Are HTML Heading Tags (H2-H6) A Google Ranking Factor?

In a earlier article, we explored the proof round H1 tags as a Google rating issue.

Now, let’s check out the remainder of the heading tags — H2 to H6.

Will utilizing these tags assist your content material rank larger in Google?

And may utilizing particular key phrases in H2 to H6 tagged headings provide help to rank for these phrases?

Let’s test it out.

The Declare: H2-H6 Tags As A Ranking Issue

The assumption right here is that the key phrases you employ in H2-H6 subheadings are extra closely weighted in Google’s algorithm than phrases in plain textual content and that tags are subsequently a rating issue of their very own.



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The Proof For HTML Heading Tags As A Ranking Issue

As soon as upon a time – circa 2005-2010 or so – subheadings certain appeared to depend as rating elements. Utilizing your goal key phrases in higher-level subheadings (usually your major key phrase in your H1 and secondary key phrases in H2s and H3s) helped you rank for these key phrases.

That was again when textual content as a complete, and what you probably did with it, was extra closely weighted.

Utilizing a sure key phrase density and inserting key phrases in particular locations was thought-about finest follow for optimizing content material for websites like Suite101,, and WikiHow. These websites had been a nightmare for Google as a result of a lot of what it used to guage webpage high quality labored to their benefit.



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With a strong technical basis and the perceived authority that publishing huge quantities of content material (and getting hyperlinks to that content material) offered, on-page search engine optimization techniques like optimizing your subheadings was a just-add-water recipe for prime rankings.

Quick ahead to August 2020, and Google’s John Mueller flat out advised us that headings are certainly a rating issue:

“So headings on a web page assist us to raised perceive the content material on the web page.

Headings on the web page will not be the one rating issue that we have now. We have a look at the content material by itself as properly.

However typically having a transparent heading on a web page provides us slightly bit extra data on what that part is about.”

He went on to say:

“And relating to textual content on a web page, a heading is a very sturdy sign telling us this a part of the web page is about this subject.

…whether or not you place that into an H1 tag or an H2 tag or H5 or no matter, that doesn’t matter a lot.”

The Proof Towards H2-H6 Tags As A Ranking Issue

If all you took away from the above interview excerpts was that Mueller mentioned heading tags are a robust sign, you most likely suppose they’re much more precious than they’re prone to be.

We all know that pages can rank with no heading tags in any respect.


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We all know that including a sure key phrase to a heading tag gained’t shoot you to the highest of the Google rankings.

What Mueller mentioned was that heading tags:

  • Assist Google higher perceive the content material.
  • Give Google slightly bit extra data.
  • Are a robust sign of what a selected a part of the web page is about.

Google has made nice strides in growing a extra nuanced understanding of every webpage by including extra (and extra advanced) elements to the algorithm.


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It’s continuously testing and updating the algorithm to raised “perceive” relevance, relationships between entities, and searchers’ notion of a optimistic, high-quality expertise.

And as new, extra correct methods of understanding these advanced points had been included into the algorithm, these older indicators had been inevitably diluted.

Why? As a result of like so many former rating indicators – textual content formatting, key phrase density, and .gov hyperlinks amongst them – subheadings are simply too simple to recreation.

Screenshot by creator, July 2021

Something you may explicitly “inform” Google can be utilized to govern the algorithm.


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H2-H6 Tags As A Ranking Issue: Our Verdict


Are HTML Heading Tags (H2-H6) A Google Ranking Factor?

HTML heading tags are an vital:

  • Structural aspect that helps readers and engines like google navigate the content material on every webpage.
  • Accessibility aid – heading tags assist browsers, plug-ins, and assistive applied sciences navigate the web page.
  • Navigational software. They can assist enhance consumer expertise and spotlight vital data.

They’re a confirmed rating issue, however together with particular key phrases in heading tags isn’t your ticket to the highest of the Google SERPs. You’ll must take a experience in your time machine again to the primary decade of this century to see any main rating impression.


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Very similar to the H1, this one obtained misused and abused. Google obtained clever to all of the key phrase stuffing, overuse, and websites attempting to disguise heading tag HTML with CSS.

Need to reap the best rewards from these web page parts? Deal with the consumer expertise advantages of heading tags and their utility in giving your content material construction.

Featured picture: Paulo Bobita


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