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Google Says H1 Headings Are Useful but Not Critical

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On a Google Webmaster Hangout someone asked about the role of H1s on a web page. John Mueller responded that heading tags were good for several reasons but they’re not a critical element.

SEO and H1 Headings

One of the top rules for Search Engine Optimization has long been adding keywords to your H1 heading at the top of the page in order to signal what a page is about and rank well.

It used to be the case, in the early 2000’s. that adding the target keyword phrase in the H1 was mandatory. In the early 2000’s, if the keywords were not in the H1 heading then your site might not be so competitive.

However, Google’s ability to understand the nuances of what a page is about have come a long way since the early 2000’s.

As a consequence, it is important to listen to what Google’s John Mueller says about H1 headings.

Can Multiple H1s be Used?

The context of the question is whether a publisher is restricted to using one H1 or can multiple H1 heading tags be used.

This is the question:

“Is it mandatory to just have one H1 tag on a web page or can it be used multiple times?”

Google’s John Mueller answered that you can use as many H1s as you want. He also said you can omit using the H1 heading tag, too.

John Mueller’s answer about H1 heading tags:

“You can use H1 tags as often as you want on a page. There’s no limit, neither upper or lower bound.”

Then later on, at the end of his answer, he reaffirmed that publishers are free to choose how they want to use the H1 heading tag:

“Your site is going to rank perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags.”

H1 Headings Useful for Communicating Page Structure

John Mueller confirmed that H1 headings are good for outlining the page structure.

What he means is that the heading elements can work together to create a top level outline of what your page is about. That’s a macro overview of what the web page is about.

In my opinion, a properly deployed heading strategy can be useful for communicating what a page is about.

The W3c, the official body that administers HTML guidelines, offers an HTML validator that shows you the “outline” of a web page.

When validating a web page, select the “Show Outline” button. It’s a great way to see a page just by the outline that your heading elements create.

Here are Mueller’s comments about the H1 heading element:

“H1 elements are a great way to give more structure to a page so that users and search engines can understand which parts of a page are kind of under different headings.

So I would use them in the proper way on a page. And especially with HTML5 having multiple H1 elements on a page is completely normal and kind of expected.”

H1 Headings and SEO

John Mueller went on to reaffirm that the lack of a headings or using many H1s was not something to worry about. This is likely due to Google doesn’t need or require H1 headings to rank a web page.

This should be obvious to anyone who works in digital marketing. Google’s search results are full of web pages that do not feature H1 headings or that use them for styling purposes (a misuse of the heading tag!).

There are correlation studies that say that XX percentage of top ranked sites use headings. But those studies ignore that modern web pages, particularly those that use WordPress templates, routinely use Headings for styling navigational elements, which will skew those correlation studies.

Here’s what Mueller observed:

“So it’s not something you need to worry about.

Some SEO tools flag this as an issue and say like Oh you don’t have any H1 tag or you have two H1 tags… from our point of view that’s not a critical issue.”

H1 Headings Useful for Usability

Mueller’s on a roll in this answer when he begins talking about heading tags in the context of usability.

I have found that, particularly for mobile, heading tags help make a web page easier to read. Properly planned headings help communicate what a web page is about to a user and visually helps break up a daunting page of text, making it easier to read.

Here’s what Mueller said:

“From a usability point of view maybe it makes sense to improve that. So it’s not that I would completely ignore those suggestions but I wouldn’t see it as a critical issue.”

Takeaways about Heading Tags

1. Use as many H1 heading elements as you like
2. They are useful for communicating page structure to users and Google
3. Heading elements are useful for usability

Updated: About Mueller’s Response

I read some feedback on Facebook that was critical of Mueller’s response. Some felt that he should have addressed more than just H1.

I believe that Mueller’s response should be seen in the context of the question that was asked. He was asked a narrow question about the H1 element and he answered it.

Technically, Mueller’s answer is correct. He answered the question that was put to him.  So I think  John should be given the benefit of that consideration.

However, I understand why some may say he should have addressed the underlying reason for the question. The person asking the question likely does not understand the proper use of heading elements.

If the person knew the basics of the use of heading elements, they wouldn’t have asked if it’s okay to drop H1 elements all over a web page. So that may have needed to be addressed.

Again, not criticizing Mueller, the context of his answer was focused on H1 elements.

The Proper Use of Heading Elements

I would add that the proper use of all the heading elements from (for example) H1 to H4 is useful. Nesting article sub-topics by using H2, H3 and sometimes H4 can be useful for making it clearer what a page is about.

The benefits of properly using H1 through H4 (your choice!) in the proper way will help communicate what the page is about which is good for bots and humans and will increase usability because it’s easier to read on mobile.

One way to do it is to use H1 for the main topic of the page then every subtopic of that main topic can be wrapped in an H2 heading element. That’s what I did on this article.

Should one of the <H2> subtopics itself diverge into a subtopic of itself, then I would use an <H3>.

<H1> Main Topic</H1>

<H2> Subtopic A<H2>

<H2> Subtopic B<H2>

<H3> Subtopic to B</H3>

<H2> Subtopic C<H2>

Heading Elements and Accessibility

The heading elements also play an important role with making a web page accessible to site visitors who use assistive devices to access web content.

ADA Compliance consultant, Kim Krause Berg, offered these insights from the point of view of accessibility:

We use one H1 tag at the top to indicate the start of the content for assistive devices and organize the remainder from <h2>-<h6> similarly to how an outline would appear.

The hierarchy of content is important for screen readers because it indicates the relationship of the content to the other parts of content.
Content under headings should relate to the heading. A bad sequence would be starting out with an <h3>, then <h1>

Heading Elements are More than a Place for Keywords

Keyword dumping the heading tags can mask the irrelevance of content. When you stop thinking of heading tags as places to dump your keywords and start using them as headings that communicate what that section of the page is about, you’ll begin seeing what your page is really about. If you don’t like what you see you can rewrite it.

If in doubt, run your URL through the W3C HTML Validator to see how your outline looks!

Watch the Webmaster Hangout here:
https://youtu.be/rwpwq8Ynf7s?t=1427

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OpenAI Introduces ChatGPT Plus with Monthly Subscription of $20

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Open AI - Chat GPT

OpenAI, the leading artificial intelligence research laboratory, has launched a new product – ChatGPT Plus. The new product is an advanced version of its previous language model, ChatGPT, and is available for a monthly subscription of $20. The company aims to provide a more sophisticated and efficient conversational AI tool to its users through this new product.

ChatGPT Plus is a state-of-the-art language model that uses advanced deep learning algorithms to generate human-like responses to text inputs. The model has been trained on a massive corpus of text data, allowing it to generate coherent and contextually relevant responses. The model is designed to handle a wide range of conversational topics and can be integrated into various applications, such as chatbots, customer support systems, and virtual assistants.

One of the main advantages of ChatGPT Plus over its predecessor, ChatGPT, is its ability to generate responses in a more human-like manner. The model has been fine-tuned to incorporate more advanced language processing techniques, which enable it to better understand the context and tone of a conversation. This makes it possible for the model to generate more nuanced and appropriate responses, which can greatly improve the user experience.

In addition to its advanced language processing capabilities, ChatGPT Plus also offers improved performance in terms of response generation speed and efficiency. The model has been optimized to run on faster hardware and has been fine-tuned to generate responses more quickly. This makes it possible for the model to handle a larger volume of requests, making it an ideal solution for businesses with high traffic websites or customer support centers.

The monthly subscription fee of $20 for ChatGPT Plus makes it an affordable solution for businesses of all sizes. The company has designed the pricing model in such a way that it is accessible to businesses of all sizes, regardless of their budget. This makes it possible for small businesses to take advantage of advanced conversational AI technology, which can greatly improve their customer engagement and support.

OpenAI has also made it easy to integrate ChatGPT Plus into various applications. The company has provided a comprehensive API that allows developers to easily integrate the model into their applications. The API supports a wide range of programming languages, making it possible for developers to use the technology regardless of their preferred programming language. This makes it possible for businesses to quickly and easily incorporate conversational AI into their operations.

In conclusion, OpenAI’s launch of ChatGPT Plus is a significant development in the field of conversational AI. The new product offers advanced language processing capabilities and improved performance, making it an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes. The affordable pricing model and easy integration make it accessible to businesses of all sizes, and the advanced language processing capabilities make it possible for businesses to improve their customer engagement and support. OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus is set to revolutionize the conversational AI industry and bring advanced technology within the reach of businesses of all sizes.

Visit OpenAI.com to read more and to get the latest news about ChatGPT.

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What can ChatGPT do?

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ChatGPT Explained

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that is trained on a massive amount of text data. It is capable of generating human-like text and has been used in a variety of applications, such as chatbots, language translation, and text summarization.

One of the key features of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is similar to human writing. This is achieved through the use of a transformer architecture, which allows the model to understand the context and relationships between words in a sentence. The transformer architecture is a type of neural network that is designed to process sequential data, such as natural language.

Another important aspect of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is contextually relevant. This means that the model is able to understand the context of a conversation and generate responses that are appropriate to the conversation. This is accomplished by the use of a technique called “masked language modeling,” which allows the model to predict the next word in a sentence based on the context of the previous words.

One of the most popular applications of ChatGPT is in the creation of chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate human conversation and can be used in customer service, sales, and other applications. ChatGPT is particularly well-suited for this task because of its ability to generate human-like text and understand context.

Another application of ChatGPT is language translation. By training the model on a large amount of text data in multiple languages, it can be used to translate text from one language to another. The model is able to understand the meaning of the text and generate a translation that is grammatically correct and semantically equivalent.

In addition to chatbots and language translation, ChatGPT can also be used for text summarization. This is the process of taking a large amount of text and condensing it into a shorter, more concise version. ChatGPT is able to understand the main ideas of the text and generate a summary that captures the most important information.

Despite its many capabilities and applications, ChatGPT is not without its limitations. One of the main challenges with using language models like ChatGPT is the risk of generating text that is biased or offensive. This can occur when the model is trained on text data that contains biases or stereotypes. To address this, OpenAI has implemented a number of techniques to reduce bias in the training data and in the model itself.

In conclusion, ChatGPT is a powerful language model that is capable of generating human-like text and understanding context. It has a wide range of applications, including chatbots, language translation, and text summarization. While there are limitations to its use, ongoing research and development is aimed at improving the model’s performance and reducing the risk of bias.

** The above article has been written 100% by ChatGPT. This is an example of what can be done with AI. This was done to show the advanced text that can be written by an automated AI.

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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.

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.

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

[embedded content]Searchenginejournal.com

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