H1, H2, H3, What is the Difference and Why Use Them

Last Update: August 08, 2018

Header tags at the <H1>, <H2>, <H3>, <H4>, <H5>, <H6> HTML tags found in your WordPress, Visual edit window.

Though I could find no proven “rule” for using the H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 header tags... for years now, HTML experts have advised us to only ever use EACH header tag ONCE on web page (or post).

As you can well imagine, the H1 tag is THE most important tag.

Your post gains SEO (Search Engine Optimization) benefit from having proper H tags at the beginning of the body of your content, as they are used to help Google’s scripts to understand the structure of the text on your page better.

Most (if not all) WordPress themes have the post and page titles already styled as H1 tags. This way, all users need to concern themselves with are the H2 tag, down to the H6 tag. These should be used to define the hierarchy of your information by showing the order of importance.

In 2015, Google Switzerland John Mueller claims that Google does give a page a slight boost if a clear heading is seen on a web page. And he continues explaining that this is because Google can understand “this page is clearly about this topic”.

When asked, how many H1 tags should be used on a web page Mueller replied, “as many as you want.”

For me, I shall limit the use of the H tags to using each one only once per web page, as Google is notorious for changing the rules all too often.

EXAMPLE: Back when HTML only was the only method for creating web pages, many webmasters used one web page when providing their information. This too may have been the expense of a website back then. Anyway, users were forced to scroll and scroll and scroll for their information. I honestly do not remember anyone complaining.

However, when Google came on the scene and dominated search engines, they penalized all websites who forced their users to scroll by ranking them lower and lower. The rule then became the shorter the content was, the higher a website got ranked.

TODAY: Short content may not rank anywhere nearly as well as long content. Being all inclusive and all on one page is now the best way for a better Google ranking.

MORAL: It is always best to write for your audience, keeping SEO rules in mind... but NOT focusing your website content to only please Google.

PS: https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/triblu/blog/why-do-click-on-...

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theoakpe Premium
Thanks for the piece it make great sense
Triblu Premium
Thanks Theophilus !
bpais1 Premium
I quit worrying about Google's "at the moment" desires - since they change so often.

For me, H1 and H2 are a little bit too large for my content. I stick with H3 headers to separate ideas and H5 subheaders to differentiate items within those ideas.

I just write - and use headers - to give the reader a feeling of what to expect in the next paragraph or two.

As I change ideas - I use a new header for each new section.

It's my style. And, I'm stickin' to it!

Triblu Premium
Me too Jim,

And from what to Google fella was saying... as long as the post title has an H1 tag, all is fine. Given that most (if not all) WordPress themes come with titles styled as H1 tags, we really don't even need to concern ourselves with the H tags at all if we don't want to.

LOL, I'm with you on that!
"It's my style. And, I'm stickin' to it!"
marycmiller Premium
I struggle sometimes with which header tag to use, but I like your advice to write for your audience. Thanks
Triblu Premium
Thanks Mary, glad you enjoyed this post.
JerryMcCoy Premium
Always write for your audience.
Triblu Premium
Right ON Jerry!
rubanzema Premium
Thank you for sharing.
Triblu Premium
You're very welcome Emmanuel!