.

If the outline does not look like a summary of your document then you are abusing the heading tag.

Whole paragraphs marked up as headings are pure spam. I would hope that the Google algorithm would penalise any heading more than 10 to 15 words long, or if more than 5 to 10% of a document was marked up as headings (those numbers off the top of my head).


 12:29 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ok - thanks, that makes sense - and yes, I've seen 10-15 word paragraphs used with this sort of thing...


 12:56 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Following on from the first question you asked..

I myself have never used the <h1> tag for any of my sites, all of which rate very highly for my product above other sites that do use this tag...

Is it still a VERY valid tag... (or like Meta Keywords has its value decreased)



 1:25 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

A "proper" structured document will consist of headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, and forms, and use an external stylesheet to style them.

You might boost your site some more if you were to conform to that.


 2:18 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes - I've never really used <h1> tags before as well - though noticed that some of my pages that were #1-#4 due to loads of useful relevant links / text / popularity were superceeded by a site with _very_ little text + 1 or 2 links and CSS'd <h1> tags...

I mean these "new" competitor pages appear to be purpose built JUST for AdSense revenue etc... and they jump ranked us - and the only reason / difference I could see for this was the <h1> tag - inbound popularity links were less - title tags were same as ours etc...


 7:44 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'll have a go with <h1> tags and see what happens.. I'll keep you posted on the results


 1:10 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

You only need one <h1> tag on the page, and it will be at or near the top.

Sub-headings should be done with <h2>.

Sub-sub-headings are <h3> and so on.

Each heading sits above, and introduces, the next paragraph or two of content.

That's the whole point of headings.


 2:04 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Used them on my Category page, Sub Caetgory Page and Product Pages.. One Header and One Sub Header.

Just awaiting Google to reindex


 2:15 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am going ahead and using 1 <h1> header on a few sites - will also post back here what happens...


 12:09 am on Feb 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

In my experience, H1 tags continue to work. But I also use them as they're intended to be used (not around a paragraph and styled to look like plain test). Do they trump everything else? No, but they can give you that extra little nudge to move you up one or two positions.

Since it makes sense from a document structure point of view and you can re-style it (reasonably) to fit your layout with CSS I generally don't see any reason not to use an H1 tag.


 3:09 am on Feb 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yep - for sure it works - went up 2 notches after 48 hours... though this _may_ be temporary - hope it holds... didn't think Google would respond that quickly - but they do spider my site 2-3 times / month :)

Would conclude if used as it should <h1> tags do make sense to use...

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