I’m the first to admit that when I first came into the TM offices that I had no idea what an H1 tag was. Somebody mentioned it in one of the many meetings I attended and the blank, vacant look on my face was a dead giveaway that I was in ever so slightly in over my head. Fortunately, I’ve worked with them a bit since and they came up in a blog last week as well as with a client we do monthly maintenance for. It seemed a good idea to take go into a bit more detail than in another blog a staff member wrote last fall.

So, what is an H1 tag? It’s a piece of code in HTML – don’t worry about it if you don’t know what HTML is and instead worry about it only if the company designing or redesigning your website doesn’t – that serves as a header for the page it’s on. It’s usually in larger font and tells you what that page of content is. For instance, if you click on TM’s About TM page, you’ll see below the top banner that there’s some bolded words; “About TM.” That’s your H1 tag. You’ll also notice that it follows what the navigation says the page is about. The two must work together, especially when it comes to the search engines.

One of the problems we’ve seen with clients here is that the page visitors are clicking on sometimes doesn’t have an H1 that reflects what the page actually is. An example of this might be if a company has a page in the navigation called “About Our Products” and, when you click on the link and go to the page, the header (or H1 tag) states “Habitual Problems of the Uninformed User.” What in the heck does that have to do with their products? What you have here is someone getting the idea that by coming up with a snappy H1, it’ll attract more visitors. The reality is that your products won’t be found in the search engines unless someone types in something about “habitual problems” or “uninformed user.” Do you really want your potential customers to have to struggle to find you? Probably not.

Something else to keep in mind, too, is that you only have a single H1 on each page. If you have sub-points to the main header, then you’ll use H2 or H3 tags etc. We’ll cover those in another blog. For now, though, remember only one H1 tag on a page. One other thing to remember is that the H1 tag should be different from your Title tag. Confused yet? Let’s break it down for you.

The title tag is what people will see in the search engine results. If your mail-order company is called “Blu-Ray Wholesalers” and you’re big in the Detroit area, then your Title tag might Read “Blu-Ray Wholesalers – An Internet Company – Detroit, Michigan.” Now, with that in mind, you don’t want any of your H1 tags to read the same way, which you may be tempted to do in the About Us section. They must be different or you’ll risk getting snagged by an over-optimization filter (yes, these things apparently exist).

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I work with content and will never be a programmer.

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