The Great H1 Debate

Josh Chambers, Former Viget

Article Category: #Strategy

Posted on

My colleagues and I have been discussing/arguing/throat-punching where to place the H1 -- does the H1 belong on the logo? Or as the page's title? It's a rather hot topic right now (great for happy hour and dinner partying), and I guess a bit hotter than I thought. Keith Tweeted about in which you vote for H1 placement via a Tweet...who knew?! Here's what I voted and why.


Historically, the H1 has been on the logo. However, I believe the H1 makes more sense on the title. Why? I'll limit it to four reasons:

  1. From a purely SEO standpoint, the H1 is very important. It tells the search engines what the page is all about. Keywords are super important in your header tags. With the H1 as the logo, you're rendering a powerful piece of SEO inneffective (unless you care only about your brand name).
  2. If I'm reading a report or viewing a presentation, I expect the header to be about that page. I don't expect the header to be the logo or brand name, nor to be identical across all pages. That would just be weird if my presentations all had "Viget Labs" describing every page/slide.
  3. SEOMoz (a very well-respected SEO resource) interviewed 37 SEO leaders, and they ranked keywords in H1's as the 4th most important part of SEO.
  4. Google produced their SEO Starter Guide and said "On a page containing a news story, we might put the name of our site into an <h1> tag and the topic of the story into an <h2> tag." However, the example of the H1 (the name of the site) they gave was "Brandon's Baseball Cards," which is actually very keyword-rich — unlike most logos/brand names (think "Viget Labs"). Additionally, on the next page Google says, to "Imagine you're writing an outline" and "Avoid placing text in heading tags that wouldn't be helpful in defining the structure of the page" — like a logo, for example? Does seeing the word "Viget Labs" over and over help "define the structure of the page?" I suppose you could answer "yes," but that just seems a bit weird to me.

There are lots of arguments against this, so I'd like to hear yours. We're still debating here at Viget. Do you agree? Disagree? Oh yeah, and don't forget to tweet #h1title or #h1logo to vote on

Commence flaming.

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