HTML Tags are NOT Style Sheets
First, understand that I came into the world of website design from a print design background. I like the balance of the size of headlines and subheads to body copy to be consistent and for them to create an easy-to-read page.
Second, understand that because I design websites for the end user to manage, I prefer a WordPress theme that includes a “Visual Composer” type of back-end control interface.
BUT – as the title of this post brings to light, tags are NOT style sheets and are not intended to be used this way. There IS a correlation between the two – but you have to strategic plan to make all this work together.
One h1 tag per page please!
I recently assessed a page on a WordPress site created using Visual Composer and a demo file that was supplied by the theme author. I found that it had FIVE h1 tags, NINETEEN h2 tags and TWENTY-THREE h3 tags. It appears that the h1 – h6 tags were used to control the look of the site not taking into account how this would effect the ranking. Needless to say Google was not happy about this!
When planning your website and the pages you will have on it, understand that Google (and other search engines) only want ONE h1 tag per page. This h1 tag is one of the most important elements to begin a good on-site SEO strategy. The h1 tag should include the key search someone might use to find that specific product or service.
“Welcome to My Website” or “About Us” are not good h1 tags as they don’t answer a question that someone has asked with a search. Nobody would expect to find my site by searching “Welcome to My Website” – but they might be searching for “WordPress Website Design” – so this would be a good h1 tag on one of the pages on my website to answer that search query.
Visual Composer and do-it-yourself page builders make it easy to think style sheets instead of SEO tags. WordPress theme demo files often break simple SEO rules so make sure you check your site for this.
So, why were there so many h1 tags on the site I reviewed? It was a Visual Composer user error – sort of. The user took a demo page that was supplied with the theme and edited the content to fit their needs. They did not check with an eye focused on good SEO practices. Purchasing a theme and editing the demo pages can be a real time-saver when it comes to creating a site – but you take a risk if you trust the theme’s author in terms of tagging.
I have found that some page builders have field boxes you can add like “Title Text” or “Fancy Title” – these typically only allow you to choose h1 – h6 tags – not your typical paragraph tag with control over the type size, thus almost forcing you to make an unconscious decision towards bad tagging.
Best practices for using themes that include Visual Composer
Search for a field box that includes the ability to control type size independently from the tag selected without having to set a specific “h” tag. This is the best path to take. Use your tags to create a structure of importance that Google will like. Your site will thank you and Google will thank you.
In the end, you CAN use edited demo pages from your theme to create an exciting website, just be sure to check the page for tags.