When you develop online content, your HTML coding behind the scenes plays a big role in your search engine rankings, making Title Tags and H1 Headers all-important for SEO. Used correctly, they can increase your position in search engines. Used incorrectly, however, these tags can negatively impact rankings and even lead to penalties.
That’s why we’re dedicating an entire post to the topic. By the end of this brief explanation, you’ll know the difference between Title Tags and H1 Headers, and how to use them.
First, Let’s Define Title Tags & H1 Headers…
To be sure we’re on the same page, here are the actual HTML codes we’re discussing:
- Title Tag: <title>
- H1 Header Tag: <h1>
In a broad sense, the Title and H1 Header tags share a similar function, which is why confusion often stems between the two. The purpose of both is to contain the title of your webpage, but the two tags can contain two different titles.
The key difference between these tags is where their content appears. That difference impacts how search engines and web surfers analyze your page.
Title Tag: The Title Tag is known as a meta tag. For a quick refresher, check out “How to Write META Tags Properly”. This meta tag displays as the title of your webpage when a web surfer searches for a relevant keyword and then your page is listed in the results. It serves as the hyperlink that surfers will click on to visit the page.
Additionally, when a user visits your page, this title appears in the title bar at the top of the Web browser. Lastly, when someone bookmarks the page, the Title Tag provides a default bookmark title. Note that the Title Tag does not appear in the body of the webpage.
H1 Header: Conversely, the H1 Header does not typically show up in search engines, and instead appears within your webpage. Because it displays the largest text, the H1 Header tag is often used to create a title at the top of the page.
Title Tags vs. H1 Headers: Commonalities & Differences
Both tags should provide titles that represent the overall message of your webpage, so the best way to optimize Title Tags and H1 Headers is to write for your readers, while following SEO best practices.
- Title Tags appear in search engines and the Web browser’s title bar
- H1 Headers appear within the body text of the webpage
- Search engines give more weight to Title Tags than H1 Headers
Common Best Practices:
- Use only one Title Tag and one H1 Header per webpage
- Include the page’s primary keyword in both tags
- Try to place the keyword early in both tags
- Use the keyword only once within each tag
- Keep both titles short (55 characters or less recommended)
How to Write Title Tags & H1 Headers
Ask yourself, when web surfers search for my keyword, what does my page title need to express in order to assure them that my page contains related content? Put that title in the Title Tag.
Now, when a user actually lands on your webpage, how will you introduce the page’s content? Put that title in your H1 Header tag. Title your essay, if you will.
Do this while following basic SEO best practices, and your HTML tags will please Google the way you want them to. To learn more about optimizing HTML tags, look over the Content Optimization Services that we offer here at Volume Nine. If you have SEO questions, we have answers!