Heading vs Title Tags

Contents

Heading vs title tags: How to leverage them for SEO

In this article, we focus on two significant tags (title tags and H1 headers) and their SEO importance.

To be sure we on the same page, here are the actual HTML tags we are talking about:

  • Title tag: <title></title>
  • H1 Header tag: <h1></h1>

What are the differences between Title Tags and H1 Headers?

Title

The Title Tag is a meta tag: it's in the head of the page, that is not part of the actual content. You won't see the title tag on the page, other than at the top of your browser screen. 

title tag on browser tab

The title tag is relevant for SEO for two reasons:

  • It's a hint to Google what your page is about
  • It is shown in the SERP as the link searchers click on to visit your page.title tag on serp

When someone also bookmarks the page, the Title Tag provides a default bookmark title. Bonus! The Title Tag does not appear anywhere in the body of the webpage itself. The primary purpose of the title tag is to help convey the information to the search engines about the page is dedicated to. The keywords used here help promote a specific page and boost its ranking in the search results.  See the example below for more information.

Heading or H1

On the other hand, a Heading or H1 is visible on the page. In other words. It's usually the most prominent text, and tells a visitor what to expect on that page.

Here is the example of H1 on the main page of a website:

heading 1 on page

Why are title and H1 Headers tags significant?

Both Title tags and H1 Headers are essential for both Google and users as they determine the kind of impression search engines and users have with your content. From the user side, both Title tags and H1 Headers represent the first experience users have with your content. 

On the other hand, Title tags help search engines understand what your content is all about. For the H1, which is the headline of the page, Google gives it more attention because it is the largest thing users can see.

How to write H1 Headers and Title Tags

It is effortless to come up with the right titles for these tags. We recommend asking yourself the following before you write titles for these tags:

For the title in the Title Tag

When people search for my keywords, what does my page title need to express in order to assure them that my page contains relevant content? Put that title in the Title Tag.

For the title in your H1 Header Tag

Once they are on your webpage, how will you present the page’s content? Put that title in your H1 Header tag. It is that simple

Common Best Practices

  • Try to place the keywords early in both tags;
  • Use only one H1 Header per webpage;
  • Avoid keyword stuffing: use the keywords only once within each tag;
  • Include the page’s primary keywords in both tags;
  • Keep both titles short (50 characters or less recommended);

The Title composition guidelines

  • The headline should be catchy enough to catch the user’s attention;
  • The recommended number of characters is 60-70. More characters will not show up in Google's SERP;
  • Place significant keywords closer to the beginning of the Header;
  • The dilution of the main queries with low-frequency queries is allowed;
  • The use of question enumeration is not recommended;
  • Transactional words like “buy”, “order,” “price”, and so on should be used;
  • The title must motivate the user to go to the website;

It is allowed to capture as many queries from the page as possible.

The H1 composition guidelines

  • The H1 Header can be used only once on the page;
  • The length is usually up to 50 characters; 
  • The H1 subject intersects exclusively with what is discussed in the text section;
  • You can’t over spam with queries;
  • You can use a frequent question that did not fit in the title;

Note that the H1 headers and Title tags do not have to match. Although often they intersect in their meaning and contain identical queries.

Used properly, these two tags can increase your position in search engines. At the same time, when misused, they can negatively hurt your ranking and sometimes lead to penalties. So, if seriously looking to leverage these tags for SEO, make sure to use them appropriately.