Multiple H1 Tags on Page is Perfectly Fine in SEO

By:  Dileep Thekkethil

November 23, 2022

The one question that has been bugging On-Page Optimization specialists is whether Multiple H1 tags on a page can cause a bad reputation on Google.

The reason for the worries of webmasters is due to some tools, for example, Screaming Frog, showing multiple H1 tags as a serious on-page issue. You may be now wondering how many H1 tags should be on a page.

Putting an end to the worries of the webmasters, Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that the Search Engine Algorithm of Google doesn’t have any issues with a page having multiple H1 tags. He also added that Multiple H1 tags, if the users find benefit from having it on a page, is perfectly fine.

Speaking to the webmasters in his #AskGoogleWebmasters YouTube session Mueller clarified that “Our systems don’t have a problem when it comes to multiple H1 headings on a page.”

He also added that H1 tag and other heading attributes provide the Google Algorithms signals about the context and that using semantically structured headings does help Google pages better.

Mueller stressed that if having multiple H1 tags makes sense for the end users, webmasters can use it without the fear of Google disapproving it.

“Our systems aren’t too picky and we’ll try to work with the HTML as we find it, be it one H1 heading, multiple H1 headings or just styled pieces of text without semantic HTML at all,” said Mueller.

Full Transcript of What John Mueller said About How Many H1 Tags Per Page is Good As Per Google

Question: Can we have a clear answer to the question how to handle headings and accessibility? I see a lot of multiple H1 (all but one are usually hidden) out there on the web. Everybody treats it differently. And stuff like the main tag?

John Mueller: So, this is a pretty common question and it’s pretty straightforward. Our systems don’t have a problem when it comes to multiple h1 headings on a page. That’s a fairly common pattern on the web. We use headings to better understand the context of different parts of a page.

Having clear semantically understandable headings is useful in understanding any given page however, we have to work with the web as we find it and a lot of it isn’t semantically structured at all for users.

The difference is minimal both kinds of pages can be extremely relevant to a question that they have. In turn our systems aren’t too picky and we’ll try to work with the HTML as we find it be it one h1 heading multiple h1 headings or just styled pieces of text without semantic HTML at all.

In short when thinking about this topic SEO shouldn’t be your primary objective instead think about your users. If you have ways of making your content accessible to them be it by using multiple H1 headings or other standard HTML constructs, then that’s not going to get in the way of your SEO efforts.

Updated on September 2022 

Not Having H1 Attributes Will Not Hurt Rankings

Making it clear once again about Google’s stand on H1, John Mueller, on a Reddit discussion, said that search algorithms will “never” penalize a website or a webpage for not using H1 within the body.

Having an H1 is part of a stylistic decision, and most of the time, website owners don’t have to bother much about it, as the titles within CMS platforms, by default, have an H1 attribution.John mueller reddit discussion

Not to forget, Google can understand the content better, thanks to its semantic and NLP algorithms. This means that even if the publisher fails to mark a heading as H1, the algorithm can determine the best title to use in SERPs based on different parameters.

However, he noted that hiding the H1 is a bad SEO practice, but he confirmed that it will not invite a penalty.

Importance of Headings in a Page

Headings organize web pages and make them easier for users to read. They’re larger and more distinct than the surrounding text, which helps guide the eye around the page. People with cognitive disabilities often have difficulty reading long blocks of text. Headings can help them understand and navigate a page.

To make information more accessible to screen reader users, you should use headings. Screen reader users can skip repeated blocks of content like headers, menus and sidebars by navigating through the page’s headings. Users can also listen to a list of all headings on a page and jump to any heading they choose.

To make your document easier to navigate, it’s best to plan a heading structure before you start writing. This will help you select appropriate heading levels and keep your thoughts organized. Headings are ranked from <h1> to <h6>, with <h1> being the most important heading on the page and <h2> representing subsections of the page content. Each sub-section can have its own sub-section with <h3> level headings and so on.

Every page should have an h1 header that provides the title for the page. Headings should not be chosen because of appearance but rather what makes sense in the context. In most cases, content editors only need <h2> rank headings and the occasional <h3> rank for exceptionally long or complex pages. Only for extremely long or complex pages would <h5> or <h6> be necessary.

Author

Dileep Thekkethil

Dileep Thekkethil, a Journalism Postgraduate, was formerly with a US-based online magazine, is the Associate Director, Digital Content at Stan Ventures. He is a frequent blogger who keeps a tab on the latest updates in SEO and technology arena. Reach me @Mail | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook or View all posts by Dileep

Comments

5 thoughts on “Multiple H1 Tags on Page is Perfectly Fine in SEO

  1. very interesting article, did you do any tests with duplicate H1? and the fact that the use of double H1 can decrease the ranking of the site? no mention of this

  2. Thanks for a very interesting article. My company’s site uses h1’s in our mega menu for accessibility reasons, and I was alarmed to learn that due to the liberal usage of h1’s on the mega menu we have over 80 h1’s in any given page. I understand John Mueller’s assertion that multiple h1’s is not an issue these days, but surely having that many h1’s that are unrelated to on-page content can’t be beneficial. One project in our backlog aims to revise the mega menu so it uses list elements instead of h1’s. Is this something we should prioritize?

  3. What is completely missing from this article is any reference to semantic HTML or accessibility best practices. You should have one H1 and only one H1 per page. It creates a hierarchy. No more, no less. ONE.

    1. Hi Nathan,

      We have added a new section that talks about the importance of heading tags. Thanks for the suggestion.

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