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Should the Product Name be in the Heading?

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In a Google’s Office Hours hangout, John Mueller answered a question about how to use heading tags for pages about products.  It’s a good question because Google’s own SEO Starter Guide doesn’t specifically address the use of heading tags for product pages.

This is the question that was asked, which is actually a paraphrase by John Mueller:

“HTML Semantics versus SEO Optimization. The question kind of goes into on e-commerce product pages… should the title of the products be marked up as a heading?”

Screenshot of Google’s John Mueller Discussing Headings

Google's John Mueller discussing heading tagsJohn Mueller answered:

“From our point of view that’s totally up to you.

From purely a technical point of view, it can be the case the the product is a heading on a page. I think that makes sense in a lot of cases because you have kind of your business maybe as a heading, you have the product or the kind of the product that it is as a heading.

That seems to make total sense from a semantic point of view. So that’s kind of what I would focus on there.

So less trying to squeeze kind of semantics into what works well for SEO but rather trying to do what makes sense from a semantic HTML point of view.

And usually that maps fairly well to search as well.”

Google Developer Pages on Headings

Google has published an explainer article in an SEO Starter Guide with suggestions about the proper use of headings.

The main point Google makes is to use the heading to describe what a block of content is about.

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In the case of the first heading at the top of the page, the block of content could be the entire web page, with subsequent headings describing the individual sections of that page.

Google advises:

“Use meaningful headings to indicate important topics, and help create a hierarchical structure for your content, making it easier for users to navigate through your document.”

Google also advises writing headings as if they were the outline of the web page.

Ideally, one should plan out what a web page is about and what the different sections of the web page are about and create an outline of what is to be discussed.

That outline can form the basis of what the headings for each section will be.

Google’s advice on headings:

“Similar to writing an outline for a large paper, put some thought into what the main points and sub-points of the content on the page will be and decide where to use heading tags appropriately.”

Bringing that all back to figuring out how to use the heading for a product page, it’s perfectly fine to use the name of the product as the heading.

For example, if someone is looking for an umbrella from a specific brand, it makes sense to use Acme Umbrella as the heading.

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There are many ways to do it, too. For example if the title tag of the page is “Acme umbrella” then the heading could be “Acme umbrella (assorted colors)” or you can just repeat what is in the title tag, up to you.

The goal though should be to accurately describe what is in the section of content that the heading describes.

The goal should never be to use the heading for seeding keywords that you want to rank for.

Citation

Google Explainer on how to use headings

Should Product Name Be in a Heading?

Watch John Mueller answer how to use headings for a product page at the 42:33 Minute Mark

Searchenginejournal.com

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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