(Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes)
Here’s an interesting email I received concerning on-page SEO
html structure and its effect on search results:
I finally have a minute to reach out. We haven’t spoken since you left your comment on my site. I haven’t had a chance to review the hRecipe plug in [sic] and all the updates you made. Could you please advise if the layout now has the option of tagging the <post type> titles and subtitles to H1?
After a few back and forth emails concerning whether hRecipe plugin for WordPress should, by default, use the h1 element for recipe titles, we turned to Google.
What says the Big G?
Let’s take a look:
Matt Cutts states in this video that multiple
h1 elements is something Google watches for, and may penalize if the useage doesn’t make sense.
Since Google gets to decide what makes sense, I’m keeping hRecipe titles marked up as
Also, and this is important, hRecipe is open source under the GPL. Everyone is free to modify, or have someone else modify the plugin any way they see fit.
Arguments for and against multiple
People arguing for multiple
h1 invoke Google’s ambiguity (as of 2009), the lack of a definite standard for structural elements in HTML, etc., and how multiple
h1 results (apparently) get better results for them.
People (i.e., me) arguing against multiple
h1 elements can’t seem to come up with arguments much better than “Based on my professional experience as an information architect working on the web since the early ’90s, multiple
h1 is a bad idea. And, it doesn’t make any logical sense at all, either.”
A slight digression… Being intimately familiar all the arguments for or against some contentious issue makes one an expert on the arguments.
It does not make one an expert on the issue itself.
Perhaps you are now at that success point where hiring professional SEO help makes sense. I recommend the folks at SEOMoz. I’ve met Gillian Muessig personally and can vouch for her professionalism. Scott Hendison of Seo Automatic is another excellent SEO professional. (Note: I do not have affiliate relationships with either, I simply respect their expertise.)
The upshot: If you’re worried about how many
h1 elements (and they are elements, not “tags”) on your web page is best for SEO, you should purchase professional SEO help. Or, you need to run your own SEO experiments (which is what professional SEO people do) and figure out how many
h1 elements work best for you.
More about On-page SEO
The really cool thing about on-page SEO is it’s in our control. We can choose whether to use
h2, or what keyword density to write against, or whatever.
I took a look around the web (that means I searched Google) for the latest and greatest articles. I didn’t find much I haven’t already written about (Read through the Building Traffic archives). This article showing 4 graphics illustrating on on-page SEO by Rand of SEOMoz was an interesting and highly relevant exception. As it turns out, getting the simple stuff is still important, but even more important, is good writing.
Content is still king!
And WordPress makes delivering that content easier than ever. I’m happy to be an Amazon affiliate, and even happier to recommend Professional WordPress from Wrox. I use it myself.