Category Archives: Copywriting

The Key to Optimized Content: Heading and Paragraph Tags

In my recent post “How Important is Written Content on a Website?“,  I said that Google encourages well-organized content using the heading and paragraph tags. It’s worth filling in some detail.

HTML Tags

Web pages are made of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) tags mostly hidden from visitors. When you write content for the web, you should understand two important tags: heading tags and paragraph tags.  Even if you only write content and don’t create web pages, these tags are important offering several advantages.
  • Consistent Appearance Throughout Your Site When heading and paragraph tags are used, text styles can easily apply to all pages. It keeps the appearance of your text consistent throughout your site.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Search engines use heading tags to find headlines and the important words on your site.
  • Usability When your words are organized and have a consistent appearance, it’s easier for visitors to scan your pages and find information.
  • Site-Wide Updates with Cascading Style Sheets CSS is the current standard for designing and updating the appearance of web sites. It makes for faster page load, site-wide consistency and easy updates.

Writing for Heading and Paragraph Tags

Heading tags (<h1>, <h2> up to <h6>) begin sections and subsections of written content. They are usually displayed as headlines. Paragraph tags (<p>) create areas of regular text, you know, paragraphs. They are usually displayed as blocks of smaller text below headlines.

Use One Top-Level Heading per Page

For Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the top-level heading tag (<h1>) is most important. Search engines give more weight to this headline. You should have only one top-level heading per page. This is not a strict rule, but it’s a good rule of thumb for the content of a page.

Subsections Should Use Heading 2-6

After the first headline, other heading tags mark subsections of a page. They are sub-topics of the main headline for the page.

Include Keywords in Headings

Include a few important keywords  in your headlines. Search engines give a little more weight to text in heading tags.
Keyword
Any word or phrase your customers use when searching for your company, product or service on a search engine.

Headlines for People

Aside from SEO, headlines are important in any advertising copy. Most people scan web pages and read the headlines. Some read more, but almost everybody reads the top headlines. Here’s what advertising legend David Ogilvy said about headlines.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
—David Ogilvy
Headlines are important for visitors, not just search engines. They should be compelling, intriguing or useful to your target audiences.

Paragraphs

Under any headline, paragraphs provide information relevant to the headline.

Organize Content in an Outline

If possible, organize page content in an outline like this. (The indentation below is included to better show the subsections. It’s not meant for regular use on websites.)

Top Level Headline (Formatted with <h1>)

Paragraphs, pictures and video related to the main subject of the page.

Second Level Headline (formatted with <h2>)

Paragraphs, pictures and video related to this headline, which is a sub-topic of the main subject of the page.

Third Level Headline (formatted with <h3>)

Paragraphs, pictures and video related  to this headline, which is a sub-topic of the second level headline.

Third Level Headline (formatted with <h3>)

Paragraphs, pictures and video related to this headline, which is a sub-topic of the second level headline.

Second Level Headline (formatted with <h2>)

Paragraphs, pictures and video related to this headline, which is a sub-topic of the main subject of the page.

Third Level Headline (formatted with <h3>)

Paragraphs, pictures and video related to this headline, which is a sub-topic of the second level headline.
You can use headings 1 to 6, nesting each subsection within higher level sections. This outline format is not super critical, but for all the reasons listed above, it’s a good practice when you can.