Technical Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tip Most People Aren't Using/Doing & Probably Don't Really Understand Anyways
Did you know that H3's should hardly ever be used in your content pages?
I see a lot of people using them, without realizing that they draw away from your topical focus.
How? Because Google uses them from a technical standpoint to learn about your pages information.
What I see a lot of individuals doing is listing their services on their homepages in H3's. But does this really make sense?
Let's break it down!
Let's say your homepage keyword or topical focus for your homepage is "Painters in New York"
Your one job is to help Google understand that this page is all about how your page answers this query.
Now there are many ways people may look for "Painters in New York"
They may Google:
📌 Who is the best painter in New York?
📌 Affordable Painters in New York
📌 Painters in New York with the best reviews
📌How much is a painter in New York
So forth and so on….
But do any of these queries relate to Interior Painting, Exterior Painting, Roof Coating Services or anything other than Painters in New York?
They do not.
So what happens when you add an H3 as an additional service?
Your title, description, H1, first paragraph, first picture, first alt tag and first H2 all talk about you being a Painter In New York – which means your page is 100% aligned with your intent!
When you add an H3 with: Interior Painting, Exterior Painting and Roof Coating this happens!
You take away from your 100% signal alignment and start dropping the ratio of topical understanding, from a mathematical standpoint.
If we think of headings as a percentage of total topical value, it could easily account for 10% based on anecdotal evidence, meaning that if you have 6 services with H3's, you may have reduced the topical alignment by 60%. (Hypothetical math used to express the point).
So what can you do instead?
Easy. If you want to style your services as a heading, take the CSS from your headings and give those words a P Class that mimics a headings stylistic formatting.
Now they will look and feel like headings to a user but you will not take away from your compounded signal alignment.
Does this mean your homepage wont rank for every query possible? Yes it does.
If you want to rank for additional queries for interior painting, exterior painting and so forth, you would create external service pages with 100% topical alignment and interlink out from them on the homepage from the paragraph text you styled similarly to headings!
This in turn helps you teach Google about your internal service pages on a 1:1 understanding of alignment, rather than taking away from the topical alignment of the page you are trying to rank for.
[filtered from 80 💬🗨]
I wouldn't go for that, unless you're targeting a page for Just one exact correspondence Key. 👍🏽2
One page should always stay in alignment with it's topical reference, but aim to come up for multiple searches around that topic.
Example: A painter should not be trying to capture "Painters + City" and "Interior Painting" on their homepage.
Their homepage should be their highest volume KW with inverse wording, synonyms and proximal based values for THAT keyword. If you want to go after "Interior Painting" on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), for your city, use an interior page, and keep the topical alignment 1:1 with inverse wording, synonyms and proximal based values for THAT keyword.
Remember, Google is topic based now, not KW….which means you can come up for 10 keyword queries around the SAME topic with the same page….but something as different as your services, which are completely different per their topical alignment, should have their own page and come up for 10 keyword queries around that topic.
Or in other words for this example, try to come up on your homepage for:
Best Painter + City
Painter + City
Cost of Painter + City
and the interior page:
Interior painters + city
best interior painters + city
cost of interior painting + city
Pietro » Mew
I'm sorry, I Simply do not agree with this 'keyword' approach. I think It worked, but years ago. 👍🏽1
Mew 👑✍️ » Pietro
– Well this is a topical approach. A keyword approach would be creating a page for:
Which is not what I am suggesting at all. I am recommending adding all these inverse/proximal/Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to one page for a topical Search Engine Result Page (SERP) pop.
But in my opinion, and again it is just an opinion….the search intent for an interior painter and the best painter in a city is wildly different and deserves different pages.
I respect your thoughts though. It gives other people here the ability to compare and contrast 🙂
To test it, all you would have to do is Google "Dallas Painters" and "Interior Painters in Dallas" and see if you get the same SERP results. I gather you wouldn't based on my own research. 👍🏽2
I am actually doing thisin my blog but i do H3 headings to target other supporting keywords ..
For example my main keyword in this article is "best chest exercises for mass "
I put the keyword in the title, URL, meta description, images alt, then i target other keywords like "how to build your upper chest without going to gym" by putting them in the h3 headings ..
I am still a newbie in the hole SEO thing so please correct me if I'm wrong 😁
So, here's a good way to test this.
If you go to Google and type the query "Best Chest Exercises for Mass" and look at the results and then type "How to build your upper chest without going top the gym" do you get the same results for websites/articles as "Best Chest Exercises"? In my head I would assume not.
This is most likely because the "best chest exercises for mass" is a much different intent than "how to build your upper chest without going to the gym",
I would expect far different information on these two subjects as there is some overlap but no where near the same topical alignment and I personally wouldn't put a heading focus on the latter.
What would make sense to me, personally is to have an article about "the best ten chest exercises for men" and then at the bottom say "Stuck inside during COVID19 and want to build your upper chest without going to the gym? Learn more" and anchor link out to ANOTHER article about building your upper chest without going to the gym.
Just my thoughts and opinion based on keywords and topical alignment. 👍🏽💟🤯6
Charafe » Mew
Ooh i understand that you prefer to target the keyword by writing a separated article ! It's a good way but what i can't understand is how to target a secondary keyword in the same article? Is it even possible? 👍🏽1
Mew 👑✍️ » Charafe
– Your secondary Keywords would have to have a topical alignment. Let me give you some examples:
Main KW = Best Chest Exercises for Mass
Secondary KW = Building a Bigger Chest, How Compound Lifts Help You Build A Bigger Chest, Workouts for a Bigger Chest, Chest Workouts for Strength, Regiment for a stronger chest
Synonyms for mass = bigger, tougher, stronger as per Google
Synonyms for Workout = Routine, Regime as per Google 👍🏽💟3
Charafe » Mew
Now i can see my fault ! Thanks for making it clear 😁 .. Last question and sorry for my stupidity 😛 .. When i try to target them , do i need to focus on muting them in the headings or just mentioning them in the paragraph will be enough? 👍🏽1
Mew 👑✍️ » Charafe
H1 = Best Chest Exercises for Mass
p= This article will walk you from start to finish through the best chest exercises for mass, and will have you leaving the gym looking like a murder hornet stung your pecs.
h2 = #1 – Building a Bigger Chest Starts with Compound Exercises
p=Ever seen the guys in the gym with huge pecs? Wondered how they built a bigger chest in such a short period of time?
h2= #2 – Your Regiment Has a Lot to Do With A Stronger Chest
p= The old saying is right; what you do daily will show. Having a great regiment has a lot to do with building a stronger chest, and will set the foundation for years to come.
Etc etc etc 👍🏽💟5
Charafe » Mew
I can't use words to thank you .. I really appreciate your help sir 💜 👍🏽1
I like your P class idea and agree with it. But I think we all need to be careful about those H2 and H3 tags. Correlated data from CORA indicate that variations of the primary key word, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) words, and entities are all important to include in H2, H3, H4 tags. They are big ranking factors. But like I said, I see inappropriate use of H tags all of the time and you're on point with respect to that. 👍🏽2
It all comes down to what I am a huge proponent of….testing.
When I go through a website and remove h3-h6 tags, I see huge SERP gains for the actual search queries.
How to get actual search queries? Run Google Ads to the page and see what people are actually searching and not what keyword tools are recommending you use. Nice little trick I picked up a while back since keyword planners are only half accurate at best 🙂 👍🏽1
Robert » Mew
there's no question that people are clueless when it comes to using H tags. Almost no page is deserving of an H5 or an H6 tag. I just evaluated a major personal injury firm in Los Angeles and they had H1, H3, and H6 tags only. And all of their tags were shit. The H tags are meant to help structure a story and create the flow that is supposed to be present in the content. But nobody uses them that way. They just kind of throw them up and hope for the best. 💟1
Mew 👑✍️ » Robert
– That is also what I see. A lot of our clients h3 tags when we get them will also be things like "Learn more about us" "Our Testimonials" and used purely for styling.
One of the biggest mistakes I see to be completely honest. H tags were never meant for styling. You CAN style them but one should always keep in mind that Google uses them for a specific purpose. 👍🏽1
I use H3 all the time for a FAQ section at the end of a post. Is that bad?😔 👍🏽1
Mew 👑✍️ » Julia
– Not if the FAQ relates to your keywords.
H1 = Pest Control in New York City
H2 = The Best Pest Control Services Near You
H2 = Frequently Asked Questions about Pest Control in New York
H3 = How much does pest control in New York cost?
H3 = What are common pests In New York?
A page of this length would need to be roughly 2000 words though 💟1
Thank you, that’s exactly what I do. 👍🏽💟2
I’m glad you’re not Vlogging about this and teaching your Girlfriend. 😃 🤭2
– Not sure what you mean bud 🙂
Rienzi » Mew
hahaha some other SEO pros (I wont name who) video themselves teaching their girl how to do SEO. 👍🏽1
Mew 👑✍️ » Rienzi
– Oh lord lol really? No thank you. Hard enough for me to explain to people who know what I’m talking about haha
Rienzi » Mew
Hahaha. This particular guy is good but for some reason clowns around and thinks it’s good branding. I guess it’s how it is. Anyways, I’m a fan of what you preach and I feel your passion for your craft. Kudos to you good sir! 👍🏽1
Interesting you refer this as a technical SEO tip. I’ll keep that in mind.
Technical SEO is defined as " The Aspect of SEO Focusing on How Spiders Crawl Your Site and Search Engines Index Them". I would however consider this on-page, as well, though. 👍🏽2
Kim » Mew
good to know.
What about H4-6? Useless? Or keep it still on main keyword? 👍🏽1
– There’s no reason to use H4 through H6 bud.
You would need a very long, in depth article or page. 🙂 👍🏽2
Doing this with a client right now. 👍🏽2
Works like magic, doesn't it.
Steve » Mew
I've seen it work, as long as the client implements it correctly I'm certain it will 👍🏽2
Mew 👑✍️ » Steve
– Agree. If they half butt it or don't take it seriously, they will create an even bigger problem.
Steve » Mew
yeah. Well this client has some wacky H2s as well. Things like login and everything that has no place being an H2 🤭1
Mew 👑✍️ » Steve
– You gotta do a note on this bro. I am not sure how we were in 2020 and people are still using headings for stylistic design first and not as a secondary. 👍🏽1
If the topical focus for my homepage was “sloth gifts”, are you suggesting it would be better to keep my H2’s and H3s somehow focused on that keyword, rather than try to get all sorts of longer-tail versions of the homepage (ex. Sloth gifts for her, sloth gifts for him, best sloth gifts, etc.)?
If my head keyword was sloth gifts, what might be an example for a good use of H2 and H3 headings? 👍🏽2
Sloth gifts + for her or + for him still are within your topical entity because your main keyword is [Sloth Gifts] for her and for him are modifiers, not separate keywords 🙂
This is a very useful post, Mew, so much so that I went to begin implementing it on my own site today. But then something occurred to me – certain user groups rely upon headings to navigate the page and to skip certain repeating page sections (e.g. sidebars).
So, if we remove all but the top two headings from a page and replace them with paragraph tags we are doing a disservice to people who use screen readers in particular. These user groups might well struggle to skip to or skip over sidebar and footer content. In many countries there are requirements laid down in law regarding website accessibility so I would personally be wary of knowingly making changes to a site that negatively impact accessibility for certain user groups. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts!
Update: perhaps the solution is to add ARIA role attributes to our faux headings to give them the same semantic function as headings? Or will Google still treat them the same as actual headings under those circumstances?
Headings | Usability & Web Accessibility
– Can you show me an instance of what page might need a heading beyond an H2?
The intention of this post is to outline how an H2 should be an informative heading about the keyword or topic being referenced.
The content should be written section by section, preceded by the H2 that is relevant to the information below it in the topical alignment.
Only in very slim instances should you ever need an H3, or in my opinion would you use an H3 for navigational purposes if your H2’s are laid out correctly.
I can speak more intelligently on this however if shown the page of course 🙂
Matt » Mew
in your view, if the the highest volume search for the window cleaning niche in Ottawa is "Ottawa Window Cleaning", and "Window Cleaning Ottawa", would you either:
1) Create a separate heading (H2's or H1's) for each as exact-matches, then write original content for each; or
2) Choose one of the two, and then use variants in other headers, like "Professional Window Cleaning Ottawa", etc.
3) Something else?
Also — do you stick to using one H1 per page?
Ian » Mew
It depends upon the nature of the page but the linked document gives an example of using h3 for supporting sub sections. I'm not necessarily saying that my page needs to use h3, but from a semantic perspective I would consider sidebar content to consist of supporting sub sections like the news page in the example.
I need to do some more testing and research to see if I can find a workable alternative but my hypothesis is that if we remove headings from the sidebar then we impair accessibility. Alternatively, if we use h2 in the sidebar then I think you're saying we need to make sure the text is on topic, but this might not be the case for common sections that appear across multiple pages (such as blog categories). In that case, am I right to say your suggestion is to turn it into a stylized p tag?
Headings and landmarkss
Mew 👑✍️ » Ian
– Hey bud,
Thanks for taking the time to respond. The reason I recommend against H3's are because people don't understand fundamentally how they're suppose to work semantically and technically. I actually use them all the time. Here's an example of an article in which I did:
and here is why…
For this article my main keyword is "Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them 3"…long, but it's a movie title so has a lot of searches coming out.
My h1 = "Fantastic Beasts 3" and "Fantastic Beasts 3 and where to find them"
My h2 ="Fantastic Beasts 3 Release Date", which is a sub topic of the keyword
My h3 = "Is Fantastic Beasts a Trilogy", which is child of my h2 keyword and "Trilogy" is synonym for "three" or "3" and hits a similar query still related to the topic.
Another h3 = "What Will Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3 Be Called?" which again is a child of my h2 with a topic about Fantastic Beasts 3 but still answering a similar query related to the topic.
So, it is not that I don't use h3's, it's that most people don't understand how. Your h3's on the page you showed me above have nothing to do with your articles actual intent my friend, they are random wording and don't apply to the topical entity as a child of the h2, in my opinion.
So yes, in your example it would be a stylized p tag.But always Test Test Test. These ideologies are just what my tests have provided me with 🙂 👍🏽1
Thanks for the detailed response, Mew. I completely understand what you're saying from an SEO perspective. All that remains is for me to establish whether I can implement this in a way that doesn't negatively impact accessibility. Out of interest – have you tested a p tag implementation in a non-visual browser?
Mew 👑✍️ » Ian
– I unfortunately have not bud. I wanted to dive more into accessibility this year because I’m sure it will come to the US soon as a requirement but COVID19 has distracted us all at the office from that goal. If you test it, I would love to know what you uncover and if it is possible to blend the SEO aspect of it with accessibility. I think both are extremely important. Maybe you could pioneer the solution!
That sounds awesome, Mew! I'm confident that between us we can engineer the optimum solution to satisfy requirements in both camps! 😀 👍🏽1
A lot of people do it because H3 "looks the best". That's an easy CSS fix, but that oversight has a huge SEO dent if you don't know the difference. 👍🏽1
Very very informative discussion. Gives a good insight to use of H1,H2, H3 etc. Will be keen to know more about this.
Also, can any one share a good reference article where we can see the ideal use of H1, H2 or even H3 tags. This is give us a more practical example of how it should be done. 👍🏽1