There are many factors that we as SEO experts use to help a website rank higher on Google. While a lot of these are not advertised by Google as being a ranking factor, multiple tests conducted by SEO experts have shown that they do have an impact on your website’s ranking. Headings are one particular area where we focus on as a ranking factor. But how much of an impact does it have and will it matter for rankings in 2022?
What Are Headings and Why Do They Matter for SEO?
Headings are seen as important components for search engine optimization. Headings in a blog post tell your visitor what the post is about and help them decide if they want to read the whole thing. Search engines also use headings, alt tags, and meta descriptions when deciding which results to display for a specific keyword. To rank higher on Google, it is recommended that you have at least one heading in each blog post with a descriptive title and keyword-focused content.
The three main types of headings are different levels of headers. The heading levels range from H1 to H6. They help in formatting a post and also make it easier for people to understand the content. H1,H2,H3, are mainly used for major titles within a blog post. For example, an Introduction is usually a H1 tag while other blog sections will be an H2 or H3. An article is typically created with at least two or three major H tags.
How Has the Importance of Headings Changed?
Since the early 2000’s content writers have always made sure to have a proper heading hierarchy within their content. Having only one H1 tag followed by H2s and H3s if needed. Your headings would also include the keywords you would want to rank for.But with the increased changes in technology and Google’s algorithm, it feels like headings are not as important as they used to be.
But why did we still write this article with a heading structure in mind and particular keywords within our headings? The main reason is that we have been doing it for years and are used to it, but even if Google doesn’t use it as a ranking factor, it is still something a website should have for readers. It allows the reader to understand what the article is about and even jump to a particular section.
Proof That Headings Will Not Matter in 2022 for Ranking (Only)
One thing that individuals must understand is that a large portions of SEO ranking factors are just theories. While there are tests that certain SEO experts can run, there are so many factors that will not make a SEO test 100% accurate. So even our response is still a theory, but we do have some proof.
One example are results from People Also Ask. For a long time Google has been using different search questions that don’t match with the exact heading of an article. We conducted a search for “how important are headings for seo” and the below screenshot is one example we received. You can see that the question Google picked is “Why Heading tags are important in SEO?”, but if you visit the page itself that question is not a heading anywhere within the article.
The main reason we also feel that headings will not be as important is because Google wants to provide users with relevant and quality content. You can write an incredible article but not have a great understanding of SEO best practices or web development to solve technical issues, so why should you be penalized for it.
There was also a question asked sometime ago from John Muller during Googles Webmaster videos and he explains how headings are not as important as they used to be. Google’s algorithm is smart enough to understand what your article is about and not really need a heading as a ranking factor. Even titles are being changed which has also become a large topic recently in the SEO community.
Why You Should Still Use Headings
While we believe headings are not as impactful in rankings as they used to be, we ourselves still use it in all of our clients content. The main reason is for the user. As we mentioned above, it does a great job of breaking down the main story into understandable sections. This allows you to skim through the article quickly and get a great understanding of what the article covers. It also allows you to jump to a particular section that you might find more important during your search for the topic.
It is also important to include them for assistive devices and different technologies that will break your content into different sections.
So in conclusion, keep using headings, but don’t be surprised that headings alone will not impact your rankings in search.