A recent Twitter poll’s results suggest that most SEO professionals don’t know how Google takes H1 headings into account when ranking web pages.
On May 11, Seattle-based SEO Cyrus Shepard posted a poll to his Twitter account, quizzing followers about Google’s view of H1 tags.
Specifically, he asked this ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question: “Does Google recommend using a single <h1> in your content for SEO purposes?”
In total, 1,852 users voted, and 57.1% picked ‘yes.’ These users were wrong.
What Does Google Actually Think About H1 Headings?
In reality, Google does not care how many H1 headings a user has – a quote from Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller from a livestream demonstrates this:
“You can use H1 tags as often as you want on a page,” he said. “There’s no limit, neither upper or lower bound. Your site is going to rank perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags.”
The disparity may come from the fact that Google has changed its view of H1 tags over the last few decades.
Around the turn of the millennium, Google would use headings as a ‘clue’ to determine whether a web page would be related to a search query. Other clues would include words that are bold, italicized, or written in large fonts.
When Google introduced the Knowledge Graph in 2012, it began looking beyond these clues. Instead, it would use a complex matching system to look over a page’s content in full to determine whether it was related to a search query.
Still confused? Don’t worry – you can continue to use H1 headings however you choose without worrying about the impact left on your page rankings.