Conventional wisdom claims that, as copywriters, we have about five seconds to grab the reader’s attention and keep it. Five seconds is about the span of a heading. So you have a headline’s worth of time to reel your audience in, otherwise they’re back in the river. This is why headings and subheadings are so crucial to your overall SEO strategy. Let’s get to it: here’s how to optimise headings for SEO.
Why Should You Care About Headings?
Not only are headings important as attention-grabbers, they’re also important as structural signposts. They help guide readers through your content, breaking up logjams of text and indicating what people can expect from the next paragraph.
This is the internet age – you have to think in paragraphs. There’s no guarantee that a good opening alone will keep your readers in situ until the end of the piece. Headings allow your audience to scan the content, pick out the relevant pieces of information, and jump to those parts. On the flipside, that means you keep them on the page and lower your bounce rate. Win-win.
How Can I Optimise My Headings?
When you’re editing your article on a platform like WordPress, you’ll see different levels of headings in your text editor. These come in different sizes, ranging from H1 to H6, largest to smallest. You only get one H1 heading per page; save this bad boy for the most pertinent piece of information. It’s going to be the title of your post, or the product on a product description page. The headline, in other words.
How To Write Subheadings
As you’ve probably guessed, subheadings are all headings that aren’t the headline – styles H2 to H6. You can use these subheadings throughout the body of the text to introduce different sections. Any block of text larger than 300 words will probably require a new subheading.
H2s usually come at the beginning of new topics, while H3s can be used to further break up the content under that H2 umbrella. Unless you’re writing a really in-depth piece, your content will rarely require H4 to H6 headings as it won’t be dense enough.
Why Are Headings Good For SEO?
First up: you can maximise SEO by writing keywords in headings. Long-tail, short-tail – headings are ripe for all kinds of keywords. It’s the perfect place for them, as keywords are usually descriptive. So not only are headings a natural place for you to put them, they also let your readers know exactly what they’re looking at. Keep these simple, direct and straightforward.
Other than that, headings have an indirect impact on your SEO by keeping eyeballs on your page. It’s an accepted fact that if visitors don’t see what they’re looking for on your site, they’ll click off pretty quickly. Search engines pick up on this bounce rate and factor it in when calculating your ranking.
Bottom line: Always put your readers first! That way, you’ll always be aHEAD of the pack. (Heh heh.)