Did you know the H1 Tag and the Title Tag are two different elements when it comes to HTML code? Not only are the tags expressed differently, but they also show up in different places on your website. For those looking to leverage their content, the technical aspects of SEO — like H1 Tags and Title Tags — must be optimized. Many website owners are missing out on traffic and qualified users simply because they aren’t using their H1 Tags and Title Tags to best serve their audience and help search engines discover and define their content.
What’s the difference?
Let’s start with how each tag element is expressed:
H1 Tag: <h1>
Title Tag: <title>
Next, let’s review where these tags appear in the code and on the internet:
H1 Tag: This element appears on individual webpages as large text, typically indicating the title of the page. In some cases, web managers bold this text to emphasize its importance.
Title Tag: This is what appears in the SERPs as a hyperlink. Text tends to be positioned below it, describing the page the title links to. This tag also appears in the tab bar at the top of your browser window. These tags do not appear on the webpage itself. Below is an example of MDPM’s homepage Title Tag and SERPs hyperlink and description.
Why are these two tags so important?
Search engines determine what your website and web pages are about based on the Title Tags, H1 Tags, and various other factors. It’s imperative that your website has relevant, up-to-date Title and H1 Tags for search engines and users.
MDPM uses the same text for the Title and H1 tags on their homepage. However, their H1 is not shown on the homepage. For purposes current to this post, MDPM has decided to use visual prompts to inform and educate their potential clients.
Title and H1 tags on homepage: “Website Design and SEO for Dentists”
How do H1 and Title Tags impact user experience?
Most optimization focuses on appeasing search engines. Keep in mind that search engines create and update their algorithms with the user’s experience in mind. Why do you think they constantly update and improve on their original releases? It’s to grow closer to the user’s needs and desires when using a search engine.
Sure, there are some technical aspects a user will never know about or see in regards to your site, but focusing on the user is going to get you ever closer to gaining the loyalty and advocacy great patients love to show.
Consider your own queries (searches) in search engines. You’re looking for an answer to a specific question or information about a specific person, place, or thing. Most users like yourself aren’t there to waste time and peruse the internet of things. So, how does that impact your searching habits?
If a hyperlink and description to a website on the SERPs doesn’t potentially answer your question or offer information related to your query, you skip over it. Users tend to look for words or synonyms that relate to what their looking for in the SERPs. Their intent is to find an answer or closely related information. This is why Title Tags and H1 Tags must work in tandem to provide the best user experience possible. With the two tags working as a pair instead of separate parts, you increase your chances of gaining potential patients.
If a user does click on what they consider a questionable link in hopes that it will fulfill their search need but don’t find what they’re looking for, they go back to the SERPs to find another link to click on.
So, how do you ensure the user your information is what they need? How do you reassure them that once they’ve visited your web page, the information they need is on the page? Consider the advice below:
Title Tag: presents relevant information to search query, assuring the user that the information they need is on the page linked in the SERPs
H1 Tag: introduces the web page content and reassures the user that the page they’ve found does have the information they need
A major part of attracting users to your website is assuring and then reassuring them. You do this with Title Tags in the SERPs and H1 Tags on your web pages. (And great, valuable, easy-to-digest content, of course.)
Can H1 and Title Tags be different?
The short answer: Yes. These two tags can be different. They can also be the same. Most CMSs auto update the Title Tag for each page based on the H1 marked on that page, as well. Leaders in the SEO industry also mention that it’s OK for these two tags to be the same. This doesn’t mean that you should create different text for a pair of tags to stuff more keywords, because it won’t help your user, only the search engine. To remind you, the Title Tag is what appears in SERPs, and the H1 appears on the web page. Think of the kind of user you want to attract. What kind of questions will they ask that your page will answer? What kind of information are they looking for that your page will provide?
Consider creating the tags in tandem, assuring and reassuring the user what they will find on your site is what they’re indeed searching for.
“Even the best SEOs are not magicians. They can’t simply place a site at the top of the engines when there are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of others that offer basically the same thing, and provide basically the same information. If they could, you’d see a whole lot more millionaire SEOs.”
– Jill Whalen – highrankings.com