What is a Heading Tag?

Heading tags are part of a site’s HTML that are used to define headings and subheadings on a web page. 

Labeled as H1, H2, H3 through to H6, these tags help search engines understand the structure of content on a page and make it easier for users to read and comprehend content. 

The most important heading tag is the H1 tag (<h1> tag), which is usually used for the main title of the page. While not essential, an H1 is highly recommended as it helps summarize the main topic of the page.

Other heading tags are used in a hierarchical order to organize content into sections and subsections (see below how are site displays heading tags).

This is an H1

This is an H2

This is an H3

This is an H4

This is an H5
This is an H6

The use of heading tags can improve the readability and the SEO of a site, making it easier for both users and search engines to understand. Using them the right way is important so as not to negatively impact your SEO.

Recommended Reading: The 5-Minute Guide to On-Page SEO

Common Heading Tag Issues

1. Heading Tag Not Found

<h1> heading tags help visitors confirm whether the page they’re on matches their intent.

If a site visitor can’t quickly confirm that the page they’ve landed on has what they’re looking for, they might be inclined to bounce from the page, which leads to less exploration on your site, a higher bounce rate, and fewer conversions. 

Search engine bots also register the H1 tag as a clue to tell them what a page is about. Therefore, a missing H1 is a missed chance to demonstrate page relevance.

More on this issue: Heading Tag Not Found

2. <h1> Tag Found Outside <body>

The <h1> tag is the first heading within the content of the page, and therefore it is expected to be found within the <body> section of the page.

More on this issue: How to Move the H1 to the <body>

3. <h2> Tag Found Outside <body>

An <h2> tag is typically used as a subheading for the content on the page, and such is  expected to be found in the <body> of a page. If your <h2> tag is outside the <body>, it should be moved to the appropriate location.

More on this issue: How to Move the H2 to the <body>

4. Heading Tag <h2> Not Found

An  <h2> tag is an opportunity to clearly structure the content of the page and make it simple to communicate what a page is about. If your page does not have an <h2> tag, it can be added through a few different approaches.

More on this issue: How to add an <h2> tag

5. More Than One Heading 1 Tag <h1> Found

If additional <h1> tags aren’t used to classify sections, consider removing them. You may be able to do this through your CMS, depending on your edit access. 

More on this issue: How to Delete H1 Tags

6. Heading Tag <h1> Empty

An empty <h1> tag is not recommended. This would be a missed opportunity to give both users and search engines more context as to what your page is about.

If your H1 tag exists but is empty, you can update it to include text.

More on this issue: How to Update H1 Tags

7. Heading Tag <h2> Empty

Since heading tags help to structure your page, so users can better digest page content, having an empty <h2> tag is not recommended. 

Plus, an empty <h2> tag is a missed opportunity to provide context to search engines. If your H2 tag exists but is empty, you can update it to include text. 

More on this issue: How to Update H2 Tags