Everything you could ever want to know about the role and importance of HTML headings in Web documents, including blogs

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Yeah, I know: that’s a ridiculous claim. And an awfully long blog title.

And yeah, I did just finish reading CopyBlogger’s series on Magnetic Headlines.

What got me on this HTML Headings kick

HTML HeadingsEarlier today I was looking at a friend’s blog while we chatted about it on the phone. He’s shelling out some serious coin to have a marketing firm optimize his blog content, and he wanted some feedback. I was happy to oblige.

The blog’s authors are doing a great job writing compelling articles.

And for the most part, they’re doing a good job of inserting subheadings in all the right places.

Why subheadings matter, in a nutshell

Subheadings are extremely important for many reasons.

  • They help visual readers scan for meaning.
  • Search engines use subheadings to index the structure and content of Web pages (i.e., subheadings give you SEO juice).
  • And for vision-impaired users utilizing assistive technologies (screen readers), subheadings (and headings) are essential tools.

But wait… those aren’t subheadings!

So imagine my surprise (shock?) when I learned (thank you, FireBug) that what looked like subheadings in my friend’s blog were not subheadings after all! They were one-line paragraphs wrapped inside HTML “strong” — and, in some cases, HTML “bold” — tags.


Don’t take my word for it.

Structural HTML is a large subject. HTML headings are one small but important piece of it.

I’m not really going to tell you everything you could ever want to know about the role and importance of HTML headings in Web documents, including blogs in this blog article.

What I am going to do is offer an annotated list of online resources which address the topic. And I’m going to add to the list over time.

Plus, I invite readers to suggest resources, in the comments below.

Online resources about HTML headings

Come back often. This list will be growing.


Another benefit to using headings is that search engines generally give priority to keywords that are formatted with the H1 or H2 tags, because the use of a heading tag implies that the text has greater importance on a page.

Yoast on Headings:

The heading structure of your pages is one of the very important aspects of on-page SEO.


Search engines use your headings to index the structure and content of your web pages.

Document Outlines at HTML5 Doctor

Document outlines have changed a bit in HTML5. For a start, they’re actually in the spec! The HTML5 Doctor is here to explain what document outlines are, how to make good ones, and why you should care.

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About JeffCohan.com

The nSiteful Tech Blog (the official blog of nSiteful Web Builders, Inc. since January of 2013) is where I (Jeff Cohan) and (occasionally) associates will be posting articles of potential interest to like-minded techies, nSiteful clients who are playing active roles in the maintenance of their own Web sites and blogs, and pretty much anyone interested in how Web strategies and tools can help them reach their goals.

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About Jeff Cohan

Jeff and his wife, Margie, are the proud parents of Sarah and Jake. Jeff is the founder, president and chief cook and bottle washer of nSiteful Web Builders, Inc., a Web development and Internet Consulting firm. In his spare time, Jeff builds Web sites and Web applications, plays guitar, putters around in his basement woodworking shop, mercilessly spoils his grandchildren, and creates videos from more than two decades of home movies. His current video project is an extended montage of people (mainly family members) asking him to stop filming them.

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