Understanding The SEO Meaning Of H1, H2, H3, H4 And H5

When I started blogging, I struggled to understand the meaning of H1, H2, H3, etc. so I wrongly used them. As you’ll expect the results were not nice at all.

Now, after years of experience, I understand the HTML Header tags better and it has improved my SEO results.

In this post, I’ll explain in detail the meaning of the HTML header tags and how best to use them.

What Are HTML Header Tags?

First, HTML means Hypertext Markup Language. It is the most common web language.

Although there are many aspects of HTML, our primary focus here is the HTML header tag.

Simply put, HTML header tags are the different types of headers available in HTML. These header tags include major heading and subheadings.

The Most Important Types of HTML Header tags

Although there could be many HTML header tags, in this section I’ll highlight only the most important ones.

The most important HTML tags are H1, H2, H3, H4, and H5.

Although there could be H6 or even more, H1-5 are the most frequently used and even recognized by the search engines.

Also, you must understand that the most important HTML tag is H1, next to H2 and H3 etc. The further down it goes, the lower the importance from the SEO perspective.

Now, let’s understand the meaning and how to use each of these HTML tags.

Meaning of H1 and How It Should Be Used

H1 simply means the main heading/topic/theme of any blog post.

In WordPress, you do not need to tag your topic as H1 as it is done automatically by default.

Ideally, there should be only one H1 in your blog post.

But you actually can actually add an H1 manually in WordPress for whatever reasons.

Nonetheless, it is not a good practice to have more than 1 H1 in an article.

Meaning of H2 and How It Should Be Used

H2 is the direct, major subheading to H1.

For example, Let’s say our H1 is 10 Places to Buy Soccer Boots Online. One of our H2 could be AMAZON.

Another H2 could be EBAY, etc.

Also, understand that, unlike H1, you can use as many H2’s as necessary.

Furthermore, H2s are the most important in-content header because Search Engines find it more comfortable to show H2’s as snippets on SERP than other headings.

Therefore, it is very important to use relevant, high volume keywords or key phrases in your H2s.

Meaning of H3 and How It Should Be Used

H3 simply means a direct subheading under H2.

Going back to our example of 10 Places to Buy Soccer Boots Online (H1), let’s try to develop one of our H2s, say AMAZON.

Under Amazon, you could have another subheading (H3) like How To Get Amazon Coupons on Soccer Boots.

Again, just like H2s, you can have as many H3s under a particular H2.

For example, under EBAY (H2), we could have another H3 – Major Techniques To Buy Cheap Soccer Boots On Ebay.

The point here is that for every H2, you could have as many H3s as necessary.

However, there may be no need for H3 if there is no need to have a major subjeading under any of your H2.

Meaning of H4 and How It Should Be Used

H4 is a subheading under H3.

For example under How To Get Amazon Coupons on Soccer Boots (H3), we could have an H4 titled Search For Online Coupons.

Ideally, you may not need an H4 in your content but it all depends on the structure of your content.

The point here is that, if you think there is a need to have a “subtopic” under a given H3, then there may be no need for any H4.

Meaning of H5 and How It Should Be Used

H5 is a subheading under H4 (…more like a subset of H4).

The idea here is similar to what we already established for H2, H3, and H4.

To be candid, in most cases, you really do not have to use an H5.

Also, bear in mind that H5 hardly shows up as snippets on SERP.


Using the appropriate HTML header tags in your content adds a lot of structure to it .Readers get to understand your content better.

Also, it improves your SEO especially when key phrases are used in H2.

Pointedly, your HTML header tags are what make up your table of content (if you have any).

To summarise, H1 is the main heading or topic of your writeup. H2 to H5 are hierarchical in-content subheadings.

In most scenarios, you only have to use H2s all through your content but if you have to further explain or breakdown your H2, then use H3. Use H4 to further explain or break down H3 and so on.

Also, take note that H2s are the most important to SEO because you can use many of them in your content along with key phrases. H3, H4 and H5 do not have as much importance to SEO but are pretty much useful to your readers.

Finally, you can learn how to appropriately use HTML header tags in Google docs.

Start using HTMLheader tags correctly and use this guide to correct all wrongly tagged hearder.

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