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Can misuse of <H> lead to loss of PR?

Still in index but no PR

     

Oaf357

4:30 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Okay, I confess I was trying a somewhat questionable tactic to improve rankings (but I was also using it to format text to make it more user friendly via CSS). Also know that this is the only questionable tactic I had on my entire site.

I had a few paragraphs of text on a page using H3 tags as opposed to the traditional P tag. Google picked it up (or someone tipped them off) and my PR (site wide) has been reduced to 0. It was somewhat questionable I admit but it's gone now.

Of course it could be nothing and be because of the glorious uber update.

Just figured I'd let people know to defintely scratch that off the list of SEO options. Also, since the H3 tagging has been eliminated what are my chances of getting my PR back in the next update without e-mailing Google?

mil2k

5:19 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Does <h3> really help when used in place of <p> tags? My understanding was the more text in <h3> the less weight of the words. Will wait for an answer after all the craziness stops.

davewray

6:12 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Using H tags reduces PR? Please explain...

Dreamquick

7:43 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



davewray,

Using H[x] tags spammly has probably resulted in automated spam detection and/or a spam report from a competitor.

Google picked it up (or someone tipped them off) and my PR (site wide) has been reduced to 0.

Either of these could result in the site being penalised and it's PR being reduced.

- Tony

heini

8:00 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I don't know if you have been penalized or not, but putting entire paragraphs in header tags is simply nonsense.
Sorry for sounding harsh, but that is not a SEO tactic, at least not a remotely current one.

Using header tags, as well as <b>, <strong>, is for marking up pieces of text which are of special importance. If every part of your text is important, then no part is important.

I would venture a guess you have not been penalized for that. Either it's update/flux, or I'd be looking into other known issue with Google on your sites.

fathom

8:05 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Agree with Heini here... but having a complete sentence in <H1> is OK... or the attention draw!

If multiple <H> are used <h1> <h2> <h3> -- a complete paragraph at least should be between them.

mipapage

8:14 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Oaf357,

Sounds fishy to me Oaf357, is this a new site? Not too sure, but could that PR have been read from -cw or -sj etc.?

MHes

8:15 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I doubt miss use of H would get you a pr0. IMHO Google would not penalise for this, they would just ignore the text within the tag and move on. In other words, you don't get punished for these type of things, you just fail to get any credit and your pages thus don't rank so well....subtle difference. The pr0 may well be something else, so my guess is the pr0 will remain until you find any other problem.

It would be very interesting to know what happens, keep us posted and good luck. :)

Yidaki

9:58 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



>If multiple <H> are used <h1> <h2> <h3> -- a complete paragraph at least should be between them.

Just a quick note to make it a bit clearer: the actual body text (paragraph) hasn't to be between <hx> tags but it can be structured using <h> tags. I normally structure my pages like:

<h1>Short Main Headline</h1>
<h2>A bit more descriptive Subheadline.</h2>

<h3>Subheadline Paragraph 1</h3>
<p>Paragraph 1 body text. Paragraph 1 body text. Paragraph 1 body text. Paragraph 1 body text. Paragraph 1 body text. Paragraph 1 body text. Paragraph 1 body text. Paragraph 1 body text. Paragraph 1 body text.</p>

<h3>Subheadline Paragraph 2</h3>
<p>Paragraph 2 body text. Paragraph 2 body text. Paragraph 2 body text. Paragraph 2 body text. Paragraph 2 body text. Paragraph 2 body text. Paragraph 2 body text. Paragraph 2 body text. Paragraph 2 body text.</p>

...

mayor

9:58 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Google is on a witch hunt for hidden, or almost hidden, text and links. Are you sure you're not stepping over the line there somehow?

Maybe Google has decided using CSS to hide boldness is akin to trying to hide text and links.

Using CSS to reduce the impact of H1 fonts is something I must be missing. Why not just let your H1 fonts be big and bold and design your page as such? It makes sense to shout about the main subject of your page, so just go ahead and shout it out.

tigger

10:01 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tigger is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



>Why not just let your H1 fonts be big and bold and design your page as such?

because they look big & ugly and can spoil the look of a nice designed site

mipapage

11:00 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Google is on a witch hunt for hidden, or almost hidden, text and links. Are you sure you're not stepping over the line there somehow?

Well, they are planning a witch hunt. I have seen no evidence to suggest that the hunters have left the lodge...

heini

11:04 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



That's a different topic. This is not about hidden text, let alone hidden links.

It's about putting entire paras in header tags. I seriously doubt you get penalized for that. I also seriously doubt your Google rankings profit from that, as searching for entire paras is not something a user does :)

jady

11:18 am on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I wrote a message in another forum, but I have a funny huntch that Googles new algo is going to be protecting the well designed, well layed out, good content sites from these people that put up a "page" that entails NO design - is just a bunch of HUGE text - UGG!

I think this new algo is going to allow the more professional, well designed sites have just as much rank (or more) as the CRAZY SEO'ed sites that dominate the first few pages of 60% of search results.

Oaf357

5:14 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I'm going to compile everything into one uber post here, read the whole thing because it sheds more light on the topic:

I wrote a message in another forum, but I have a funny huntch that Googles new algo is going to be protecting the well designed, well layed out, good content sites from these people that put up a "page" that entails NO design - is just a bunch of HUGE text - UGG!

The CSS for the H3 tag itself made it look like a 10 or 11 pixel font. It wasn't huge text, it was actually smaller than 100% font size. I did this to A) see if it actually hurt or help and B) to keep the page to one screen.

It's about putting entire paras in header tags. I seriously doubt you get penalized for that. I also seriously doubt your Google rankings profit from that, as searching for entire paras is not something a user does :)

Well, this is the only spam tactic I have site wide. All of my description and keyword (where used) tags are quite conservative. I have no hidden text, hidden links or 1x1 pixels anywhere on my site.

My rankings didn't change (number 2 for main keyword) but the PR did, further proving that PR isn't everything.

Using CSS to reduce the impact of H1 fonts is something I must be missing. Why not just let your H1 fonts be big and bold and design your page as such? It makes sense to shout about the main subject of your page, so just go ahead and shout it out.

I am using CSS to specify font-family, font-weight (normal), margins and font-size for H1 and H2 (H3 is now gone). I hate the huge breaks when using header tags and the font sizes don't look quite right so they're tweaked a tad (H1 is 230% and H2 is 150%). The CSS file itself is disallowed in my robots.txt file. I doubt that would have anything to do with it but there has been talk about it. Any ideas there?

Sounds fishy to me Oaf357, is this a new site? Not too sure, but could that PR have been read from -cw or -sj etc.?

Site has been in Google index since March. No idea where the PR results are coming from.

I doubt miss use of H would get you a pr0. IMHO Google would not penalise for this, they would just ignore the text within the tag and move on. In other words, you don't get punished for these type of things, you just fail to get any credit and your pages thus don't rank so well....subtle difference. The pr0 may well be something else, so my guess is the pr0 will remain until you find any other problem.

A header tag word limit maybe? But why would you ignore text of a page and not penalize it? As far as I know there are no other problems.

Also, the PR is back to normal now. The page in question was spidered by freshbot before I made the changes from H3 to P tags.

It obviously was a Google anomoly but I'm going to leave the H3 tags out for now and see if that helps with anything.

deanril

5:23 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have had <H1> through <H6> tages for over a month.

I use dreamweaver mx it has all that. I use my <H1-6> for heading then followed by <p> with a paragraph in them. I suppose this is how you are suppose to use them.

Any one see anything wrong with that?

I have seen other sites use <H1> for the first heading then they use <H2> for all other headings to me this seems wrong, and my <h1-H6> seems correct.

I have same Pr rating, and everything..... Not been booted.

tedster

5:40 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



The H1 tag is [supposed to be] the heading or topic of the entire page. I've seen several mentions on the W3C that having more than one <H1> is considered an error. Although it's not invalid code, strictly speaking, it is a poorly structured document.

The W3C is creating an accessibility checker -- multiple H1 tags are one of the errors that it will flag, along with skipping from <Hn> to <Hn+2>, instead of following <Hn> with <Hn+1>

vincevincevince

6:52 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I always understood that the use of H tags was:

<H1>Main header
Intro
<H2>Subheading
Text about that subheading
<H3>Subsubheading
Blah blah
<H4>subsubsubheading
Blahblah
<H4>subsubsubheading
Whatever
<H3>Subsubheading
Blah blah
<H4>subsubsubheading
Blahblah
<H2>Subheading
etc...

In a proper tree-like structure, like many well written documents.

<added>That should have been a tree, but it's stripping leading NBSP and spaces</added>

mipapage

7:19 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Site has been in Google index since March. No idea where the PR results are coming from.

Can you be specific here - in the Google Directory, or just present in the serps?

I have a site that made it into the Serps in March, and has shown some PR at times and at others no PR...

I think that is your answer. I reallly doubt that they have a heading tag filter on:

<biased opinion - with all due respect 'cause I know things are changing>
judging by the *rap in the serps right now, that wouldn't be my first priority.
</ biased opinion>

Oaf357

9:33 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Can you be specific here - in the Google Directory, or just present in the serps?

Been in the SERPS.

pageoneresults

9:52 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I would suggest that you unblock the spidering of your /css/ directory from the robots.txt file. I'm only making an educated guess here, but I think disallowing the /css/ directory may now have consequences. I have no real world experience to back this up and don't want to be the one to test it! ;)

Stuffing paragraphs into <h> tags is amateur SEO in its worst form. Heck, I've seen entire pages stuffed into <h> tags.

If you follow proper document structure, logical organization, you can't go wrong. If you are designing your pages and worrying too much about how many <h> tags you have, then you have too many. I typically use one at the very top of the page (right behind the <body> tag) and then I might use another somewhere else on the page if layout dictates it. If not, then there is just one <h> tag and it usually mirrors the page title element (<title></title>).

mipapage

9:56 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Been in the SERPS.

Well, I think that's your answer.



We've got pages on our main site that normally hold a pr=5. With the drop in backlinx and recent GoogleHoolagonism they've gone white on me a few times - this is a fairly new site, got into the serps in December, Directory in January, top o' the pile ever since ;)


If you follow proper document structure, logical organization, you can't go wrong.

Fwiw, we went with a validated css/xhtml design. We do websites. V1 of our site was beating out web-site-positioning companies for searches for, like, well, website positioning. I wasn't even paying attention to optimising for V1, and I think that the valid code got us there...

Oaf357

10:24 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I would suggest that you unblock the spidering of your /css/ directory from the robots.txt file.

There is a lot of other crap in that same directory. I'd hate to have to unblock it and let spiders run rampant where they don't really need to be. Can I block the directory but allow access to just the CSS?

Go60Guy

10:26 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Gosh, correct me if I'm wrong. I thought controlling the font size of <Hx> tags with CSS was an old tried and true technique that was well beyond any question of impropriety on Google or any other SE. You just use the tags for paragraph headings, etc., not entire paragraphs.

Has there been some change in this that I've missed hearing about somewhere along the line? If so, I've got a huge new project on my hands to rework what I've put in place over the years throughout an awful lot of sites.

pageoneresults

10:36 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Can I block the directory but allow access to just the CSS?

Either remove all the other junk in the /css/ directory or find a new home for your css file. It is going to be much easier that way.

pageoneresults

10:39 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Gosh, correct me if I'm wrong. I thought controlling the font size of <Hx> tags with CSS was an old tried and true technique that was well beyond any question of impropriety on Google or any other SE.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with styling your <h> tags or any other tags for that matter with css. There appears to be too much misinformation flying about concerning <h> tags and many think that just applying css to them causes problems. I'm here to tell you that is absolutely untrue.

Now, if you are doing something funny with your css and making your <h> tags 1px, then you may be walking a tight rope. All it takes is for someone to report the abuse and you may incur the wrath.

pageoneresults

10:43 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Here is all the information you'll need to know about <h> tags...

7.5.5 Headings: The H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 elements [w3.org]

Go60Guy

10:54 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Thanks Pageone. I didn't think there had been anything to change that. And, Its always worked well for me.

bird

11:01 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



As is explained in one of the Google whitepapers, the text within <h#> tags is given some specific weight, which is then adjusted relative to the average weight of all the text on the page. This means that if you put all your text in <h3>s, then those won't have any effect at all.

There's no point for Google to penalize a sites PR for a tactic that doesn't work anyway. I'd keep looking for other reasons why it ranks so low.

Oaf357

11:31 pm on May 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



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