When reading through an article online, it can be really easy to miss ways in which it can be improved upon.
From the countless writing techniques that can be implemented, or the tone of voice that the writer is projecting.
What can help your content shine for users and for search engines goes beyond just the writing techniques, and goes into planning.
When writing an article, there is bound to be a logical structure. The ways in which the article will flow to, to get from one point to the next.
This article today is aiming to show you a technique that not only make the articles you write make more sense to users, but also to the bots that crawl websites for search engines like Google.
This is how you use headers.
Headers or headings are phrases or signposts that are used at the beginning of a section of text, which help to provide a general overview about what the below text is explaining.
They basically help prime people to understand what the paragraph is going to be about.
It tends to almost resemble the kinds of headings you would see on a Newspaper.
Why Use Headers?
Using headings to assist the reader
Using headers is a necessary aspect of copywriting. It can assist your users and search engines in understanding your content better.
What we know from eye-tracking data is that people will tend to skim or scan the content that you have on your website. Having headers helps people identify a section as most important to them. For example, if you’re looking for an SEO Specialist Collingwood, and you want to know why SEO is important, it makes sense that if you looked through an article finding the header that would read ‘why SEO is important’ or ‘Benefits to SEO’ are going to be sections of interest for readers.
The other aspect of headers needing to be used to attract readers, is that they help break up content. In doing so, it doesn’t make people feel too overwhelmed by lots of text, or by unhelpful sections that are not as informative.
When using a header, it is important that it makes sense to the reader. This means making a header that outlines what the section is about, but also as a way of priming the reader to understand what they are about to read from section to section.
Using headers to assist search engines
Headers are a great way for bots that crawl a webpage to read and catalogue content. In doing so, this can assist a search engine like Google to find an answer for a user with either long-tail keywords, or search phrases that may be searched about a specific question.
If you are looking for a dentist, but want to know about a particular procedure. If there is a website of a dentist nearby that has blog content about that particular procedure, then it is more likely that that dentist will have an authoritative site, as well as a higher likelihood of getting clients in, as the search rank goes up.
This is due to using headers that answer the questions that people may be asking, as well as having information that leads people to book too.
Using headers to help people with disabilities
Header structure also assists those that may have difficulty reading. For instance, headings will show up in the HTML, and screen readers, that are typically used by those with sight impairments, can read aloud the structure of the article effectively. This allows people to listen to the headings of an article, helping them to decide whether or not to read on.
Also, most screen readers offer an option to shortcut to one heading, and then to the next one instantly, so headers can be used as a great navigational tool as well.
Using headers to improve your SEO
Typically speaking making slight adjustments to, or minor updates to your headers does not necessarily impact your SEO ranking. There is however an indirect benefit. This is where using headers basically increases the quality of text by making it easily readable, and as a result, better content for your readers equals better SEO.
If a reader is struggling to find the information that they’re after, there is a strong chance that they will just bounce and look for the answer that they’re looking for somewhere else. Making sure that your structure and your headings are clear an informative allow for greater retention of users, this means that Google will rank your page higher. If you have people bouncing from your page quickly conversely, then there will be a change and most likely Google will start lowering your ranking as a high bounce rate can relate to a less helpful site.
The key to headers in any sense of article structure, or getting an improvement with your SEO, should revolve around the user. They should always come first.
Structuring your headers
When looking at an article on your website, you will see different types of header levels. These levels expand from H1 – meaning header 1 to H6 – meaning header 6. These different headers work from largest to smallest, H1 being the largest in font size, and H6 being smallest.
Behind the site itself, in the backend, these headers are converted into HTML Heading tags, these will look like <h1> <h2> <h3> etc.
Your general theme should have these HTML tags available too.
When you are structuring your headers it is important to note that the headers are referring to underlying HTML code.
How you structure your header
It is important to be aware that you only have one H1 header available per page. There was some debate about this being expanded out to two, but website development never moved on that and having multiple H1 headers are not ideal for any site.
An easy way to think about an H1 header is like having the title of a book. For instance “USING HEADERS | TIPS FROM AN SEO SPECIALIST IN COLLINGWOOD” is an example of an H1 tag. The subsequent smaller tags are your H2 tags or H3 tags. H1 would also look like the category type on a category page, or a product name on a product page.
As your content expands, H2 headers will be used to break down a topic further for simple and easy expansion. Going back to the book analogy, this would almost be like chapter titles in a book. H3 headers would be sub-headings that then expand even further under the chapter.
Example of a header structure
Let’s look at a blog page that is focusing on martial arts disciplines. They’ve chosen Martial Arts Lessons as the focused keywords, and written an article surrounding it.
Without headers, it can be quite easy to get lost in a slab of text, and not know how best to follow along clearly. So, the best solution is to use logical structures and headers to make the article flow well.
Here is an example:
○ H1: Get Fit with Martial Arts Lessons
➣ H2: How Martial Arts is good for fitness
- H3: Drilling
- H3: Discipline
- H3: Community
➣ H2: Where you can do Martial Arts Lessons
- H3: Location
- H3: Type of Martial Arts
- H3: What suits you best
Overall, headers are good for users, and search engines. Doing them clearly will help your content make sense to people from all backgrounds and increases the chances of people engaging with your content, and search engines ranking you higher.
Adding and structuring your headers effectively can create a good structure that improves the quality of your text, and an example of this structure is a great way to have the content make sense to you as well.
If you want more tips on headers, or wish to talk to an SEO specialist in Collingwood about other great SEO techniques, be sure to give us a call or send us an email today.