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How To Use Header Tags: SEO Best Practices

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How To Use Header Tags: SEO Best Practices


Header tags are still a strong signal for SEO. Google’s John Mueller said it himself:

“[W]hen it comes to text on a page, a heading is a really strong signal telling us this part of the page is about this topic.”

Header tags are a simple yet critical part of SEO. Use them wisely and you’ll please the search engine gods, as well as your users.

Here are seven best practices to follow when crafting yours.

What Is A Header Tag?

Header tags are HTML tags that tell a browser what styling it should use to display a piece of text on a webpage.

If we looked up the HTML for the heading above, it’d look something like this:

<h2>What is a Header Tag?</h2>

Like headings in print content, header tags are used to title or introduce the content below them. HTML header tags follow a hierarchy, from <h1> to <h6>.

  • H1 tags are used to denote the most important text, such as the main theme or title of a content.
  • H2 and H3 tags are commonly used as subheadings.
  • Finally, H4, H5, and H6 tags may be used to provide further structure within those subsections.

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Header tags are helpful for users and search engines. For your users, they give them a preview of the content they’re about to read.

For search engines like Google, they provide context on what your page is all about and provide a hierarchy. Think of header tags as chapter titles in a book. Give them a quick scan, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the content covers.

Header tags are important for SEO because they help Google understand your content, but also because they make your page more user-friendly – by making your content more readable and accessible.

Now, let’s get to the best practices.

1. Use Header Tags To Provide Structure

Your header tags provide structure and context for your article. Each header should give the reader an idea of the information they can glean from the paragraph text that follows below.

A helpful way to think of header tags is by comparing them to a table of contents for a non-fiction book:

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  • Your H1 introduces the topic your page is all about, just as a title tells a reader what a book is all about.
  • The H2s are akin to book chapters, describing the main topics you’ll cover in sections of the article.
  • Subsequent headers, H3s to H6s, serve as additional subheadings within each section, just as a book chapter may be split up into multiple subtopics.

When drafting a blog article or landing page, think about the main ideas you want your visitors to come away with.

Those are your header tags. Use them to help you write your outline.

2. Break Up Blocks Of Text With Subheadings

A scannable article is a readable article, and a readable article is one that’s more likely to perform well in the search engines.

That’s because Google likes to reward content that’s user-friendly. Content that’s easy to read is, by definition, more user-friendly than content that isn’t.

When an article is scannable, users might actually stick around to read it, instead of bouncing back to Google. Plus, they’ll also be more likely to share it with their friends.

While social signals aren’t a direct ranking factor, the more an article is shared, the more likely it is to naturally earn backlinks, which are a ranking factor.

3. Include Keywords In Your Header Tags

As Mueller told us, Google uses header tags to gather context for your page.

As with anything Google pays attention to, that means it’s worth including keywords in your header tags.

This does not mean you should shoehorn keywords in at all costs. Be judicious, not spammy.

You’ve probably noticed that many of the header tags in this article contain keywords.

In fact, the H2 for this section literally includes “keywords!” But, the keyword I’m actually referring to is “header tags.”

That’s one of the target keywords for this article, so I’ve included it in many of the H2s. I haven’t included it in every single H2, though, because that kind of repetition can turn off readers.

Your page should be readable, first and foremost. If keywords fit naturally, then you can go ahead and include them, as well.

Always think of your user first. Then, optimize for Google.

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4. Optimize For Featured Snippets

Sadly, header tags are an afterthought for many marketers (here’s hoping this article changes that!).

But they can make a sizable impact on your chances of scoring a coveted featured snippet.

Here’s how.

Paragraph Featured Snippets

Got your eyes on a paragraph featured snippet?

Optimize your header tag to match a long-tail voice search keyword. Then, answer the query directly below, placing the text within <p> paragraph tags.

For example, Search Engine Journal won this featured snippet for “How to remove default search engine in Chrome?”, in part thanks to their keyword-optimized H2:

Screenshot from search for [how to remove default search engine in chrome], Google, October 2021
FeatureSnippetsScreenshot from SearchEngineJournal, October 2021

List Featured Snippets

You can also use header tags to outline different items in a list.

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Google can pull from your subheadings to create its own bulleted or numbered list for a featured snippet.

Here’s an example.

Search for [how to relieve migraine fast] and Google creates a list of answers using the H2s from this WebMD article.

Feature SnippetsScreenshot from search for [how to relieve migraine fast], Google, October 2021
FeatureSnippetsScreenshot from WebMD, October 2021

5. Only Use One H1

Let’s dispel a common SEO myth.

Google has said there is no problem with using multiple H1s.

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However, that doesn’t mean it’s an SEO best practice to use multiple H1s on a page.

Why not?

H1s are big, and they look like titles to readers. Use multiple H1s on your page, and it starts to look a little out of control.

Want to make sure you don’t have any multiple H1s lingering on your site?

Run your domain through a crawler tool like Screaming Frog.

Toggle over to the H1 tab to see at a glance whether you have any pages that are missing H1s entirely or have multiple H1s.

Then click the Filter drop-down menu to export the ones you care about fixing.

Screaming Frog H1sScreenshot from Screaming Frog, October 2021

The same report is available for H2s. Huzzah!

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6. Keep Your Header Tags Consistent

In marketing and in design, your goal is to maintain a consistent experience for users.

When a site achieves that down to the finest detail, it’s impressive.

Aim to impress with consistent header tags on your site.

If you choose to use title case format, stick with that across all your pages (and vice versa if you choose sentence case).

Also, keep your headings on the shorter side.

A header tag is not the place to write a paragraph of keyword-rich text for Google.

Instead, treat it like a mini-title for the following section of text.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your headers about the same length as your title tags (70 characters or less).

The more you can set expectations for your site visitors and consistently meet them, the happier (and more engaged) they’ll be.

7. Make Your Header Tags Interesting

This rule applies to all your copywriting, not just the headers.

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Your initial draft may have bland headers that you use to create your outline.

That’s okay, but you should always review and revise your headers prior to publishing to make them compelling for your visitors.

Yes, your header tags make an article scannable. But ideally, they don’t scan the whole way through.

Intriguing header tags encourage visitors to take a beat and read for a while.

Place special importance on your H1 tag in particular. Users notice H1s.

In large part, your H1 may dictate whether visitors bother to scroll down the page at all.

Do your best to write one awesome H1 tag that answers the user’s search intent and gets them excited about reading your article.

Stay Ahead With Header Tags

Write your headers well, and you’ll not only make your content more scannable, you’ll intrigue visitors to keep reading.

Plus, optimized header tags can help you win featured snippets and make it easier for search engines to understand your page.

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Be an SEO all-star. Get strategic with your header tags. Your site deserves it!


Featured image: Paulo Bobita/SearchEngineJournal





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12 Powerful Email Marketing Tips You Need to Know

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12 Powerful Email Marketing Tips You Need to Know

There is no doubt that email marketing is effective. But how many times have you sat down to begin an email marketing project and immediately felt overwhelmed?

Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start, especially when working with a newer brand.

The good thing is that email marketing has never been easier, thanks to automation tools and innovative ways to deliver emails directly into subscribers’ inboxes.

If you don’t know where to begin or want to improve your current workflow, this article is for you.

So now, let’s look at some simple steps you can follow to ensure you’re using email marketing wisely.

Where To Begin With Email Marketing

So, you’re planning your email marketing strategy for your client. Where do you begin? Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  • Keep your emails short and sweet. People get tired of reading long emails, so keep yours between 60 to 200 words.
  • People love visuals, especially in email marketing, so include images of your products or services.
  • Social proof helps convince readers that your offer is legitimate and worth their time. This includes sharing links or information in your emails from experts in the industry, positive testimonials, or influencers using the brand.
  • People want to know where to go next after reading your content. And since emails are usually opened on mobile devices, you need to provide a clear CTA at the end of each email. Whether it’s to a product page or recent content produced on the website.
  • Email marketing works best when you send regular emails. But even once a week isn’t enough. Studies show that people respond better to frequent emails than infrequent ones.

Now, let’s discuss the top 12 email marketing components for your strategy:

1. Create Optimized Lead Magnets

So, how do you get people to actually subscribe to your email listing? An effective lead magnet.

A lead magnet is usually the first thing visitors see when they land on a brand’s website. It gets them to click through and read more about a brand, so it needs to be eye-catching and compelling.

And if you don’t optimize your lead magnets for conversion, a brand could lose out on potential leads.

So, how do you make sure your lead magnets convert?

Your lead magnet should grab visitors’ attention right away. That means making it interesting, unique, and relevant to the business.

For example, you can use an incentive like a freebie or discount code to entice people to take action. You could also give away a free report or ebook in exchange for their name and email address.

Your lead magnet could also be the first email they receive, which can be a part of your welcome series (which I’ll talk about briefly).

It entices the users to keep receiving emails, so they don’t immediately unsubscribe after they receive a discount code or something similar.

2. Segment Your Subscribers

You’ve probably heard the term “subscriber segmentation.” It refers to a way of grouping your subscribers into groups based on their interests and behavior so that you can send them more relevant content, offers, and other messages.

This is an integral part of email marketing because it allows you to target your audience with personalized emails.

You can also use this technique to create multiple versions of your emails, such as a welcome email, a thank you email, and a follow-up email.

Segmenting your subscribers can help build trust and long-term interest for a brand because it presents them with information or offers they actually want to receive.

3. Craft A Welcome Series 

Welcome emails are usually sent automatically to new subscribers when they sign up, purchase a product, or make an account.

When creating a welcome series, you need to consider where the customer is in their journey with a brand. So, it’s beneficial to space the emails out over a set period of time and create each one with a specific intention.

A welcome series is a great way to keep potential customers engaged after they sign up. Especially since they receive emails from companies almost daily.

Some examples include: “Welcome! We hope you like our product” or “Your account has been activated.”

You can also send welcome emails to existing customers who haven’t logged in for a while.

For example, if someone signs up and doesn’t use the service for three months, you could send an email saying, “Hey, we noticed that you signed up recently. Would you be interested in using our service?”

This type of marketing is very effective because it’s personalized and targeted. It shows that you’re not sending out mass emails but rather ones specifically tailored to specific customers.

These emails are also a great way to help build trust with your customers and get them used to receiving emails from you.

4. Implement Automation

So now, you’ve done the work to craft an email series. Next, it’s time to automate their delivery, so you don’t have to send them out each time you need to, according to your schedule.

Automation in email marketing is easy to do using tools like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, and Convertkit.

These types of programs allow you to create automated emails based on triggers, such as when someone opens your email, clicks on a link, or purchases something from you.

This way, you no longer need to manually send out those emails, which can alleviate some stress when you’re dealing with a multitude of different subscribers.

5. Design Mobile-Friendly Emails

As I mentioned earlier, most people use their phones to check their emails, so making them mobile-friendly is crucial.

The email should be optimized for mobile phones if it promotes sales or discounts. For example, any sales information or product pictures should be easily viewed on their mobile device.

And users should be able to click on the promotion, link, or image and give them the option to view the brand’s site in their preferred browser on their phone.

The key elements to consider when designing mobile-friendly emails include:

  • Placing important links at the top of the page rather than down below.
  • Keeping graphics small.
  • Using text only where appropriate.
  • Optimizing images.
  • And testing different sizes of fonts and margins.

6. Personalize Your Emails

Even though the average person receives numerous unsolicited emails daily, sending personalized messages to potential leads is proven to boost response rates.

Personalizing your emails makes them feel less like spam. Plus, it gives your subscribers a sense of connection to you.

The key to successful email marketing is knowing exactly who you want to send emails and which messages resonate best with each group of recipients.

Once you know what works and what doesn’t, you can tailor your messages specifically to your audience and keep them coming back for more.

First, choose a subject line that clearly states what you will say in your email. This will help readers decide whether or not to click through your email.

Next, include a call to action, such as asking subscribers to check out a new product or sign up for a free trial.

Finally, customize each individual message by adding links to pages on your site where interested parties can read more information.

Get creative and do your research for the industry. For example, does adding emojis help to personalize the email, or is that a no-no for that specific industry?

7. A/B Test Email Content

The A/B testing of email content is a great way to improve your open rate. It’s also an excellent way to get more people on board with a product or service.

But it can be challenging to figure out what works best for you and your audience.

A/B testing helps marketers decide what works best for their business. For example, when designing email campaigns, it’s often necessary to split-test different versions of emails to determine which one performs better.

You can also test different subject lines. Subject lines are one of the most important parts of any email. They’ll help determine whether someone opens your message or not. It’s what hooks the subscriber to learn more.

The best way to test different variations of emails is to use A/B email testing software. This allows you to compare two versions side by side while showing only one version to half of your users at any given moment so that they don’t realize they’re receiving two different messages.

Most email automation platforms can also conduct A/B testing for your emails. And A/B testing isn’t just beneficial for email. For example, it’s important to test copy and content on a brand’s website, so A/B testing will come in handy in more ways than one.

8. Find The Best Timing

The best time to send emails to customers depends on several factors – such as when they last visited your website, what action they took while on your site, whether they completed any transactions, and more.

One way to determine which times work best for email campaigns is by using Google Analytics. You can use the Goal conversion section to view bounce rate, exit pages, and other data related to goal completion.

You should also consider other factors and incorporate them when you send emails based on people’s schedules. For example, you can see lower open rates on holidays, late into the evening, as well as Monday morning and Friday evenings.

9. Scrub Your List Of Non-Opens

It’s essential to manage your subscriber list. When you click “send” on your newsletter, your list contains all subscribers who did not open the email. If you see that certain people are ignoring all your emails, you might want to delete them from your list.

To delete them from your list, you need to go to the unsubscribe page, then select remove and confirm. This process may be repeated until all your non-opens are removed.

You don’t want to overload people who have already purchased or are no longer interested in the brand, so you don’t create a negative relationship with them.

Incorporating one of the email management tools to help you eliminate the consistent non-opens can help you manage your subscribers and decrease time spent on this repetitive task.

10. Include A Real Reply Email Address

This is one of the best ways to keep customers coming back for more. Users may want to send any follow-up emails directly to their spam folder if you don’t include an actual reply address.

But when you put your email address in the footer, they know exactly where to go. If a person has questions, they can email the brand’s team.

Again, this also helps build trust with the brand. They know they are communicating with real people who selected these emails for them versus being spammed with nonrelevant or generic content for the masses.

11. Experiment With Lead Generation Ads

The goal of lead generation ads is to reach people who may be interested in buying from the brand.

They usually appear at the top of the page, where they are visible for longer periods of time than other types of ads.

This means people tend to click on them more often than ads below the fold. So, as long as you don’t use these ads too frequently, you should be able to generate leads.

12. Utilize Email Analytics To Improve Campaigns

One way to utilize email analytics to improve campaigns is to check the bounce rate, opens, clicks, and unsubscribes for your emails. Then use that information to enhance your current efforts.

This includes sending emails at different times throughout the week, testing subject lines, changing up the call to action, and testing creative variations.

If you’re still struggling, try experimenting with lead magnets, such as free ebooks, white papers, and webinars.

These allow you to capture leads from those interested in learning about new topics. In addition, measuring results lets you know which emails work and which ones don’t.

You should also compare these variables (such as open rates) to industry metrics. For example, what’s the percentage of bounce rates for the industry you’re working with?

If you aren’t measuring results, you won’t have much data to base future decisions for your next email marketing campaign.

Final Takeaways

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to promote your online store, build relationships with customers, and generate sales.

The final step in this process is to put all these pieces together into an effective strategy. This means coming up with creative and effective ways to construct emails and email series.

It also means being able to measure the results of each tactic so that you can continue to improve your efforts going forward.

Leveraging email metrics and incorporating A/B testing can help build relationships with subscribers by presenting them with the information they want to read.

With a little bit of effort and creativity, you can use email marketing to increase a brand’s sales and help create long-term customers.

More Resources:


Featured Image: 13_Phunkod/Shutterstock



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