Home – New Forums Marketing mastery SEO and two heading 1 tags, yes or no?

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  • #1210664
    Byron Trzeciak
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    At the end of the day much of SEO and the advice given comes down to an individuals personal experience which is why it’s often so hotly debated.

    If you’re in a position to not be concerned about messing up your rankings then just try it and test it out for yourself.

    Test scenario A, force a crawl, add an annotation in analytics and sit back and wait.

    If still not clear, Test Scenario B, force a crawl, add an annotation and wait again.

    What I can say though, in the time you’ve spent worrying about this issue your competitor has likely written 4 pieces of content and is reaping the reward of being proactive not reactive. I’d expect the impact to be minimal whichever scenario and for that reason you’re better of spending your time on activities that bring business through your front door.

    #1210665
    Aidan
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    H1’s, H2’s pfffttt

    They’ve not been correlated with rankings for years now as far as I can tell. If it makes sense for the particular piece of content then I can’t see why there should not be more than one H1. Long piece of content/one page website…

    I honestly don’t see all this traditional old school stuff making much difference these days. Google has worked out some far better ways to rank content. It’s why we see little correlation between title tags and rankings now too, there are much better ways to work out the substance of content than looking at tags and headings.

    I’m not saying don’t do the old school stuff, I still do it myself for the most part anyway but it’s a fractional return on getting the content right.

    #1210666
    Zava Design
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    John Romaine, post: 251509, member: 39536 wrote:
    Zava you’re overthinking it.

    There are lots of things about SEO that “don’t sit well with me” including the way in which Google works, but unless you have an exact copy of their algorithm sitting on your desk then its always going to be a case of “best practice”.
    And that’s fine. But my issue is more with an SEO “expert” telling me (or anyone) that I need to do something, when there is no empirical evidence it is required. If someone wants to do it for themselves, go crazy!

    #1210667
    Zava Design
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    Aidan, post: 251513, member: 2298 wrote:
    I’m not saying don’t do the old school stuff, I still do it myself for the most part anyway but it’s a fractional return on getting the content right.
    I’m inclined to agree. And hence why it annoys me that this is put across as one of the key elements that needs to be changed when a site is analysed by most people.

    The issue for me here isn’t about spending inordinate time on trying to prove something or not (especially if it’s not something that can be proven if it doesn’t exist), it’s simply about wanting to base the information I convey to anyone I provide a service to on verifiable information and data. And at present I haven’t found anything that would justify informing a client that they should only have one H1 per page… apart from perhaps the accessibility angle, which I will delve into a little more.

    I don’t see how any of the above is trying to do anything but offer the very best service possible to my clients.

    #1210668
    goodsportz
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    Hey Zava, think of Google as someone meeting you at a party. Over a drink in the kitchen it asks you who you are, what you do, where you live and then it tries to figure out who else that it knows, that you know.

    But Google is no dizzy blonde. It doesn’t believe everything you tell it, (after all it wasn’t born yesterday). It wants you to prove it. That’s what Google likes.

    Now about the single use of H1’s. Clear H1’s help the algorithm know what you do, i.e. what this page is about. You can argue all day about what Google says you can, can’t, should or shouldn’t do. But do you really believe that Google will tell you how to rank? Google doesn’t share propriety information that people can use to help themselves rank! Expect to be misinformed and kept in the dark.

    The truth is, Google likes certain data structures, especially ones that make it easy for it to answer one of what I like to think of as it’s “meeting you at a party questions”. Remember Google is a machine algorithm. You confuse it as to what your page is definitively about when using multiple H1 tags, because it can’t make as much sense of your page without them, The real value in having clear hierarchical structures on your site, is that it allows the algorithm to clearly understand what the page is about.

    Then it still wants to know who you are, where you live and who you know that it knows, and it wants to confirm everything. It’s like being summed up at a party :)

    #1210669
    Zava Design
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    So can you provide empirical evidence/case studies that this makes a difference? I would love to see some, as everything else I do code/seo-wise I do based on this type of evidence & information.

    Hence you may understand why I question this (and would hope anyone does similar when confronted by a similar lack of evidence).

    #1210670
    Zava Design
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    And this is the crux of the matter: In some instances, SEO “experts” are charging clients to alter their site code to remove multiple H1 tags. If you’re going to charge someone for anything, you should be able to justify this with verifiable evidence. In my humble opinion.

    This is why this topic doesn’t sit comfortably with me at present (though also why I posted this thread, and am continuing to investigate further), no disrespect to anyone’s opinions on the matter (which I give thanks and appreciation for).

    #1210671
    Aidan
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    I disagree with notions of Google spreading fake info or acting like an infatuated teenager at a party. Google really does not care about H1 use as long as it makes sense in the particular context. They have stated that on a few occasions, here are two:

    https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/webmasters/BmyI8YX_25A/81hZNQFJDQAJ

    https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/852131231928135680

    #1210672
    goodsportz
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    Hi Aidan. The teenager at a party analogy demonstrates the sheer logic of why Google wants to know what it wants to know. It’s just a way for me to share my expert understanding of how Google acts and thinks, in a way that it’s easy for anyone to relate to. Think about it!. Google is like everyone else when they meet you, they want to know who you are what you do, what people it knows that you know and it wants to be able to trust what you tell it. Zava, you can stay righteous about wanting proof, but I don’t get paid to share proprietary knowledge with you, just to satisfy your not so humble opinion. Many people in this thread have given you very good reasons to use H1’s as they were intended. But you refuse to acknowledge the sense of what they are saying and instead bang on about SEO “experts” charging people to do what your against doing, for whatever reason your against doing it. At the end of the day, the ultimate proof is the rankings of your clients. Nothing else matters.

    #1210673
    Aidan
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    Hi Goodsportz,

    I’ve been in online marketing since before Google and have studied it and worked with it closely ever since both as an SEO and AdWords partner, I’m fairly familiar with how it works, hence my providing those two links which you might not have had a chance to read.

    The point being that if in your expert proprietary knowledge base there is something saying you should only use one H1, you’ll need to rewrite it as Mueller has confirmed more than once or twice. (See those links).

    So as Google themselves have confirmed in writing, you can have multiple H1’s if it makes sense. They don’t rely on H1’s to understand a page, that’s now done much more reliably than that.

    I’d have to disagree with your statement about Google not giving info that might help us to rank, that is most definitely very wrong. Surely you’ve seen Google’s own guide for beginners, the thousands of Q&A videos, the live hangouts, Webmaster Central, the blog and the myriad of helpful tweets from Illyes, Mueller and so many others. Why they practically shove the info down our throats because as Mueller sometimes says we share the same aim – getting good sites to rank well…

    btw – Its probably only fair to let you know that many here and at other Aussie forums have a dim view of anyone describing themselves as expert, guru or ninja. Maybe leave that for others to decide to be on the safe side, it’s possibly part of the old Aussie tall poppy thing but that’s just a guess on my part.

    Nice to have another SEO person here at FS, enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

    #1210674
    goodsportz
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    Hey Aidan, you make fair points and thanks for sharing those links. And agreed, Google don’t just use H1’s to understand what a page is about, there is a whole suite of signals they look for. But in all algorithms there is a sweet spot, where you get the most “points/score/tally” or whatever you want to call it, from the algorithms analysis of all the signals they are reading, and as SEO’s it’s our job to facilitate our clients getting the best score they can. Results I’ve seen suggest to me that the easier it is for Google to be sure of who you are and what you do, then the more likely you are to be rewarded with good rankings. In the context of this thread, if I had a client arguing with me about my recommendations on H1’s and casting aspersions on my integrity because they felt I was unnecessarily getting them to do work they didn’t need to do, I’d respectfully suggest to them that they don’t need my help because they clearly already know more about SEO than me, and I’d move on and help someone that isn’t going to tell me how to do my job. In my experience, clear structured data on the page (of which a clear H1’s is helpful in achieving) is advantageous for ranking. It doesn’t mean you can’t rank without it, sure, it depends on the strength of your competition on the phrase, (and the myriad of factors being crunched in the algorithm), but all other things being equal, a single clear H1’s that is bang on your target keyword, supported by a H2 H3 substructure, that gives a context to your subject matter, will give one page an edge over another. I mean Google actually requests structured data in webmaster tools. And businesses processing masses of data use schema to make sense of it. Google is facing the same problems and if you look into their patents, you see that they use similar approaches to resolving the issues of how to make sense of this data. Also your quite right, Google does share some useful points on how to produce content and give general information on what it regards as good content, but they don’t hand you the keys to the kingdom, and that’s what I meant when I said expect to be kept in the dark and mislead. I mean, why would anyone pay for Adwords if they could just rank No1! Googles IP is the secret sauce, that’s how they make their money and it’s in Googles interest for the keys to the algorithm to be kept secret. As evidence of this, consider the way they no longer share detailed information on keywords in analytics. Consider the way they stopped sharing page rank data and the way they have started implementing stealth penalties (ie no longer notifying people of penalties). All these changes have been made because they want to keep you in the dark. Seriously, I’ve had clients come to me that have done a bucket load of work following Googles recommendations but they still rank nowhere, and simply by taking that content and structuring and supporting it in ways that Google would never tell them to do, got them consistent top 3 results with local maps results across a swag of keywords, for years on end! What I’m saying is don’t expect Google to give you the secrets of how to outrank everyone else, they make their money by keeping that a secret, and getting you to say, bugger all this work on SEO, I’ll just advertise on Adwords.

    #1210675
    MikeDav
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    Hi Aidan,

    There are still CMS’s out there and templates associated with those CMS’s that allow multiple H1’s.
    Personally, I had a very old website for a number of years that had several H1’s on the home page and still outranked a lot of the competition. The site ranked number one for some quite competitive keywords so I don’t think the multiple H1’s did too much damage.

    #1210676
    Aidan
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    That’s my point Mike, Google have told us it won’t make any difference and indeed it doesn’t – you’re not disadvantaged by using more than one H1 – use as many as makes sense in your particular context.

    Others can argue all they like, just like those folk who believe that schema makes a significant difference to rankings, it doesn’t.

    It was a total surprise to everyone last year when a guy called Brian Dean did a large study of ranking factors and actually concluded that schema made no difference at all. It was no surprise to many of us but Dean himself and many lesser experienced people had expected it would be significant.

    Same goes for ‘social shares’ there are still people arguing strongly they are a ranking signal – they’re not… same goes for ‘time on site’ and other user engagement signals… they’re not used other than in aggregate testing and tweaking of the algorithms.

    I could go on about the many myths but in the end everyone has to get on with their own beliefs, even if they are completely baseless…

    SEO is a bit like religion in that regard :)

    #1210677
    goodsportz
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    LOL, none of my ‘beliefs’ about SEO are baseless, they are based on seeing what works, not what Google tells me works. How can you possibly believe everything they say is in fact true when their algorithm is secret and it’s secrecy is in fact the very way they make money? Man I was disappointed when I found out Santa wasn’t real, but it was something I needed to know. SEO is the same, it’s not about beliefs or righteousness, or what Google has said publicly, its about results! The only proof that matters is the rankings of your clients. If your clients don’ t rank top 3 and aren’t getting listed in the 3 pack – then there is still something to learn, and I know that the optimal use of H1’s and structured data on your site are in fact very useful.

    #1210678
    Aidan
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    Whatever works for you Goodsportz is fine by me though can you really be sure your observations are all down to H1′ changes or whatever other observation you want is really down to those factors?

    How can you isolate which factor led to what improvements? Rankings fluctuate all the time without any input from SEO’s or webmasters. That’s largely because our competitors are doing their own SEO potentially displacing us up or down depending on their own success and also because the algorithms are tweaked several times per week, there are losses or gains of backlinks we are not yet aware of on a day to day basis and constant changes in what link equity is passed over which particular links, there are other reasons too… but you get the point.

    Indeed it is client success that matters but I’d say not rankings so much as conversions. The SEO guys I know and deal with, all focus on maximising conversions or sales rather than rankings but each to their own. To my mind it is easy to boost ‘rankings’ but they matter little given the paragraph above and some queries produce lots of traffic but poor conversions…

    I’ve yet to see any evidence of Google lying to us, though for very obvious reasons it can’t give its entire algorithms away, not only would it potentially lead to more spam and more search competition but they’d have to update the info about 10 times per week – why would they do that!

    If you have any evidence of people like Illyes or Mueller deliberately spreading false info, can you please share it? It would be the first I’ve seen.

    Cheers

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