What are H1 Tags?

15th May

One of the things we are constantly emphasising to our clients is the importance of  ‘H1 Tags’ to the search engine optimisation (SEO) of their websites. This makes sense once you understand what an ‘H1 tag’ is and what it does within your website.

“So, what is an ‘H1 Tag’?” – I hear you ask!

‘H1’ stands for ‘Heading 1’ – simply put this is the main heading of the page.
All web pages are structured with a hierarchy that search engines read through in order to draw the correct information and link their users accordingly. By making something an ‘H1’ you are telling search engines that this piece of text, or heading, is the most important part of the text and to read it first.

It is important to note that H1 isn’t the only heading tag available. Headings within HTML go from H1 – H6 and the lower the number the higher the rank. So if I had a sub heading within my page I could use an ‘H2 Tag’ or ‘H3 Tag’ to show that it is still more important than the other text content, but not as important as the ‘H1’.


Here you can see the homepage of the Guardian’s website. Newspapers and their websites are good examples of how headings are used to define how important information is, as they categorise everything of varying importance by size and colour.

The Guardian will want to rank highly on the search engines for this story so have put the heading within an H1 Tag. In the code view this looks like:

<H1>Six ex-NoW journalists held over phone hacking</H1>

Because it is laid out in this way if you had searched for “journalists phone hacking” on the day that this story was at the top then it is highly likely that one of the top search results would have been the Guardians website.

What should I include in an H1 Tag?

Deciding what to put within these tags is very important as it will help direct search engines to your website when people search for certain words and phrases.

At Redback we recommend that within an H1 Tag you consider the following:

1: The Page Name – This may come as a surprise, but having ‘About us’ at the top of the ‘about’ page isn’t the best you can do for SEO. It’s best to try and get a few keywords that people will be searching for in the H1. So for an about page for an estate agents in Stockholm it would be best to have an H1 like ‘Competitive House Prices in Stockholm’ as the H1 and let the rest of the text tell the user about the company.

2: The company name – This also varies in importance when it comes to H1 Tags. The chances are that you will be found for your company name anyway when searched for, but the things that you really want to be found for are the services you provide. By including these in the H1 you are making yourself much more searchable for the topics that will drive your business forward. So if the H1 was ‘Competitive House Prices in Stockholm’ you will rank much higher in the results if someone searches for “Stockholm House Prices”.

3:The country or place – If you were based in the Marieberg area of Stockholm then its sometimes a good idea to have your H1 reflect that. This is good for driving in local business and helping you to compete in the search rankings with your local competitors. In this case having an H1 like ‘Competitive House Prices in Marieberg’ or ‘Competitive House Prices in Stockholm’ will mean that you will rank much higher for those searching for things such as “Marieberg House Prices”.

Of course there is much more to effective search engine optimisation (SEO) than the ‘H1 Tag’ alone, but this is definitely a great start when it comes to making your business stand out in the search results.