Google SEO expert John Mueller has provided a clear explanation of how Google uses H1, H2, and all HTML headers during a live chat. In his explanation, Mueller – who confirmed a few days ago that linking to relevant web pages does not affect SEO – shows how Google recommends using header tags to sort content and not so much to enter keywords.
Google SEO expert John Mueller explained how Google uses headings for SEO
In the early 2000s, headlines (H1, H2, H3…) were big ranking factors. It was mandatory to use the keywords in them to better position the content.
This changed a while ago, however, many SEOs continue to worry about this practice. Adding keywords to headlines has become an SEO routine, an action that is done without thinking.
Here’s a video of Mueller’s talk in which he was asked about heading tags:
After being asked about the headlines, Mueller begins his answer by talking about routines. In his words:
“In general, I think headlines are a bit overrated in the sense that it is very easy to… get into a lot of theoretical discussions about what the optimal headlines should be.”
It goes on to explain that the Google engine reads the content as it was set by the author. That is, you seek to understand each paragraph and the headings that follow and precede them.
“At Google, we use headings in search terms. But we use them only so that the reader has a better understanding of the content “.
According to Mueller, the belief that inserting the keyword in all H1s is a ranking factor, and that H2s are more important than H3s in terms of ranking, should be displaced, according to Mueller. The common belief is that the most important keywords should be placed in the top headings and the least important in the others.
Although the order of the headlines was a ranking factor 15 years ago, in Mueller’s words, “this factor, from my point of view, is not that important.” In his words, headings would no longer be a positioning factor and would simply become a way of organizing content.
Mueller explains that headings should be used for long text content. Instead of using headings as a way to introduce keywords into the document, they should be used to organize the document and offer as much information as possible about the content (whether it be text, images or videos), this way it is easier to find information within the text.
He also states that: “The heading tags have been featured on every ranking factor list. However, if you look at the SERP pages (Google results), you can see that this is not the case. The proper use of labels has changed. The usage should be focused on helping search engines understand what that content is about. ‘
A keyword heading may position you, but it’s not really the weight of the word, but rather that Google understands content better, Mueller said.