The Importance of HTML tags: Title Tag and Heading Tags

A great website has three things: HTML tags, including a title tag and heading tags (ex. h1 tag), a sleek design, and relevant content packed with keywords.

Any great SEO professional will tell you that relevant, unique content is the most important aspect of any website. But what else do you need to worry about, other than the body of the content and relevant keywords? Perhaps the easiest and arguably most important next step is utilizing a title tag and heading tags, which improve rankings and encourage clicks. In this article we’ll define these tags and give you the best hints and tips to craft your own.

What is the Title tag?

The purpose of a title tag is simple –  to describe what’s on the web page. Title tags, much like chapter titles of a book, tell search engines and individuals what information they can expect to find. To be effective, the title tag must be accurate, concise, descriptive and 50 characters or less. The title tag is located in various places: the <head> section of your website’s HTML, the blue clickable link in a Google search, and in the browser bar. Here’s an example of the title tag “baby boy clothes” from Carter’s:

The title tag in the <head> section of your website’s HTML, and usually the title of the page:

HTML Title Tags on Title Page

HTML title tag as it appears on the Title Page

The blue clickable link in a Google search:

HTML title tags on Google Search Page

The HTML title tag as it appears in a Google Search

The browser bar:

HTML title tags in the browser bar

HTML title tag as it appears in the browser bar

The title tag is important because it appears three or more times, and according to The Art of SEO, the title and tag is “the only piece of meta information about a page that directly influences relevancy and ranking.” Need more evidence? claims the title tag is the second most important on page SEO factor.

How do you create the best title tag?

There are three important things to keep in mind to craft the best title tag.

Use Top Keywords for HTML title tags

Repeat after me, “top keywords belong in HTML title tags.” One more time, “top keywords belong in HTML title tags.” Including keywords in HTML title tags is vital – 94% of SEO industry leaders say that the most important place to put keywords is in the title tag to achieve high rankings. Mashable has a great formula for creating title tags: “Main Keyword | Company Name Secondary Keyword.” Mashable’s formula uses the “ | “ divider. Other great dividers include >, -, and :.

Understand Intent to Optimize HTML Tags

Do you anticipate your clients are searching for information or looking to make a purchase? What intent does your web page best fit? This is important because if the intent of the user is to obtain information, a more descriptive title tag should be used. However, if the intent is to make a purchase, you will want your title tag to indicate that purchasing can be performed by clicking on the link.

Name Tags for People, Not Google 

It can be tempting to cram as many keywords as possible into your title tag. This strategy, however, does more harm than good. It creates a messy and incomprehensible tag. You must keep in mind that real life people will be clicking on the title tag. If the title and tag doesn’t make sense, it is less likely to be clicked. Like all content developed with on page SEO in mind, keywords should be included naturally and wording should flow.

What is a Header Tag?

Heading tags are a way to organize website content, and are comparable to headings in a research paper. Heading tags range from h1 to h6. Instead of Heading 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, heading tags appear as <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, and <h6>, with the h1 tag being the highest and most important heading, h2 being the second most important, and h6 being the least important.  Header HTML tags are important for both readers and search engines. As Yoast points out, readers tend to scan documents instead of reading them in their entirety, and an HTML header makes this easier. Similarly, a header HTML tag makes it easy for Google to understand the main topics included on a page, making it more likely that your page shows up on search results.  Need more evidence of heading tag importance? Forbes reports that 80% of the top 10 pages used an h1 tag.

Top webpages use an h1 tag

According to Forbes, 80% of the top 10 pages used an H1 tag

Heading Tag Tips for On Page SEO

Use Keywords in HTML Header Tags (h1, h2, h3, etc)

Heading tags are another important area for keywords to appear. The Art of SEO states, “search engines have shown a slight preference for key words appearing in heading” When crafting your h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6 tags for your page, be sure to include relevant keywords.

Limit One H1 Tag Per Page

The h1 tag assigned to one web page should not be duplicated elsewhere, and each page should only have one h1 tag. The h1 tag is the main subject of your page. All subsections or subtopics of the page would be assigned lower-level HTML header Here’s an example:

<h1> Buying Your First Utah Home in 2017

<h2> Navigating the Search Process for Your Utah Home

<h3> Using Utah Real Estate Websites to Find Your Perfect Home

<h2> Making the Offer on a Utah Home

<h3> How Low is Too Low?

Unique and Relevant H1 Heading tags

Unique and relevant content is at the heart of all things important to on page SEO. The same is true for HTML header tags. The more unique and relevant a heading is, the more weight it carries, and the more likely it is to show up in Google Search. Headings tags should be self-explanatory, catchy, and most importantly, relevant to the content displayed on the page.

Pro tip: use a question as your h1 tag. This practice is becoming more common as seen by the influx of top search results containing a question in the H1 tag.

Once you’ve incorporated HTML tags – the title tag and heading tags – in your sleek new website, you should be ready to finally hit the launch button! Good luck!