Search Engine Optimization

Google Says Multiple H1s Won’t Interfere with Your SEO

Christian Thomson
October 17, 2019  •   2 min read

Updated July 30, 2020, 12:16 pm

Worried about having multiple H1 headings? Wondering if a single H1 Tag is best for SEO?

This seems to be a concern for some people, as there are some theories that say a single H1 is the best practice, and that having multiple H1 tags will dilute the value of the tag and keywords within the tag. Google, however, has commented on the matter, and according to them, having multiple H1 tags is “just fine.”

That’s not to say that you can use them any old way. Google understands the tags and whether they are being used correctly, but overall, Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller says Google’s systems “don’t have a problem when it comes to multiple H1 headings on a page.” He goes on to state that it is “a fairly common pattern on the web.”

How does Google use headings?

According to Mueller, headings help Google to determine the context of the various parts of a page.  This means that clear, semantically-understandable headings are useful in comprehending a page, but the reality is that Google has to work with whatever they find on the web, which includes content that is not semantically structured in any real manner. Mueller points out that “for users, the difference is minimal. Both kinds of pages can be extremely relevant to the question that they have. In turn, our systems aren’t too picky and we’ll try to work with the HTML as we find it, be it one H1 heading, multiple H1 headings or just styled pieces of text without semantic HTML at all.”

Some concern arises from spammers and black hat SEO guys filling their pages with multiple heading tags in an effort to confuse search engines. Surely this means that multiple uses of H1 can negatively impact search ranking?

In fact, it does not, and you needn’t be overly concerned about it.

Although Google uses these headings to better understand the content on your page, Mueller advises that it is more important to think about users, focusing your efforts on them, rather than worrying too much about SEO. He notes that making content accessible to users means that even should you have multiple H1 headings, it will not impact efforts at good SEO.

If you have a site with multiple H1s, it is probably not worthwhile reformatting all your headings. Having multiple H1 tags will neither hurt nor help you, though for clarity, it is recommended to have only one H1 on a given page as the main headline. And given that Google does make use of headings to understand context, you may find it worth your time to add them to any important pages that are missing them.

Christian Thomson

Christian is one of Canada’s most sought-after digital marketing experts. He has taken Marwick from start-up to 18th Fastest Growing Company in B.C. (Source: Business In Vancouver Magazine). Well known for helping business owners navigate and dominate the digital landscape. Over the last 19 years, Christian has helped companies attract great customers using the latest in digital marketing. Christian was also the co-founder of CIMC, Canada’s largest digital marketing conference. Christian is also a professional surfer, representing Canada at the ISA World Games in France. When Christian isn’t growing Marwick, and Marwick’s clients he can be found traveling with his family.