How Headings and Title Tags Grow SEO Rankings
When you begin searching for something on google, you might notice the words shown in the search results aren’t exactly the same as what is on the webpage.
This subtle difference in site title compared to website content is there for a reason. The correct heading structure helps search engine index the page on your site accurately.
Even if you have excellent content, if you fail to use the correct heading tag structure, or don’t add meta descriptions, your content will not rank as well online.
Here are some of the best practices that can help the search engines to getter understand your website content
Begin With Search Intent
Humans always search online with an intention. We want to know something, find something or buy something. This search intent drives us to type specific words (keywords) into Google to find what we are looking for.
On the search engine optimization side, it is very important that a webpage is optimized so that it can be found by the search engines for the specific topic it talks about.
Without getting too deep into technical SEO, let’s take a look at some of the main factors that help search engines understand your website.
Title Tags Lead The Way
Every Google search result you see is guided by the Title Tags the website has. For example.
Let’s say you typed ‘Orange County digital marketing agency’ into Google. You will find that our website result shows up like this:
What you see here is the Title Tag of the website and the Meta Description for our website, which are both pieces of important meta data. These are written specifically to target the search intent and the keywords the person is searching for.
(On a side note: because ‘Orange County’ is a location, there is also a navigational intent here. Because ‘digital marketing agency’ is a business, there is probably a commercial intent.
Based on this, and the keywords typed, Google has determined that the Title and Meta Description make enough sense to show as a relevant search term.)
The other place the Title Tag shows is in the browser tab. It is usually not visible unless you run the mouse cursor over it like this:
This might not seem super important, but think about when you have a lot of different tabs open on your browser. It makes it much easier to know which one is relevant when it has a description in the Title Tag.
Meta Descriptions Give Context
Just below the title of the site, is the Meta Description.
The meta description is the small amount of text that Google allows to be seen by the searcher to see if the page is worth visiting. This text may vary from what is on the actual page, because it is customized for search engine indexing.
So in the same example as above, the meta description looks like this:
Notice that the search term is bolded? These are direct match for the keywords that the searcher originally typed. This bolding makes the result seem more relevant and gives the viewer a sneak peek of what the page content is about.
H1 Headings Attract Attention
In the advertising and copywriting world, the Headline is often known as the ‘Ad for the ad’. This is because it entices the reader to look at the article below the headline.
In search engine optimization terms, the headings have a similar function for both Google and the website visitor. Headings break down into a heading hierarchy from H1, H2, H3 all the way down to H6.
The H1 Heading is also known as a Page Title. It is usually the first thing a user sees when they visit the webpage, often in a bold or larger text so it stands out. It should give some context to the page, and ideally, it should also have some keywords in it that relate to the search terms.
(Important: many people are tempted to attempt keyword stuffing in the H1 Heading to try to fool the search engines, but this is not a wise idea. The Google algorithm has grown smart enough to know when a headline isn’t relevant to the page.)
As you scroll down a page, you will find ‘subheadings’. These are usually ranked as H2 or H3 Headings, depending on how many there are. The H2 Heading ranking will tell Google that the information is more important than the paragraphs. H3 will also rank as important, but less so than H2. It also helps with sectioning content for your readers so that they understand it more clearly.
Good SEO Starts with Structure
These SEO practices are just the basics of setting up your site for better Google and Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) results. Of course, a large bulk of the success comes down to sharing content that is relevant and valuable to the visitors of your website.
You can use tools such as Yoast SEO on your website to help build the right meta descriptions and titles, and to ensure your webpages are readable.
After all, valuable content is the reason people visit a website in the first place. Therefore, the more useful your content it is, the better Google will rank your site in the search results.