“Do The Headings Right But It Is Not Something You Are Required To” – John Mueller

Heading tags is an important SEO factor that most SEOs know about and apply to their site. SEO Tools also give importance it. Read what Mueller has to say.
Marie Aquino
January 15, 2022

In the Google Search Central SEO Office Hours last January 14, John Mueller was asked about the use of heading tags and whether to use them hierarchically or if they can just be used randomly.

The attendee has mentioned that he analyzed Mueller’s blog and Google’s documentations and he saw that Google uses heading tags properly.

Mueller responded that first of all, we should not assume that just because Google does something, that it is the best way to do it.

Across all their sites, there are people with various level of SEO related knowledge and not everyone focuses on all of the details and does it all perfectly.

The same is the case with the bigger websites. So many people are always involved that you can’t assume that everything they do is perfect, even if they rank number one for some of these queries.

With regards to headings, Google does use them to understand a little bit better what the content is on the individual pieces of content and it helps if you have hierarchy on the page.

But the bigger effect that can be seen is with regards to usability, especially with people with screen readers or other assistive devices that rely on these headings to understand the page and kind of know where within the page they need to go.

Because of these, it is something where he would say if you are going to work on headings on your pages, you might as well do it right and often, it does not take a lot of extra work to figure out how to do the hierarchy right.

His recommendations would be to do the headings right but it is not something where you are required to do that right.

We have tested the use of htags and found that the use of H1 is part of the critical ranking factors. Most SEOs will also tell you to use your htags well and most tools analyze the htags and make particular recommendations on it.

While Mueller mentioned that it is not a requirement, he does recommend the use of htags and to use them hierarchically. As he has mentioned, Google uses them to understand the content a bit better.

In addition, it is also used for acessibility.

We have mentioned time and time again that search engine robots are like the blind that cannot see and rely on whichever they read on the page, to understand what the content is about. Making your site accessible helps not only the visually impaired, but also search. And Google is always for making the web a better place and by doing this, you make your site better for anyone who visits it.

It may not be a requirement, and Google may not have outrightly said to go do it, but it is still considered best practice and could help search understand your site better, users who visit your site read and understand your content better, and could help you rank, in addition to all the other factors, of course.

Like Mueller said, it does not take a lot of work to do it right.