Hey Good Folks,
I'm thinking of making a slight change in my HTML for SEO purposes. Currently, I'm using my H1 tag for my tagline (identical in each page of the site) and H2 for the on-screen header of the page (unique to each page). Take a look at www.drumdr.com.
As my understanding of SEO improves, and I target specific and distinct keywords with each page, I've decided that I should switch around my usage of H1 and H2 tags. This way, my tagline (which has great keywords for the website as whole) still gets some good juice with the H2 tag, while each page's specific keywords get the attention they deserve with the H1 tag.
I have two questions: Does this make good sense? What are the implications, in terms of prominence (H2 will come before H1)?
Thank you in advance for any light you can shed.
My advice would be to use H1 for the main title of the page's content (that is, where you have the H2 now) and not use a heading at all for the site title. I would just put that site title as text in a div or something.
Using h-tags as they are meant to be used, is probably the best strategy. Anything that looks spammy is bound to have a negative influence sooner or later; probably sooner.
I gather you agree with ralph.m, then - go with H1 for the page header (currently H2) and plain text for the tagline . . . correct?
I'm still trying to get a better handle on prominence, though. Let's assume I go with H2 for the tagline (currently H1) and H1 for the page header (currently H2). How would having H2 placed above and before H1 affect keyword prominence?
Just forget about trying to fiddle your way up in the rankings, and concentrate on providing helpful content that reads easily without strain. Nice, logical subsections, with logical, relevant tags.
With all due respect, at this point I've heard and read that admonition enough times that it's like being told "keep your eye on the ball."
I've worked hard at providing good, meaningful content, which is something the spammy sites that rank above mine cannot say. I'm working at fine tuning my website in every way possible in an effort to offset my disadvantage of not having deep pockets.
I plan to continue to populate my site with original, valuable content AND adopt all the best practices in its implementation - as I learn them. That's why I posted my questions in the first place.
Thank you for all your feedback.
It doesn't make sense in terms of page structure to have an H2 above the H1. I used to do that myself, but after reading views on it, I decided that it was better not to use a heading for the site name at all, but simple text inside a div. It's not really the site name that you need to stand out on each page. It will feature in search results anyway.
Yes, I've been having nagging doubts; that's why I sought advise. I'm going to try your suggestion. Then I can use H2 for secondary keywords heading the subsections benbob has mentioned.
It doesn't really make any sense. In case you want to switch the keywords better switch them instead of switching the Header tags. H1 is meant to stay on the top and if you mess around with the tag placement i guess things could go haywire from SEO perspective.
That's probably because it is a fact.
Even if you would be able with a lot of keyword/h-tag fiddling to get a better ranking today, it would only be very temporary. Google algorithms improve by the day, and "penalties" against aritificial rank bumping become increasingly stricter. The days of "metatag magic" are over, as are the days of keyword stuffing. "Spammy" sites that rank higher than your site, probably do so due to either having better content than your site (in the eyes of Google) or simply by using blackhat.
I used to experiment with adding keywords until it stopped improving my ranking, and have found that today, there is very little gain from "stuffing" even when stronly diluted to low percentage. Even on a high content page (1000+ words), there is no discernable difference between 5 and 10 keyword repeats.
Shuffling h-tags has equally low impact. Apart from that, it can have a seriously negative effect on your conversion rate. Traffic is only the means to the end of sales. Even if your traffic goes up, but your readers are put off because the content is awkward to read, you're loosing out.
I'm only trying to use tags the best possible way, while respecting all the rules. It never occurred to me that this might be seen as "artificial". Has it really gotten to the point where placing keywords in H1 tags is a complete waste of time?
Believe me, I've looked into it. The sites I'm referring to are totally salesy with little or no value for the visitor other than offering them a sale. You may be right about the blackhat, or I may be right about their deep pockets enabling them to undertake massive backlink campaigns - or both. I can think of one site that does offer some great content, but they've copied and pasted someone else's work (though they do, at least, give due credit). My content is painstakingly researched and original.
As far as I'm concerned, that's how it should be. I cruise the web a lot, and I'm put off by sites that read like crap. On the other hand, I believe there's well crafted sites that integrate relevant keywords in such a way that the content is meaningful, informative and engaging. That's my goal for my site.
I really appreciate that you've taken the time to offer your feedback benbob. Thank you.
Using H-tags is not a waste of time. Apart from being an excellent instrument to supply releveant headers and sub-headers, Google does take note. Just not to the degree that tags did years ago. H-tags are now one of the 500+ factors, so NO single factor is of crucial importance.
Apart from that, if H-tags don't correspond with the text in that subsection, chances are that neither Google nor your readers will like it.
Add all the above up, and you come to an outcome where there simply is no benefit in making a song and a dance around H-tags to try to artificially squeeze a bit of extra seo juice out of them.
If, on the other hand, you write a truely helpful and informative page about one sub-subject, spread over 4-6 logically following sections (most important one first) and you use H1 to H4 (or 5 or 6) as an indicator what that section is about, you are more likely to get the appreciation of both Google and your readers.
This is then also more likely to be quoted and re-posted by people with references to your site. Those links are likely to be on relevant sites, with natural anchor text, and those are the kind of links Google DO look at.
For example: your page about African drums can be more structured and each section can have a H-tag describing that section e.g. H1:African drums (NOT dumdoctor) H2 African hand drums, H3 African stick drums, H4 African mixed drums
That way, the whole page is about African drums, the contenst is about them, and the H-tags match it.
If I were a search engine algorithm and found 10 pages with the same Drum Doctor H1 tag and those pages had no text relevant to "doctor" I would start ringing the spam-bell and push the blackhat-alarm button.
What a lot of people forget, is that Google is one of the richest companies in the world, hiring the best talent that money can buy in this world, and a significant part of that best talent in the world does nothing else than designing algorithms that eliminate the efforts of people that try to bypass their algorithms to gain undue prominence in the serps.
Your site isn't bad, but in terms of drum information, there is room for a lot of extension and improvement. I'm not saying that to "put you in your place", but to encourage you to put a lot more structured info on your site, tart it up with a host of relevant pictures, and gain Google love that way.
Not only will more info + better info raise your ranking in the serps, it will also gain appreciation from visitors and build your trust and authority levels, which will raise your ranking, which will lead to more vistiors, which...... and so on.
To misquote Edison: 1% rocket science and 99% effin hard work.
Forgot to mention: you can gain a little bit of seo juice and make your site look better by optimising your images.
You may want to invest 10 bucks in David Amerland's 20 atep seo help book, you'll love it.
I hope to work on all of the above. It'll take a good while just to get it done, since I work on my site when I can. Then it'll probably take several weeks or months to see the results of my efforts, if any.
If this thread hasn't been closed by then, I'll post an update.
What your doing is perfect. The best way. I don't even put my page logo in an h2. Just an anchor. Google knows what your page is called. Using it as your h1 is a waste. Google wants to know what your page is about. I have read and tested this more than most.