Back in high school we all had at least one teacher whose methodology was so consistent over the years that the savvy, alert student might have some assurance that by following the established protocols a certain grade might be expected. I remember one teacher (actually every teacher at this school!) who insisted that all work turned in be folded in half the long way, with his name and our name on the facing narrow outside page. The content within the folded pages mattered, to be sure, but neglect the fold meant to forget a decent grade.
Search engines can act like that teacher. They look for certain technicalities in order to help searchers find exactly what they are searching for. One such technical feature is Heading Tags.
How did my teacher know that the folded paper was mine? His name and mine in the proper place on the outside fold. Done.
A properly designed website will have an H1 tag on the homepage. This heading should say that which is most important to say about the website. Here’s how my homepage H1 tag reads, “Grafton Web Sites—Web design and management for small companies, individuals, and non-profits.”
If there is further copy on the page it would be organized organically (ie, in a natural way). The second and third lines on my homepage are in H2 and read, “Affordable–Creative–Local - Williamstown, Berkshire County, Rensselaer County, Albany”. Below that is my phone number, which is an H3 tag. This is the same sort of “typesetting” structure one applies to any document. Heading Tags do not specify a particular font or font size. They simply point to the text and say, “Here I am!”.
Mr. Bloom cared about how my homework papers were folded and labeled. Google cares about your Heading Tags, especially those on the visible side of the fold. Mr. Bloom really cared about more than the folded paper. What else Google cares about we’ll look at in the coming weeks. In the meantime, go watch the John Ford/John Wayne classic, The Searchers!