Help Search Engines Understand Your WebpageIt’s certainly true that a page can rank high in search engines and have no structural tags in them at all. But chances are that this is because those pages are already very popular and have a lot of backlinks to them that get them a better rating. As a Web designer you can choose to ignore structural tags altogether and focus only on backlinks. But why? H1, H2, and H3 headlines are easy to add to your pages, and with CSS they don't have any detriments. And since they help search engines categorize your pages more efficiently, you'll rank higher in search engines and thus get backlinks more quickly.
If you think of a Web page as an outline, the H1, H2, etc. heading tags serve to divide the page into sections. Your most important headline is your H1 headline. This generally indicates the topic for the entire Web page and is where most people look first when they're trying to figure out what the page is about. Since search engines first priority is to provide search results that people want, they try to use the same techniques to determine what a page is about. So content in the H1 tag will be considered most important and given a slightly higher rank than other content on the page.
The H1 is a great place to optimize your webpage for a specific key phrase. Be sure that your H1 contains the key phrase that you are targeting… preferably at the beginning of the H1. Search engines will immediately know what your page is all about.
When pages are constructed in a hierarchical fashion with the proper use of H1 and H2 tags you create a page that is easy for both people and search engines to follow. And after all… isn’t that the ideal goal of almost any webpage? Pages that have been structured in a hierarchical fashion will score better in the search results.
Many people like to use images instead of H1 tags for their headlines. This is not accessible so search engine robots can't read the text in the image. So you get a double-negative. The robots can't read the headline and there's no structure. If you must use images for your headlines, consider using some form of image replacement or wrap you H1 is a display=none div so that you can still use H1 tags.