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
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
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
Roger Montti is a search marketer with 20 years experience.
I offer site audits and link building strategies.