Are H1 Tags A Google Ranking Factor?

Including relevant keywords in your H1 tags may help your Google search results. But there has been a lot of discussion and confusion regarding how Google views H1 material throughout the years.

Header or Heading Tags: What Are They?

Books, newspapers, and magazines used header text to break up or introduce lengthy blocks of prose before the internet existed. Typically, this section of the copy was made to stand out from the rest of the document by making it bigger, using a different font, or otherwise making it stand out. For instance, a headline in a newspaper is a piece of headline text.

A similar function was served by header tags, or heading tags, after the introduction of websites in the 1990s. It’s possible to adjust the appearance of these tags (capital H followed by a number) on each website. On the other hand, header tags often enlarge, bold, and make it easier to read material that comes before lengthy blocks of copy. They are employed.

What Is an h1 Tag?

Heading elements in HTML are used to prioritize the significance of your page’s headers. H1 tags are the ones that appear first in search engine results, and they let spiders know what kind of information visitors can anticipate seeing on the remainder of the page.

There are several ways to describe a tag in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) used to build web pages. Using HTML tags, a web browser (like Google) may specify how a page’s content should be presented.

From H1 through H6, there are six distinct HTML header elements. They are arranged in decreasing order of significance, with the larger text being the most significant.

To construct an H1 element, just put the heading between two lines of HTML formatting, as seen below:

h1>This is where you put your text /h1>.

The tags h1> and /h1> instruct the search engine that the title begins here and ends here, respectively.

H1 Tags Affect Rankings; According to Many Claim

It’s safe to say that there are a plethora of “best practices” and suggestions for H1 tags according to SEO. They include:

  • Use many H1 tags that are keyword-rich to boost your search engine rankings.
  • If you utilize more than one H1 tag on a website, Google will penalize you. Algorithmically, I suppose.) An official reprimand? A town square covered with 50 pairs of wet noodles?
  • It’s essential to put your core keyword at the beginning of your H1 tag, secondary keywords in your H2 tags, and so on.
  • It is recommended to use only one H1 tag and place it at the top of the page.
  • In the following paragraphs, you can see how this contradicts what Google has informed us about H1 tags. Let’s look at what’s been said on both sides of this argument.

Proof of the Importance of h1 Tags in Search Engine Results

A lot of this chronology will be based on Roger Montti’s study into how Google views and weights H1 tags. Among the many things he learned:


A vital ranking element was the page title, as can be seen in the following line from Sergey Brin and Larry Page’s study The Anatomy of a Large Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine: Web page names may be searched for in simple text match searches when PageRank emphasizes outcomes.


HTML structure has supplanted font size as a ranking mechanism, which was formerly used to determine the value of a word.

Using Google’s patent document, ranking Google patent publications based on semantic distance between words, seo services received the first peek at how the search giant employed HTML markup to help explain its semantic structure algorithm.

In 2010, Bill Slawski researched this patent and came to the following conclusion:

For example, a search engine may parse the HTML structure of a website to find items like the title and headings.” Search engines look for visual forms on a website with semantic significance, such as lists of things linked to a title.


During the golden days of article marketing, H1 tags were generally regarded as a determinant in Google ranking and their optimization as an integral SEO approach. Previously, many received a tiny percentage of the earnings and even ghostwriting contracts for posts on Suite101, WikiHow, HubPages, and other similar sites.

The day was ruled by optimized H1 and H2 tags, keyword density, and generic content. The number of articles was more important to content providers than the quality or value of the information they created since they were used to establish links and drive traffic for income sharing.

These approaches enabled many to rank #1 for subjects and phrases that had no business rankings at all (Mesothelioma, anyone?).

As a result of legitimate publishers raising an uproar, Google Panda was unleashed in 2011. These methods are no longer effective and might harm your website’s search engine rankings.


During the golden days of article marketing, H1 tags were generally regarded as a determinant in Google ranking and their optimization as an integral SEO approach.

Optimization of H1 and H2 tags, keyword density, and cliched content were the order of the day. The number of articles generated was more critical for content providers than the quality or value of the information provided to develop links and drive traffic for income sharing.

Google Panda was created in 2011 when legitimate publishers protested about this. These methods are no longer effective and might really harm your website’s search engine rankings.


In an August 2020 Google Webmaster Central video, Mueller addressed a query concerning H1 tags. He made it plain that he was referring to the importance of titles when he said:

“Our ability to comprehend a page’s information is enhanced by its titles. Aside from page headers, we also take into account the content of a page. Even yet, having a clear heading on the page might help us better understand the content of a certain section.”

In order to assist Google in grasping the content and context of a picture, he stated that titles might be beneficial.


Google’s title tags for a small number of search results were the subject of much discussion in August. On many occasions, the H1 tag’s content was utilized by several digital marketing agency as a new SERP title (SERP).

The Bottom Line

During the early stages of search engine optimization (SEO), text components of a website were strongly weighted in the Google search algorithm. Because of the terms used, where they appeared on the webpage, and the font size, Google deduced the importance of those particular phrases. A web page’s and digital marketing agency’s relevance to a search query is calculated using this method. Google turned to this because it didn’t have much else to do in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

H1 variables were easily exploited as a simple technique to alter ranks, much like many other old-fashioned ranking elements. Over-optimization of the H1s led to their depreciation by the spam team.

H1 tags and other structural HTML components are still helpful to Google today in understanding how a web page’s content looks to consumers. A website’s relevancy and semantic structure may constantly be improved with their assistance. In this way, the algorithm is better equipped to determine whether or not a page is the most excellent fit for a specific search.

Google’s ranking algorithm, according to Mueller, takes headlines into account. Despite this, he doesn’t have much to rely on by himself. Using a large number of H1 tags, filling them with keywords, or hiding an entire page of H1s with CSS will not bring you to the top of the SERPs.

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