In print, writers use headlines and subheads to help readers quickly decipher what a page is about. Online, hierarchical XHTML tags serve the same purpose, only with an added twist. They let search engines know what a web page is about. As a content writer you can help your website content get found, by ensuring it is coded with the right hierarchical XHTML tags: <title> <h1> <h2> starting with the most important <title> tag and working down.
<Title> Tags Are Most Important to Search Engines
Title tags are the most important element on the web page for search engines. Search engine robots pull the contents of your <title> tag from your page and identify it as the most important information in the search result. Since many potential visitors won’t know your company name, it is important to include a keyword FIRST, in the title tag, not your business or blog name.
Use <h1> Tags for Headlines and Blog Post Titles
The <h1> tag is another important tag that helps tell the search engine what the page is about. For the greatest effect, a content writers should include specific information about your web page in <h1> tags. Consider putting a tagline in an <h1> tag on your home page, but lower down in the hierarchy on interior pages. Use an h1 tag for blog post titles.
Use <h2>Tags for Subheads
Content writers break up blocks of text with subheads to make the reading easier and more inviting. Placing subheads in an <h2> tag provides an opportunity for the search engines to learn more about what is on your page. When possible incorporate keywords.
In WordPress, sidebar headlines are typically given an <h2> tag, but depending on their relevance to search, you may want to move them down the hierarchy.
To maximize your website for search engines, write each web page with a clear focus and use the hierarchy of tags to guide the search engines to your content. To see how your page is currently coded view your source code (right click on the web page and click “view source”) and evaluate how you might better optimize your blog or website.
In this example below, Itasca Construction uses the “Commercial Builder|Chicago, Illinois”, as the <title> tag for the company’s home page instead of the company name. If you are providing copy to a webmaster, clearly label the text you want for the <title>, <h1> and <h2> headings.
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