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Should Title And H1 Tags Be The Same


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29 replies to this topic

#16 Randy

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 08:17 PM

I guess Barry and I fall into pretty much the same camp. Though I tailor my <title>'s for users and not search engines, even though I know the search engines use them in their algo's. I do take into account that the search engines are going to use them and make sure my keyword phrases make it into the title somewhere.

To me the real difference between the two are that titles show up in the SERPs, so should be used to attract the users attention and thus their clicks. Something that entices them.

For headlines I consider them to be the first step to break users out of Search & Destroy mission. That one is tough to explain without going into stuff that's completely off topic, but suffice it to say I think we can all agree that Internet users are bombarded by advertisements and all sorts of things clamoring for their attention in levels that boggle the mind. Some studies I did on the subject a couple of years ago indicated that the average 'net user got hit with 500+ offers per week. If anything the volume has gone up since then.

And that's the main reason people get themselves into Search & Destroy mode without even realizing it. They don't have a minute to devote to each of those offers, so they make very quick (and sometimes wrong) decisions based solely upon impressions they get in the first 5 seconds.

Thus I use titles to attract that first click, then use headlines to break users out of their Search & Destroy routine, hopefully getting them into the actual copy.

#17 SEO FF

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 08:33 PM

So to re-ask the secondary question, is it safe or will it work against a website to have similar title and H1 tags?

#18 qwerty

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 10:19 PM

I see no reason to think it's not safe, and I see no reason to think it will work against you. However, what Randy's describing above is probably more likely to lead to conversions. If I have a choice (that is, I'm not using a CMS that's going to force me to have the same content in title and h1), I'll almost always make them different. I'm almost always going to at least put some branding into the title, and that's going to set it apart from the h1.

But if I'm dealing with pretty heavy competition for rankings, I may (I have, a few times) leave branding out of the title, optimize the page for a single keyword phrase, and even make the title and h1 identical.

#19 SEO FF

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 10:34 PM

QUOTE(qwerty @ Jul 29 2009, 11:19 PM) View Post
I see no reason to think it's not safe, and I see no reason to think it will work against you. However, what Randy's describing above is probably more likely to lead to conversions. If I have a choice (that is, I'm not using a CMS that's going to force me to have the same content in title and h1), I'll almost always make them different. I'm almost always going to at least put some branding into the title, and that's going to set it apart from the h1.

But if I'm dealing with pretty heavy competition for rankings, I may (I have, a few times) leave branding out of the title, optimize the page for a single keyword phrase, and even make the title and h1 identical.


That is understood. Before I went crazy trying to make these changes, I wanted to get a few points of view on how others utilize their H1 tags. I think I have received satisfactory answers to my initial question and I thank you all for helping me get through something so simple.

#20 Randy

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 06:33 AM

I also don't think having identical title and h1's will harm a site where SEO is concerned. I've never seen any evidence to support the notion, and frankly it would be silly on the search engines part if it did since so many blogs/cms' out there automatically set them to be identical or very, very similar.

So not necessarily optimal from the marketing perspective, but not a necessarily a no-no either.

#21 mal4mac

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 07:02 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Jul 29 2009, 09:19 AM) View Post
... it really limits what you can do with your Title tags because they don't need to be a nice readable headline like whatever you have in your H tag should be.


Good point! I often have a title like "Widgets - Red Widgets - Blue Widgets", which wouldn't make sense as a <h1>. If you like like being systematic, you could then have "Widgets" as <h1> and "Red Widgets" and "Blue Widgets" as <h2>.




#22 Jill

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 09:22 AM

QUOTE
but I always thought it was viewed as an essential piece to on page optimization.


Yes. Lots have always thought that, which is how Seo Myths spread.

#23 piskie

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 12:32 PM

I have tested this a number of times over the years, though I must admit the last time was almost 3yrs ago. Each time Hx tags in a proper document structure were advantageous. So consistently so that I stopped checking just before Christmas 2006.

I have been following that "Good Practice" ever since in the certainty that it is no detriment and in all probability will remain an advantage. What I have never checked is the situation with Title and H1 being absolutely identical. I would be interested to hear if anyone has any results for this.

#24 maleman

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 06:41 PM

QUOTE
So to re-ask the secondary question, is it safe or will it work against a website to have similar title and H1 tags?


I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't be safe, I do it. Don't get crazy with your on-page optimization and you should be fine.

#25 jbosari

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 03:35 AM

I have been doing SEO grunt work for marketing agencies and the instructions they send me are not clear on the topic. Usually I make them different, assuming that WordPress makes them different for a good reason...and I have never been asked to change that practice. I'm dying to see how this discussion turns out.

#26 suzstephens

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 03:54 PM

Some time ago I read about a (German?) study that found that Google wasn't paying much attention to H1 tags. And then today, a client sent me a pdf publication he'd received about SEO that advised 1) not to use h1 tags and to use h2, h3 etc. instead. He also advised repeating the title tag keyphrase(s) in the meta description tag.

Jill, was your earlier comment that H1 "doesn't have a purpose in SEO" reflective of the above study or your experience, or what exactly? I've Googled extensively trying to find confirmation of this concept but have turned up nothing but advice to use the conventional h1, h2, etc. structure.

For what it's worth, I've used identical or very similar keyphrases in title, meta description and h1 tags that resulted in highly ranked pages. Apparently the practice works OK.

On one site that I was just reviewing, I used identical or very similar keyphrases in title, meta description, h1 and h2 tags; it comes up on page 1 Google for even the most competitive keyphrases and in 1st or 2nd position for some of the less competitive keyphrases.

So, I'm wondering if it's worth the effort to go back and change all my h1's to h2's and h2's to h3's.

#27 qwerty

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 04:16 PM

I've never read any study indicating that h2 carries more weight than h1, and it doesn't make any sense to me that it would. The purpose of an h1 tag is to describe the content of an entire page. As such, it's a lot like the title tag, although not exactly the same. Even if the particular HTML element isn't used, a headline describing and introducing the page ought to carry more weight than a subheadline describing a section of the page, which is the purpose of an h2.

And if a search engine algo were set up not to give any extra weight to a page's main heading, why would it give extra weight to a subheading?

I'm not claiming here that h1 absolutely gets special attention. I use it because it makes sense structurally for the page. But I can't believe that an algo would give h2 more weight than it gives h1. It just doesn't make sense.

#28 Jill

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 05:54 PM

QUOTE
So, I'm wondering if it's worth the effort to go back and change all my h1's to h2's and h2's to h3's.


Definitely not!

If you do, it's likely you won't notice any difference whatsoever, but why fix what isn't broken?

QUOTE
Jill, was your earlier comment that H1 "doesn't have a purpose in SEO" reflective of the above study or your experience,


Everything I say is based on my own experience, unless I state otherwise. I don't care how many studies say something unless I see it with my own eyes many times over.

That said, it sounds awfully silly to me that an H2 or H3 would be better than an H1 for SEO purposes. Silly, silly!

#29 suzstephens

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 08:09 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Aug 18 2009, 06:54 PM) View Post
If you do, it's likely you won't notice any difference whatsoever, but why fix what isn't broken?


Thanks Jill! Gosh, I hate to miss out on doing all that monkey work.\ phew.gif


#30 Michael Martinez

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 03:21 PM

There is a hypothesis that made the rounds a couple of years ago that Google might be devaluing H1 content because so many people were trying to abuse it.

I never found any evidence to support that. Hx headers are just one type of page markup that provide emphasis and Google has said it looks at them as part of 200+ factors used in determining relevance and importance.

As Jill said, it's not worth going back and changing anything. You can pretty much ignore all so-called studies that claim H1 tags do or do not help with search engine optimization. None of them are worth anything.

They should be used for page structure when it's appropriate. Let the search engines take it from there.





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