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I find it hard to accept that adding H1 tags caused you the problems. It's possible, if they weren't properly used and if it appeared to be a spam tactic. I'm not saying that was your intent, but it's the only reason I could speculate about.
Did you validate your pages after making the changes? Perhaps it's a simple markup problem that can be spotted and corrected with validation.
In short, it seems highly unlikely that an H1 would hurt your ranking.
>>I actually watched my Google SE result go down after adding the <h1> tag...<<
I wish to ask howmany pages have you changed the<h1> ob and whether you did that in one batch. I.e you have added the <h1> tag to several of your pages at the same day.
I´m asking because I´m investigating this matter on the other thread, which you are most welcome to post your reply on too.
Site dropped due to "Gaming Google"
Are you gaming Google without being aware of that?
Are they against ugly peopleNot a chance. I rank #1 for a lot of keywords. And I'm not just ugly, but scary ugly ;)
I thought I had read somewhere that only a single H1 tag should be used on a page, but I can't find that now. Still, it does make sense, at least for my pages. If you validate your pages with the W3C validator, there's an option to view the page outline. The outline is derived from the H tags. It would make little sense to have every tag on my pages H1. I use that for the main header, as is implied by H1. Then I use H2-H6 to generate sub-topic headings. To date I've never run into a situation where H tags caused a problem. However, I bet if changed them all to H1 I might start seeing my pages drop.
Moderation and patience in all things is good. Even web pages.
You can use more than one H1 tag ... because if you have an anchor menu its still semantically correct. Its all relative like everything in Google. HTML is lawless WC3 don’t make the rules they only make recommendations.
its still semantically correctThanks for clarifying that usage.
Ameriman, by now you're sure to be looking at another reason for the decline. One other reason could be: that's how life is in the search world. You may have done nothing at all. And likely enough, in time, you'll see your ranking rise and fall a couple of more times. (I noticed a PR drop on a few pages...oh well, better get busy) One thing is for sure, you now know more about H tags than a lot of people ;)
I still don't know, and would like to know, does your page validate? And does it meet any other measures of usability.. good navigation, content arrangement and layout, is it easy to understand. Your rankings depend as much upon as what a human visitor will see as anything else. What I'm saying is build your pages for your visitors, using all the tools and methods you need. When used correctly they won't (or should not) hurt you.
Can a webmaster add well constructed, optimized H1's to an optimized site that did not previously contain H1's, and see rankings go down?:
You can go overboard. You don't want anything to "look" too optimised.
I have never failed to get top SE spots after following W3C advice. Often the best "optimisation" you can do is simply to design your pages well.
IMO that includes H1 tags (accessibility/mobile devices etc).
I do believe I predicted months ago that H1 would be penalized eventually. Made a test on a Web site and I was right.
I would say, if you use H1 but don't use the rest of the structure where H1 is normally part of, than that would be a red flag for spam.
I would predict there are flaws in your experiment. How do I know this – well its common sense?
Try to do pages as natural as possible. Let 20% of pages have no targeted keywords in H1 - the 80% will rank, while the site won't look like SEO stuff. Use not only the main keyword of the page in H1, but on some pages put secondary keywords there. And be careful with putting keywords in the beginning of H1 everywhere.
Because all these things can be easily detected by algo so it's likely algo is able to catch them.
I have an idea lets just go through every part of legitimate HTML penalize each part one by one so that eventually only unstructured documents will be ranked at all.
Then we will have only the results that amatures can produce and all the professionals will go get real jobs!
Google has seriously had it day as a search engine imo