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DIY Canadian SEO-Chapter 4

May 17, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: SEO 

I guess that most of us know how to read and no, this is my lead to the whole  world of <H1> & SEO rankings, regardless of how dumb that sounds…after all, you’re reading this, eh?

What that means for us SEO practitioners, is that if you read, then you should  surely understand both the usage and importance of using an <H1> tag, and simply put, it’s used as a header for a few following paragraphs and it explains what’s to follow as succinctly and as honestly as is possible.

Huh? Yes, I know, what’m I talking about? To understand how to use an <H1> tag, perhaps you need to understand where it came from and why it was even created. And this short blog article does not have the space to teach the history of the HTML development, but here’s the short story. Invented by Tim Berners-Lee, it is the language that he developed along with others to create HTML  as a method to allow researchers (read academics I think) to share information. Hence HTML is to be used to explain stuff like research, hypotheses, papers…ie all things academic.

Of course, it’s morphed quickly into selling diapers and sharing music, but the origins are important in that the language of the web, the most basic of it’s building blocks, was created to be able to explain something….and that for us is the key to understanding much of the Google algo, eh!

Think about it. ie  follow me here. If HTML was created to be used to explain a topic, and if it was created to be used by academics, and if the Google founders allowed for some of that ‘rationale’ to be included in their own 200+ faceted algo items, then it stands to reason that an <H1> tag should be used to be the heading used to explain the following topic. Want to move away from that topic to another? Use another <H1> tag, in fact, use them like any academic would use them…simply to be the head of a new section of text.

And that’s what we think, and that’s the premise that we’ve been following now for over 6 years. But of course, that’s not the whole of our usage nor I suspect, for many other SEO practitioners either. What do I mean by that?

 What wiki has to say about the <H1> tag is as follows –

“Section headings at different levels. <h1> delimits the highest-level heading, <h2> the next level down (sub-section), <h3> for a level below that, and so on to <h6>. Most visual browsers show headings as large bold text by default, though this can be overridden with CSS. Heading elements are not intended merely for creating large or bold text — they describe the document’s structure and organization. Some programs use them to generate outlines and tables of contents…”

And from what I’ve seen over the years, the Google algo totally ignores any kind of “value rating” for HTML markups; all one has to do is to look at the hundreds of sites I see weekly to notice that Google could care less how you structure your HTML nor if the site validates….none of that is counted as relevant by Google. They just don’t care, eh!

So if Google pays no attention at all to HTML markup, why would they pay attention to an <H1> heading tag, or an <H2> etc?

Ahhh…there’s the rub in our mind! The usage of an <H1> tag MUST be used in our mind, as a ‘backup’ item for the Google algo — that is, it’s not important enough our own client serps show us, to matter on it’s own. Rather, it is being looked at in relation to the text that follows the <H1> tag. It must somehow (yes, I do wish I knew exactly too, eh!) outline, in a relevant manner, the topic that follows AND — most importantly, it can NOT be used in a ‘rubber-stamp’ mentality.

That means that you can’t dump like 15 <H1> tags on one page, unless, like in an academic paper, that page runs from Sudbury to Thunder Bay (ie it’s a long long one!) Using an <H1> outside of ivy tower usage in our mind, means that Google will disregard your header tags completely and discount same page after page…which is a total waste of time and effort. Instead, try to add your <H1> tags like your old college sociology professor would add them to his dissertation….always always relevant and always always explanatory!

So, use <H1> tags, and if needed then Google for “<H1> CSS” to learn what many of us already know that you can easily change the look/feel of your header tags to match your nicely formatted and spendidly fonted site!

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One Response to “DIY Canadian SEO-Chapter 4”
  1. Excellent summary of what the H1 tag is all about. Thanks!