Google’s John Mueller says that headings are a “bit overrated” in terms of SEO and that their primary purpose is to “frame” the text beneath to help search to understand the context of a page.
Heading elements used to be a primary ranking factor in the early 2000s, and keywords within them were seen as essential to ranking on the first page of a search engine.
However, things have changed a lot since then and headings no longer carry such weight, though SEOs still worry about the best way to include them.
Speaking on a Webmaster Hangout earlier this week, Mueller said that it’s easy to get pulled into theoretical discussions about the optimal method.
However, he said that H1, H2, H3 headings are no longer really relevant for ranking purposes and should instead tie into the overall piece with the aim of explaining what the text is about.
Mueller added: “And that helps us to better understand how to kind of frame that piece of text, how to frame the images that you have within those blocks.
“And with that it’s a lot easier to find… the right queries that lead us to these pages.”
Mueller says that keywords in headings do not have any influence on rankings now but that heading tags can help Google to understand content better.
This does increase the likelihood of content featuring higher in SERPs but is by no means essential.
Moving forward, webmasters and SEOs should therefore focus on using headings to communicate what a piece of content is about.