Skip to main content

H1 & H2: Why You Should Always Use Headers in Your Website Content

white printer paper on white table

Anyone who has read a newspaper or magazine understands the importance of a headline. The larger, bolder text grabs our attention and gives us an immediate understanding of what to expect.

Website headers work similarly, but because they’re digital, they’re even more powerful.

Not only do headers make online content easier for humans to understand, but header tags (like H1 and H2) also guide bots on how to categorize and organize content on search engines.

Let’s explore the importance of header tags and how you can use them in your marketing.

Why Use Headers on Your Website?

Benefits for Human Users

Formatting your digital content breaks up text chunks into more scannable content. Marketers understand that people don’t read entire blog posts or emails—instead, they scan for the most important information.

Providing headers within your content allows people to find what they’re looking for and get an instant summary of what the text is about. It’s all about organizing words into a form that’s easier to navigate quickly.

Finally, headers also make your website more accessible to all users. H1 and H2 tags assist screen readers in navigating through large website pages or blog posts

Benefits for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Headers aren’t just beneficial for humans—they’re also appreciated by robots. Specifically, bots who crawl the internet for search engines like Google greatly rely on header tags. 

Your website headers signal search engines what the page is about and what’s most important. Adding your target keywords to pages H1 and H2 increases the likelihood that you will rank higher on Google for those keywords

Google also understands that well-organized content is more helpful to its human users. So it’s more likely to prioritize pages that use proper formatting. 

How To Apply Header Tags on Your Website

Header tags like H1 and H2 aren’t just applied through the font size or weight. These are HTML tags that must be applied properly within your text editor. This might look slightly different for each editor, but most will look the same.

Here’s how applying header tags looks in WordPress’ Gutenberg editor:

This is slightly different from how header formatting looks within WordPress’ traditional editor:

Which looks vaguely similar to an email marketing tool like Mailchimp:

If you’re familiar with writing HTML, these tags are fairly simple:

  • <h1>Main headline</h1>
  • <h2>Secondary headers</h2>
  • <h3>Smaller header</h3>
  • <h4>You get the idea</h4>

The Difference Between Header Tags

H1 Tag: The Main Course 

The H1 tag is the biggest and most impactful—this is the page’s main headline. For this reason, you should only use this tag once per page. 

Focus on the page or blog post’s main topic and clearly state the central theme. Keep this short and sweet, like a newspaper article’s main headline. The H1 header for this blog post is: “H1 & H2: Why You Should Always Use Headers in Your Website Content”

Tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Studio help you to optimize your page headline or blog title. You can also think of an email’s subject line similarly.

H2 Tags: The Chapters 

Unlike the H1, you can (and should) use multiple H2 tags on each page—probably about 4-6, depending on the length of your content. 

Think of these as ways of introducing new sections within your content. Each H2 fits within the main topic presented within the H1. You can use similar keywords that you’re trying to rank for.

There are four H2 headers in this blog post, including the one for this section: “How to Use Headers Effectively.”

There’s no one universally accepted format for H2 headers. For example, some blogs capitalize each word, while others only capitalize the first word. Some use punctuation, and others don’t. The key is to be consistent; pick a format and stick with it.

H3 Tags: Sub-Sections

H1 and H2 header tags are the most commonly used but far from the only types of headlines. Header tags can descend down into H5 or H6, but these should be used sparingly. H3 tags are relatively common for nesting topics within an H2 header.

For example, the header for this section—“H3 Tags: Sub-Sections”—is an H3 header. Not every website page or blog post needs H3 headers, but it depends on how detailed you get. 

5 Tips For Using Headers

  1. One H1 Tag per Page: The H1 tag is the most important heading and represents the main topic.  Since it holds the most weight, there should only be one H1 tag per page.
  2. Clear and Concise:  Keep your header tags clear and concise, accurately reflecting the content of your page. It should be engaging for users and include relevant keywords.
  3. Header Hierarchy:  Structure your H2 and H3 tags logically. Imagine them as an outline for your content. Each H2 should build upon or elaborate on the main idea from the H1.
  4. Use Numbers: Readers love numbered lists (like this one). So including numbers in your headlines makes content easier to digest for people.
  5. Consistent Formatting: There’s no perfect way to format your headers, but the key is consistency. If you capitalize or bold these words, pick a theme to stick with.

How Do You Use Headers In Your Website Content?

Does your website properly use headers? Are there scannable headlines within your most recent blog post? If not, it impacts how people interact with your site and whether or not it’s ranking well on search engines.

Website header tags might be a simple concept to understand, but properly applying them requires real work. That’s where GreenMellen can help. We’re experienced in creating effective website content and blog posts that grow your business.

Connect with us today to discuss how we can help you.

About the Author

Robert Carnes

Marketing Manager

Robert Carnes is a freelance writer, published author, and professional marketer. His book, The Story Cycle, is your business's guide to becoming a better marketer. Robert lives in Atlanta and you can follow him on social media @jamrobcar.

View Robert's Profile

More from Our Blog

Switching Your Website Data From Google Analytics 4 to Fathom

There are many options when considering which platform to track your website’s analytics. Google Analytics is an option most of our clients use and many…

Read More
macbook pro on brown table

Common Marketing Problem: Unclear and Inconsistent Value to our Audience

Tell us if this sounds familiar: you know what your business does, but you have difficulty explaining it to people. Friends at parties ask you…

Read More
photo of woman showing frustrations on her face

6 Advanced LinkedIn Features to Take Your Account To the Next Level

LinkedIn is a powerful social networking platform for business leaders because it is specifically for professionals. It should often be the first social account to…

Read More
smartphone with linkedin app

Download the Free Resource

A Small Business Guide to Effective Organic Marketing

What is organic marketing and how does it work? We’ve got a guide that will show you how to grow your business like a house plant.