My obsession (an unhealthy and rather geeky obsession perhaps) with HTML page structure/schema continues. It just drives me crazy that people will spend a fortune on SEO agencies (that offer no benefits at all) but won’t take care to do the simple basics that really count in SEO. One very important SEO activity that anyone using WordPress can easily get right is using headings correctly.
There has always been an assumed structure or page outline implied by HTML headings. For example a heading2 will be a sub-heading under heading 1. But how often do we see headings being used as styles rather than for structure (e.g. a heading3 follows a heading1)? Well, in HTML5 the importance of using headings for page structure rather than style has become critical for SEO. In HTML5 a rank or weighting is given to headings so a heading2 will have a greater weighting than heading3 for example.
Using headings in WordPress for best SEO
In WordPress, if you use a good Theme, the page or post title will always be output as heading1. When adding content to your pages or posts you should never add a heading1 to the page or post content (as a heading 1 is already defined as the page or post title). For this post, for example, the heading1 is Heading structure is critical SEO. The next heading I use is a heading2 as it would be structurally incorrect to use, for example, a heading 4 directly under a heading1.
Using Webmaster Tools to identify high severity SEO issues
If you use Bing Webmaster Tools you’ll notice that Bing highlights when you are using the heading structure incorrectly on your pages. Furthermore Bing notes this problem as with high severity (Google also advise in their SEO Starter Guide that heading tags are to be used for structure and not style). To check this yourself do the following.
- Log in to Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Click on the Website that you’re concerned with.
- Go to Reports & Data -> SEO Reports.
- In the report you’ll see something like There are multiple h1 tags on the page. The number of affected pages or posts and their URLs will also be shown.
It is so simple yet so important for SEO reasons to get heading structures correct.