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Two H1 tags on One Page - Effect in Google SERP

   
12:52 am on Oct 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I know that many people have said that Google pays a lot of attention to the H1 tag. It carries weight in the SERP.

I wanted to ask if it is ok to have two H1 tags on the same page.

E.g. <H1>Build Red Widgets With Machines</H1>
<H1>The Best Way to Create Widgets</H1>

Maybe it can be as the above or maybe the second one can specified to be a little smaller in font size than the first H1 tag but there are still two.

I wanted to ask what your guys experience has been with this? How does Google view this? Sometimes, I feel that it may take more than one phrase to say what a page is about.

7:16 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



A header tag is nothing else than a headline. So keep it short! My personal recommendation is max. 45 characters including spaces.

You should have a clearly defined one <H1> header tag on each page saying to the reader, and to the search engines, "This is the primary subject of this page". Chose the primary search phrase of each page you are targeting.

It is important the keyword is present in the very first heading tag on the page regardless of its type. If the keyword is also used as a first word, you will raise its prominence.

There are standard rules for the structure of HTML pages. They are written in a document-like fashion. In a document, you start with the title, then a major heading that usually describes the main purpose of the section. Subheadings highlight the key points of each subsection. Many search engines rank the words found in headings higher than the words found in the text of the document. Some search engines incorporate keywords by looking at all the heading tags on a page.

And don't try to stuff to stuff your heading tag with many or irrelevant to the page content keywords.

Having multiple <h1> tags may now actually be subject to a penalty by the search engines, and is seen in the same light as "keyword stuffing".

You can certainly have multiple headlines appearing on a page, like <h2>,<h3>, e.t.c., for instance for sub-sections. But make sure that they are following a hierarchical order.

To be specific, the <h1> should be the first heading tag, followed by the <h2>, then the <h3>, and so on.

All that said, wWhat Matt Cutts is saying, has nothing to do with professional web site development.

7:28 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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



Having multiple <h1> tags may now actually be subject to a penalty by the search engines, and is seen in the same light as "keyword stuffing".

I wouldn't be too quick to state that as fact. I don't think that is the case. If the page is structured logically in sections and each section has its own <h1>, it is valid and best practice if you are following HTML 5 Specifications. I've been reading all that I can on this since that video was launched and Matt has it right. If you look at a page as "sections", each with its own <h1> and subsequent <h> elements, everything changes. ;)

8:51 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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



...if you are following HTML 5 Specifications....

There was a presentation about HTML 5 at PubCon in Las Vegas, and a lot of us were scratching our heads about the multiple <h1> elements.

In part, the traditionally simple relationship with the title element gets changed, and that perhaps changes the concept of the page as the basic unit of optimization.

9:00 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I think the treatment of multiple <h1>'s will have more to do with HTML 2.0 than it does with HTML 5 for a long time to come. Too many inexperienced webmasters (and some legacy page layout programs) have used <h>ead tags solely to control font size for too many years for it to be an automatic penalty.
9:22 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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



In part, the traditionally simple relationship with the title element gets changed, and that perhaps changes the concept of the page as the basic unit of optimization.

Not if you think of the <title> as being the <h0>. And then all <h1>s are of course a cascade of the <h0> and allow the page to be further refined. Instead of one section preceded by an <h1>, now you have multiple sections all preceded by <h1>, each being treated as their own block of content under the <h0>. That should make things confusing, huh? I'll help! ;)

3:34 am on Mar 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



And how about the screenreader users?
4:29 am on Mar 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

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



I'd say the HTML 5 experience is more efficient for Screen Readers. They've really taken the concept of document structure to a new level from a semantic standpoint. I surely am not qualified to discuss HTML 5 in any great depth but what I've read so far looks very promising. It will change the way many think about structure. And, it is going to put a lot of "surface" SEOs out of business. If they don't understand HTML 4 inside and out, they will not get HTML 5 which adds another level of complexity/simplicity in the mix. ;)

There was a presentation about HTML 5 at PubCon in Las Vegas, and a lot of us were scratching our heads about the multiple <h1> elements.

I would've scratched me head too had I not been familiar with <section></section> in the HTML 5 Spec.

HTML 5 W3C Working Draft - 4.4.10 Headings and sections
[w3.org...]

The first element of heading content in an element of sectioning content represents the header for that section. Subsequent headers of equal or higher rank start new (implied) sections, headers of lower rank start implied subsections that are part of the previous one. In both cases, the element represents the header of the implied section.
8:44 am on Mar 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi I have a question on using the <h> tags order

"h1 - h2 - h3 and so on", is the order of <h> tags, if I use

"h1 - h3 - h4 - h2" will their be any problem

9:23 am on Mar 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



In part, the traditionally simple relationship with the title element gets changed, and that perhaps changes the concept of the page as the basic unit of optimization.

Not if you think of the <title> as being the <h0>. And then all <h1>s are of course a cascade of the <h0> and allow the page to be further refined. Instead of one section preceded by an <h1>, now you have multiple sections all preceded by <h1>, each being treated as their own block of content under the <h0>

Good insight. Could I infer from that observation that titles are going to become super-important from a site-structural (are dare I say SEO?) POV?
Some more questions spring to mind:
Will G 'interpret' the page differently depending on doctype?
What about those poor souls who miss the doctype?
Will 4.01 Transitional be marked down (not to say penalised) for multi-H1s where 5.0 will gain a benefit?

@raj1094
Think of Hx scheme as nested elements, where the "closing" of a nested element is automically implied by the opening of higher element.

H1-H3-H4-H2 is a bit nonsensical as there is no H2 in the first set.

OTOH, this would be fine (if a bit long and probably unfocussed):
H1-H2-H3-H3-H2-H3-H4-H2-H3-H4

10:53 pm on Mar 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

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



"h1 - h3 - h4 - h2" will their be any problem

No Google problem, but clearly there is a hierarchy misfit of some kind. Are you thinking of the H tags according to how they look on screen?

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