what are heading tags and how to use them – WAU

Have you ever heard or even seen with your own eyes some codes called H1, H2 and / or H3, right? For those who have never encountered HTML codes – those used to build a web page – it is more common to deduce that they were taken from a chemistry class, but […]

Have you ever heard or even seen with your own eyes some codes called H1, H2 and / or H3, right?

For those who have never encountered HTML code – those used to build a web page – it is more common to deduce that they were taken from a chemistry class, but the more we become familiar with the things behind the internet, the better we come to understand the importance of certain codes, apparently “harmless”, as in the case of heading tags.

A practical experiment that helps you understand heading tags can be done by you, right now!

Just open Word – or similar – and create any text with titles and subtitles, always using the predefined styles in the “styles” tab on the home page, with “Title 1” for the main title, “Title 2” for the subtitle and so on.

Now create an automatic summary and see how it’s organized.

It looks like magic, doesn’t it?

But it’s just the heading tags in action in your text editor!

With that, we saw that the titles of a text cannot be seen only as a sentence written with a larger and more robust font than that of the body of the message, but, yes, as encoded characters that, when interpreted by the editor, the entire hierarchy of a text is defined.

If the use of heading tags adds a lot to texts, the same goes for when the subject is SEO, where, by the way, they are extremely important within the structure of a page from Internet.

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But how can they be so essential?

That’s what you’ll understand next!

Understanding the hierarchy of heading tags

When we put all the SEO techniques into practice on a website, it is essential that relevance should be inserted in the whole context – like choosing and correct use of the keywords.

In the case of heading tags, it can be understood that there is a scale from 1 to 6 (h1 to h6), where h1 predominates over the others because it represents the main title, after all, all text has at least 1 title.

The other tags are used according to the subtitles inserted, as in the example of the Word automatic summary, therefore, h1 should be seen as the most important and h6 the least important.

Therefore, both from an SEO point of view and from any other point of view, disrespect this hierarchy using, for example, a title in h3 and a subtitle in h1, the structure would be at least strange and confusing, even compromising your site’s ranking in Google results and, above all, their readers’ understanding of the text.

To further clarify the importance of respecting the hierarchy of heading tags, think of it in the same way as the place where someone from the interior of Paraná lives, for example, and imagine any of the items out of order:

  • H1 – Earth
  • H2 – South America
  • H3 – London
  • H4 – Paraná
  • H5 – Curitiba
  • H6 – Alto da Glória

It would look weird if something was out of place, wouldn’t it?

How to apply headings

Contrary to what it may seem to many, it is completely unnecessary to use all heading tags in a text.

Suppose your content has 2 chapters with 2 sub-chapters in the first and 1 sub-chapter in the last, in addition to the main title in h1, we will see how your format would look in the ideal point of view for SEO:

Chapter 1

Subchapter 1

Subchapter 2

Chapter 2

Subchapter 3

Using six types of heading tags is difficult to imagine, especially because, as explained above, the hierarchy involves relevance.

Therefore, the greater the number of the heading, the lower its relevance, thus damaging the page’s SEO.

However, if your usage is due to the size of the text, use h6 so that the usability of your page is not impaired.

And taking advantage of that the focus of this topic and the optimization, what happens if we apply more than one h1 in a single text?

A few years ago this could cause conflicts, since the HTML 4 language stopped for almost a decade, that is, there were no updates so that its functionalities were facilitated.

With the development and consolidation of HTML 5 – the language version most used today -, concerns like this were left out, as the language allows the use of h1 in each intertitle without compromising the user experience – however the conventional medium is still the recommended one, as this offers Google a solid clue on the topic that is covered on the page.

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Some practices to avoid when dealing with heading tags

Keep an eye on the use of keywords

As obvious as it may seem the advantage of using keywords in h1, it is worth mentioning that this practice, without the slightest moderation, can ruin all the plans you had for that content to symbolize success!

That’s because the Google can penalize your site based on your Terms and Conditions.

Similar contents between header tag and meta tag

To make the differences clear: both “tags” have very similar functions, however, the meta title tag is the one that appears in the results hyperlinked search engine.

Repeat heading tags on different pages

It is not a recommended practice to use the same heading title in different content, as this way, each content will no longer be treated in a unique way, causing the user to be confused when faced with two pages in the same result – which in fact would be quite strange.


In this article we were able to learn many secrets about heading tags, especially in how to use them correctly both from the SEO point of view and from the point of view of usability – remembering that precisely because these two important aspects exist, we need to respect the hierarchy present in them.

Now that you know all of this, are you ready to apply the learning to your blog?

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Now that you know everything about heading tags in the content structure, understand other important elements to use in your web content in our complete Copywriting ebook: writing texts that convert:

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