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For me the watch word is naturalness. Do what is good HTML, good text for your users and what naturally helps search engines know what you are about. It's the same thing that our visitors want to know.
joined:Apr 13, 2002
My answer is, "I can't remember."
Anybody else have an opinion on the actual real-world efficacy of h1 tags?
joined:Oct 27, 2001
I think page titles are a lot more important, but it's still hard to predict what Google will decide is important. I have a photo gallery with scores of pictures from a cruise ship, and the page that comes up #1 in a search on "(Cruise ship name) photos" isn't the gallery's main page--it's a page about the ship's launderette.
<h1><h2>,etc are for structure, and therefore important.
Are you worried about the title, or about what's in between the <Hn> tag? <h1> is supposed to be inside the <body> tag, that's not showing body text at all..So I'm assuming there are some <p>'s after the </h1>
Somehow, some of us have the idea that the bigger the <Hx> tag, the more important it is to a SE. That might have been the case back in the '90's, but we've grown up...This stuff should be used for structure. If you're using an <h1> tag and you think you're spamming, you need to go back and read w3.org again. On the other hand, I might agree with a notion that using <h1></h1> multiple times on a page might look really funny, since the structure shouldn't look like that anyway...implying that you're trying something slightly naughty.
I guess you have to kind of think as a SE might: If there's an <h1> tag, that should add some importance, but if you do it over and over on the page..well, you get the idea.
I've always preferred to use <h2> with Arial font because the font size is naturally smaller than Verdana, but was recently corrected by a member saying that using <h1> is the correct way according to current HTML specifications.
It's also acceptable to use CSS for size and formatting, according to specifications, as long as the tags and font sizes are used hierarchically and in proper proportion relative to each other and to the regular page text.
The title attribute gives a descriptive mouseover, and I'd guess it's a great help with usability if done correctly. For those using voice recognition for browsing, title=ladies green widget catalog is a lot more descriptive than "Products" appearing in just a text link with no title attribute.
W3C specs and usability can't be that far off, and some sites try for Bobby compliance, which is even tougher.
[edited by: Marcia at 12:01 pm (utc) on Nov. 7, 2002]
as long as the tags and font sizes are used hierarchically
I disagree about hierachical font sizes, I often have my h2's bigger than my h1.
Reason? My h1 is bang at the top of the page on the right of the logo so it's clearly the 'page title', the h2 is in the body content is generally more specific and needs to be stand out...
Still, as of yet, there is no defined problem with either approach ;)
The title attribute, when properly used, is good SEO and good for usability.
I have no idea why you'd want to add a "title" attribute to an H1 tag, though!