Things you should know about H1 and TITLE tags

Do you own a website? Read on...

There are some important things you ought to know about your website.

There are some important things you should know about your website.

Don't worry... this isn't about to get all technical!

There are some important things you should know about your website.

Things you should know about H1 and TITLE tags

Things you should know about your own website

It is alarming how many website designers are out there offering a professional service and charging clients good money to build websites, but are missing some fundamentally important things from the websites they build.

Bear with me here because this might start off by appearing technical, but it really isn’t, and as a website owner it is worth knowing a little about this.


Two bad examples turned up on my doorstep!


I recently took over the management of two websites within the space of a week. The websites were owned by two completely separate businesses, but both were suffering from similar problems.

The first problem I’ll mention is that they were both very slow to load on mobile phones, mainly due to poorly optimised images. In other words the images on both websites were far too large, and were causing the websites to load slowly, especially on mobiles.

I have covered this very common problem elsewhere in a separate article about slow websites on mobiles so I’ll move on to things which were contributing to poor search engine performance.

The other problem that both websites shared was that two very important parts of their web pages were being very poorly used, and on one of those websites some of the tags which I’ll describe below were completely missing.

Professional web designers should not be producing websites with such omissions!


Two very important tags which make a big difference

What follows is not technical, I promise, but I want to draw your attention to two very important tags which Google and other search engines place a great deal of importance on.

These two tags can have a lot of influence on how your website performs in search engine results, and therefore they can have quite an impact on the amount of visitors your website gets.

So here is my advice...


Ask your web designer about your <title> and <H1> tags


Ask your web designer to tell you what content of the <title> tag and <H1> tag contains for each page of your website.

A surprising number of websites make very poor use of these important tags, and this which could be detrimental to the performance of your website.

The <title> and <H1> tags should both be relevant to the page they’re on, and both should contain at least some of the most important keywords that you want that page to be found in search engine results for.

Let’s begin with the <title> tag...


Why are title tags important?

When it comes to on-page SEO your title tag is key. The title tag should, as you would expect, state the title of the page, ideally in a descriptive way.

Although you don’t actually see the content of title tag on your web pages, the reason they’re so important is that search engines use to the title tag as a strong indicator of what each page is about, and search engines typically use the title tag to display the bold content in the search results.

So as far as search engine results are concerned, your title tag is extremely important, and from the perspective of someone searching, the title tag is the most prominent piece of content they’ll see in the list of search results.


Let’s look at some examples of title tags

If you have a page with a title tag which simply contains the words commercial electrician you have an extremely small chance of anyone finding that page in a search. But if it was be changed to something like commercial electrician in Stevenage or commercial electrical services in Stevenage it could improve your search results considerably.

Here’s a tip: Go to Google and search for the pages of your website like this… site:your-website.com

This is what I see if I run this search for targaweb.com using site:targaweb.com

When you see the list of pages in the search results, pay attention to the bold content for each of your web pages. If you don’t feel that bold content is descriptive enough, decide what you want it to say and instruct your web designer to change the title tag on which ever page(s) you’re not happy with.

Title tags in search results

Bear in mind that you should try to keep your title tag to no more than 160 characters.

Next we’ll look at your <H1> tags.


Why are H1 tags important?

Unlike title tags which do not display visible content on your web page, H1 tags are visible. However it might not always be obvious to you when you look at your web page which piece of content is actually held in the H1 tag.

For search engines H1 tags are hugely important, so you really want them to be as effective as possible, and therefore it really is worth you knowing what content they contain. You could ask your web designer to tell you, or you could do it yourself by following a couple of very simple steps.


Finding the content of your H1 tags

For this you’ll need to be on a laptop or desktop computer.

  1. Simply hover your cursor over the web page, and with your mouse or tracker pad, right-click and you should see a menu of options appear.

    View page source menu
  2. Select View page source and it should open a new tab which is full of code.
  3. Don’t let that put you off, because if you then search using the buttons [Ctrl] and [F] at the same time, a little box will appear.
  4. Enter <h1 (NOT <h1>) and it should immediately help you locate your H1 tag.
  5. In the example shown you can see that the content held in the H1 tag for that particular page is Targa - Affordable website design service

    H1 content in source code
  6. That’s all you need to do, so repeat the process for each of your web pages.

Okay, so you’re now able to identify what your H1 tags contain, so now what?


Things you should know about H1 tags

You should only have one H1 tag on each page, and it should be descriptive enough to make it useful for search engines. Therefore an H1 tag containing just the word Plumber is not going to be as effective as an H1 tag with Basingstoke Plumbing Services or 24 hour emergency Plumber

If you have more than one H1 tag on a page, it might cause some confusion for the search engines. Indeed there are many website analysis tools which will flag pages with more than one H1 tag as a potential problem.

If you cannot find an H1 tag on your page, you should ask your web designer why not.

No web designer should be producing web pages without H1 tags, unless they have a very good reason for doing so. But quite honestly I cannot think of a single reason why H1 tags would be left out on purpose, so ask your web designer to add them and then re-submit those pages to Google!


Avoid duplicating your title tag and H1 tags

One final point...

Your title tag and H1 tags are going to need to contain your main keyword(s) but try to avoid using the exact same content in both tags. Professional SEO tools such as Semrush use a title tag and H1 tag comparer as part of it's website scan process, and they will flag any instances of the title tag and H1 tag which have the same content.

The concern here is that Google and other search engines may consider the page to be over opimised and this could end up impacting your search results negatively.

If you’re in doubt about any of this and would like to take advantage of the free website checks we offer at Targa, simply get in touch.


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Daron Harvey, motor racing fan and owner of Targa Web Services

About the author: Having begun building websites back in 1996, Daron Harvey has been professionally involved in website design, UX and eCommerce best practices for over 26 years, including management of large multi-lingual global websites. Following the global pandemic Daron founded Targa Web Services, specialising in Website Design, Search Engine Optimisation, User Experience (UX/UI), etc.
    

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Things you should know about H1 and TITLE tags Things you should know about H1 and TITLE tags
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