Headings (also referred to as header tags, headers, H1’s, 2’s, and 3’s) are the short strings of text that appear above page copy. In traditional publishing they are used to introduce content that is below them and their purpose is the same for content on the internet. Headings are a common web and publishing convention and they help readers more easily digest content. They also help search engines better understand the content they are about to crawl.
Here’s a traditional heading:
And here’s one on the internet:
Headings are an important part of onsite SEO because search engines use them as an indicator of what the content of a page is about. Their importance is determined by their number with H1 tags being the most important (and largest on the page) and H6 being the least important. There are a variety of ways search engines use heading tags to help users find good content.
Here are some guidelines that attorneys should follow when generating headings.
Here are some other best practices3 the might be helpful.
Headings are visible to users and are written with your page copy (that means they are like other words on the page). Depending on what lawyers are using to generate content on their website, headings can be written manually or they may be generated automatically.
For lawyers using WordPress, H1 headings are automatically created by most themes using the title of the page. As long as the page’s target keyword phrase is in that title, no additional H1’s should be added. Here’s what that looks like in a typical WordPress setup.
Once a page is published, this is what that title would look like:
It is important to check that WordPress is actually creating an H1 tag out of your title. Some websites may be using them already, some may not and some may be using them improperly4. If it isn’t, you can create one yourself in the text editor for WordPress. This will also work in other CMSs that do not automatically generate an H1 tag.
In your post page simply toggle over from visual to text.
Then simply type in the phrase you want as your header and wrap it in an opening HTML header tag and closing HTML header tag like so.
Illustrated again here, this is the syntax (proper way to write HTML) for header tags. The lower the number, the larger the header appears on the page and the more important it is to search engines.
Headings are one of those SEO tasks that are not going to make your site sky-rocket to the first page of search results. They are considered a foundational element. Combined with many other smaller optimization tasks they can help a site perform much better in search.