In earlier days of search marketing, SEOs often heard the same two best practices repeated so many times it became implanted in our brains:

  1. Wrap the title of your page in H1 tags
  2. Use one — and only one — H1 tag per page

These suggestions appeared in audits, SEO tools, and was the source of constant head shaking. Conversations would go like this:

“Silly CNN. The headline on that page is an H2. That’s not right!”

“Sure, but is it hurting them?”

“No idea, actually.”

Over time, SEOs started to abandon these ideas, and the strict concept of using a single H1 was replaced by “large text near the top of the page.”

Google grew better at content analysis and understanding how the pieces of the page fit together. Given how often publishers make mistakes with HTML markup, it makes sense that they would try to figure it out for themselves.

The question comes up so often, Google’s John Muller addressed it in a Webmaster Hangout:

“You can use H1 tags as often as you want on a page. There’s no limit — neither upper nor lower bound.

H1 elements are a great way to give more structure to a page so that users and search engines can understand which parts of a page are kind of under different headings, so I would use them in the proper way on a page.

And especially with HTML5, having multiple H1 elements on a page is completely normal and kind of expected. So it’s not something that you need to worry about. And some SEO tools flag this as an issue and say like ‘oh you don’t have any H1 tag’ or ‘you have two H1 tags.’ From our point of view, that’s not a critical issue. From a usability point of view, maybe it makes sense to improve that. So, it’s not that I would completely ignore those suggestions, but I wouldn’t see it as a critical issue.

Your site can do perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags.”

Despite these assertions from one of Google’s most trusted authorities, many SEOs remained skeptical, wanting to “trust but verify” instead.

So of course, we decided to test it… with science!

READ MORE @ MOZ