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I had visit of a few companies offering a top 10 listing in 5 - 6 weeks.. instead of wasting my hard earned cash i read a few posts regarding the use of h1's etc and my first try i hit number 2 position for my choosen keywords..
After a few months of using google adwords, I now get traffic soley via the listings so dont be tempted to spend when advice if freely available here..
Certainly though, I would advise the use of an H1 element as the main logical heading for a page. It's useful in several contexts, but I think MHes's example shows why the H1 boost may have gone along with META keywords inclusion.
One alternative method for SEs to use, given the afore mentioned abuses, may be to look at the length of text within the tags. Shorter text will tend to be headers, with longer text being paragraphs.
the H1 boost may have gone along with META keywords inclusion
Could there be a length of text component here? i.e. if too long, then boost is removed. I saw one site last update lose a particular ranking and i wonder if it was because the heading was a bit longer than most of my other headings. (It was actually an <h2> for no apparent reason with about 13 words in it - certainly not any spamming attempt).
For reference I have not attempted to do any experimentation on this issue. It is just my current best guess.
Look at your page with styles turned off, and if your page structure makes sense when viewed that way ... just like you learned to make headings in grade school ... you'll be fine.
Is it likely that text size is more important than whether it is in an <H1> tag or not?
That would seem unlikely. If Google gives any extra weight to <h> tags, it's probably doing so for structural reasons--i.e., because an <hi> is likely to be a title or headline, an <h4> is likely to be a subhead, or whatever. Google is scanning the page and looking for heads, subheads, etc. that help it identify what the page is about, just as a person might do. The fact that an <h1> heading is a headline is what counts--not the fact that's a certain type size.
I answered this above - when you view the cache, your browser requests the external stylesheet file and is unaffected by robots.txt rules of any kind.
Why does the cache layout matter, by the way?
Wouldn't protecting your css with robots.txt mess up the cached version of your page on google?
That would seem unlikely. If Google gives any extra weight to <h> tags, it's probably doing so for structural reasons--i.e., because an <hi> is likely to be a title or headline, an <h4> is likely to be a subhead, or whatever. Google is scanning the page and looking for heads, subheads, etc. that help it identify what the page is about, just as a person might do.
I agree that this is the logic behind giving the heading tags more weight.
However, if the following were true:
1. that the algo did give extra weight in the past
2. this has now been spammed to the point that Google no longer feels that giving additional weight is a sound practice
Would Google not look for other ways to determine what the true headings and sub headings are? Could text size, number of words within a tag or a combination of both be used to determine the likelyhood of the text being an "important" part of the page?