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H1, H2, H3 Placement
Posted 23 January 2006 - 04:27 PM
Question for ours "standards" folks out there:
Since I personally don't care about H tags for SEO purposes, it really doesn't make much difference to me how we use them, or whether we use them at all. (Most of my sites don't use them because we don't build them from the ground up.) However, this site will have a typical page something like this:
Major Headline For Page
Subhead, sort of like a tagline describing the page
Body of page will be probably like:
Paragraph blurb of copy
Paragraph blurb of copy
And so on.
The developer originally spec'd it out so that the Major headline was H1, and the subhead tagline was H3, with the bold headlines in the body as H2.
Am I correct in thinking that to do it via w3c standards the subhead under the main headline should be H2, and the one in the body text should be H3?
I don't care either way, and neither does the developer, I just always had it in my head that it would be that way.
The W3c page is not all that specific.
How would you guys do it?
Posted 23 January 2006 - 05:02 PM
So, for instance:
H1: topic of the page (aka the title of the term paper)
H2: major topic #1
H3: sub topic #1.a
H3: sub topic #1.b
H2: major topic #2
H2: major topic #3
H3: sub topic #3.a
H4: sub-sub topic #3.a.1
H4: sub-sub topic #3.a.2
H3: sub topic #3.b
That's how I'd do it, at least.
Posted 23 January 2006 - 05:04 PM
I think the flow works better that way, since the two bolded headlines are sub headings of the main headline AND include content, when the heading under the H1 is just a step up from content.
Posted 23 January 2006 - 05:17 PM
Opinions on the use of the H tags vary, but to my mind, the H tags are used to introduce the sections of the page's logical structure. They need to be organized in a hierarchy, from most important to least important within each section. When you jump directly from an H1 to an H3 without an intervening related H2, you break the hierarchy.
My high school English teacher would have rejected any outline I submitted that attempted to use that kind of structure.
Things like a tag line don't belong in H tags, IMO. Keeping them out of the H tag hierarchy leaves the H tags free to do what they're supposed to do -- and facilitiates any adaptive devices that might want to use those H tags to help their users navigate/understand the organization of the page content.
Posted 23 January 2006 - 05:19 PM
If this is a matter of the look of the page, just create a class of h2 called "subhead" or something like that, and style it as you like for the specific position of sitting right under the h1. For example, you might want to reduce its top margin and padding from the default.
Posted 23 January 2006 - 06:02 PM
I know it looks ugly, but that is the idea.
In the old days, before anyone cared about search engines, a lot of pages were organized like this. Then frames came along and got people to thinking in a non-linear fashion. We really haven't gone back.
Jill's relegating Hx tags to the trash bin doesn't hurt anything. I think the search engines do a good job at looking at other ways that page content is organized (better now than they a few years ago).
So that's why I say Hx tags are not required, but they are still very helpful, at least if you don't mix your signals.
Posted 23 January 2006 - 06:09 PM
I will confess to using the lesser headings for features like a tagline or sidebar text, but Torka's para styling is really the better way to go.
Posted 23 January 2006 - 06:23 PM
Me feeling was that the one right under the main H1 heading probably didn't need to be a header tag either, but then I thought...well if all those SEOs think that the H's might still help, it probably wouldn't hurt to have it be one.
Like I said, it doesn't matter to me whether any of 'em are H's, but the developer and client seem to like H's since that's what all the SEOs around the world like to talk about. (Without Meta tags, it seems everyone is at a loss these days for something to say that will help with SEO!)
But it is kind of cool getting to design things from the ground up, so we might as well do things right.
Posted 23 January 2006 - 09:48 PM
The W3C code validator never issues warnings or errors for Hx tags, so using them is optional but recommended. The Hx tags have semantic meaning. We don't know how much the SE's pay attention to Hx or will pay attention to Hx in the future. It's easy enough to format Hx tags with CSS. Headings help make copy-dense pages more readable or skimable. That is reason enough to use them, no matter what the SE's think.
Footnote: When you have the opportunity, I strongly recommend validating all pages. Dreamweaver has a button that will validate an entire site at once. When your code is clean, regression testing is so much faster. Nearly 99% of developers think validation is a waste of time. Wrong. Validating saves tons of time.
Posted 23 January 2006 - 11:35 PM
Well you can do that through the use of bold or different font sizes too, so I don't really buy that one.
Posted 24 January 2006 - 12:06 AM
The first choice tells you this is a header. You know what it means, you know where to use it, and where not to, so a year or two down the road, when you do a redesign and change the formatting of that bit of text at the top of the page, you just change the h1.
The second choice uses less characters than the first, and you can use the CSS to format it the same way you would have formatted the h1. But what does <b> tell you, semantically? What is this tag being used for? It's the old tag for bold, but that doesn't mean anything structurally, and even if it did, it wouldn't have to. You just use it to create a line of text that looks a certain way. So when you change the CSS later, be sure to remember that, because it's not going to be self-evident. And if you style the <b> tag to really look like that header, remember to make it a block-level element. But that means you won't be able to bold other text on the page using that tag. No biggie. You'll figure it out.
The third choice is just a waste of code. Why create something when you don't need to?
Posted 24 January 2006 - 12:16 AM
But if you're doing it all through a CMS does it really matter? It's not like you go in later by hand (like we're used to) and make little tweaks and changes.
Posted 24 January 2006 - 12:29 AM
Posted 24 January 2006 - 12:39 AM
Posted 25 January 2006 - 03:25 PM
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