You have a fresh, comprehensive, well-organized website? Super!
Does Google know how to find all of your fantastic online content?
Do web searchers - that is, prospective parents - know what your page or post is about when they make their initial glance-through (i.e. does it pass the “blink test”)?
If the answer to those last two questions isn’t a confident “yes,” there’s a good chance that much of your writing and design work is all for naught, because many of your target parents aren’t getting a chance to see it.
One way that you can fairly easily increase your school’s SEO rankings and get more people to stay on your web pages longer? Effectively employing H1 & H2 tags, or header tags, on your webpages.
It’s a simple strategy that not only makes your web pages more viewer-friendly, it also helps your site rank higher on Google and other search engine results. Let’s look into why header tags are crucial for your private school website, and some quick tips on how to implement them.
What are Header Tags?
Header tags are how html code indicates the different (usually larger, bolder) font style that usually serves as a sort of title, or “header,” for a specific web page or a section of text.
Your hosting platform - be it WordPress, Hubspot, or any other number of website or blog platforms - will have several header tiers already programmed - H1, H2, H3 and so on, usually ending at H6.
H1 headers are the biggest and are typically the title of the page. H2 styles serve to provide headings to your major sections of text, while H3 and lower ones act as subheaders (think of a bulleted outline). The most vital headers, to which your school should pay the most attention, are H1 and H2, which we are focusing on here.
For example, on this blog post, the H1 is our title - How to Take Your School Blog to the Next Level: A Lesson on Header Tags. We have four H2s on this page:
- What Are Header Tags?
- Why H1 and H2 Tags Are Crucial for Private School Blogs and Webpages
- How Header Tags Help Your School Website SEO, and
- Five Tips for Using Header Tags on Your Private School Website
There are a few H3 tags in the final section that further break down the text.
Header tags show up in your code as <h1>You Page Title Text</h1> (using H1 as an example). This is how your code communicates to the internet world where your titles and headings are.
Why H1 and H2 Tags Are Crucial for Private School Blogs and Webpages
Your average website or blog visitor is likely going to do a quick scan of the article they visit to see if the content is relevant to them and meets what they’re looking for, before deciding whether they’re going to stick around and read your whole blog post. If your blog is in one long, rambling text block, it will be much harder for these readers to determine exactly what information is in your article. If they can’t get a clear picture in a few seconds as to whether your blog might be worth reading, they are likely to hop right off the page before even giving it a second glance...and then you’ve lost them.
Think of H2 tags like chapters in a book. You wouldn’t want to read a novel - or teach out of a textbook - that had no reasonable divisions of the story or information. It would be difficult to stay with it, to find your place, or to reference. It’s the same with your blog posts. Not only do they help your visitors understand if the article is worth reading, but it also makes it easier for them to read.
Our attention spans are sadly growing shorter by the minute, and with the busy schedules that your school’s prospective parents juggle, you can’t assume they have all the time in the world to peruse your blogs and web pages. Reading on a screen is even more difficult than on a page, compounding the issue even further.
Make your blogs easy on the eye by breaking up your articles into intuitive sections to help your visitors get a truthful, birds’ eye view of what your post is about, and make it a more pleasant read when they do decide to dig in.
How Header Tags Help Your School Website SEO
Google algorithms look at a myriad of factors when determining how relevant and helpful a page will be to a user’s search. One of those factors is the average amount of time a visitor spends on that webpage. The longer your average visit, the more useful Google assumes your page is, and therefore the higher it will show up in the results list.
Since header tags make it easier for your visitors to establish whether your webpage is of interest to them, as well as make it easier for them to read, they are more likely to stay on your pages longer if the page is adequately populated with useful headers.
Additionally, headers give those search engine crawlers additional information on what your webpage is about, giving you an extra chance to “prove” to those search engines that you offer valuable information. Using smart H1 and H2 tags that match the language of your prospective parents’ internet searches can help to give your web page that extra boost, showing Google that your particular article contains the answers their users are looking for.
Five Tips for Using Header Tags on Your Private School Blog
Truly, header tags are useful on pretty much every page on your website, but for now, let’s focus on your school blog, and how you can help to optimize its performance to maximize its value to your school marketing strategy.
1. Make your H1 title concise and specific
Too often, bloggers try to get “cute” with their titles, thinking it will help draw visitors. This isn’t necessarily the place to put your clever wit on display. For example, if we titled this blog post “Breaking Up Isn’t Hard (It’s Smart) to Do,” that wouldn’t help you understand whether this was a useful post as a head of school or content manager, even though we are talking about why breaking up your text is a simple and smart move. Instead, we included specific information about what we’re talking about and why it’s relevant to you. Also, please note that your web page should only have one H1 Header, and that’s your title.
2. Make your H2 tags brief and descriptive
The same goes for those H2 “chapter” titles in your blog: make sure they describe (in a few words) what the text that follows will say, giving your reader a summary of what they can expect. Don’t try to cram a full paragraph or sentence into an H2 tag; again, think of it as an outlined list. In fact, consider creating a bulleted outline of your article, then stepping back and looking at it to determine whether your points are easily understood, brief, and to the point, and adequately cover each specific thought or section within your text. Then, apply that outline to your blog post’s header tags.
3. Use the same language as your prospective parents
Think about what a prospective parent might be searching for that would land them on your blog post, then include that verbiage in your header tags. What are the “pain points” that your article addresses? Name them - and solve them - to help draw those parents to your page! This helps search engines find and match those keywords and phrases to your web page, again not only boosting your SEO but also helping prospective parents know that you are going to deliver something valuable.
4. Space your tags appropriately
Use common sense to determine how many header tags to include in your post. An average blog is around 1,000 words, and for an article of that size, you probably want no more than four or five H2 tags, with a couple hundred words (or a few paragraphs) in between them.
5. Use your header tags in order
Follow the hierarchy of header tags as you progress through your post (going back to our outline illustration) and don’t skip around between header tags. For example, your post could be broken up as such:H1: Title
Don’t throw in an H4 after an H2 header just to make the text stand out or because you like the formatting. If you want to call out text, do it using your font formatter.
Not only can header tags help with your school’s SEO and your school blog performance, but they can also help you organize your own thoughts while writing and keep your blog on target to reach prospective parents by addressing their concerns and pain points. It’s a simple solution that will reap dividends for your school marketing efforts!