My answer has always been then same on this issue but it seems a lot of confusion was stirred online in the SEO community when a recent Google Hangout for Google News publishers brought up that you should have consistent h1 tags and title tags.
Consistency is key. One thing we always try to get right is extracting your headline. And if there are different places on the page that point to different headlines, that’s very confusing for the bot.
– Stacy Chan, Google
So this quote above, is specifically for Google News, not regular search and not Local SEO. In fact, this isn’t even a ranking issue among Google News publishers, it is a display issue when Google sometimes mistakenly grabs the wrong title to display in the SERPs.
Since SEroundtable did a write up on whether they should be identical or consistent, I figured I should touch on this issue when it comes to Local SEO.
H1 & Title Tags for Local SEO
When you’re doing Local SEO for clients, or for yourself there are a lot of myths out there you have to be careful about. Usually these myths were either true at one point, or crossed over from something entirely different and as time went on kept evolving into something else. So before the identical title and h1 tags crossover into the Local SEO world, I figure it’s time to hit that nail on the head before it happens!
How to structure your h1’s, h2’s, and page title tags isn’t exactly ground breaking. In fact, I’ve already blogged about more advanced on page optimization for local results.
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Do you keep your title and h1’s identical?
The short answer is no, when it comes to local clients and even regular organic SEO.
When you have identical h1’s and title tags for local clients you run the risk of over-optimization. This is especially something you will want to be careful with if you’re using WordPress out of the box. Right now, on this very blog, my blog post title is automatically an h1 tag AND the page title tag. This is not intentional, but because I haven’t done any sort of optimization for my blog this is the default, which I wouldn’t recommend for your own sites.
Proper Structure and Wording of Titles and H1 Tags
Now that you know not to have identical h1’s and title tags for your site or client websites you may be wondering what are the best ways to structure, or word these tags?
Here are a few examples below that I would do. Let’s say the website is Bestroofer.com (just an example)
Title Tag: Roofing Contractor in Houston TX BBB A+ Rated
H1: Residential Roofing in the Houston TX Area
H2: Houston’s Best Roofing Company BBB A+ Rating for 20 years
Why would I do this?
Well the reason behind the title tag should be pretty obvious. I have roofing contractor in the title along with the location, Houston, TX. What you may be wondering though is why I would include BBB A+ Rated since that isn’t a keyword I would want to rank for. The reason for that is because I would want to increase the click-thru rate in the SERPs with organic searches. Seems more trustworthy.
Why the h1 tag? Residential is an adjective, it describes the type of roofing, but may also pick up additional relevance when someone types it in. I also put Houston TX in the h1 tag because local relevance is a big part of ranking in the pack when it comes to local SEO.
Why the H2? Location relevance + keyword relevance + trust = win. That’s why.
Structuring the title tags, h1’s, h2’s, etc. is really not very difficult. You have a core keyword, you need keyword relevance and location relevance. You want to have different supporting words without changing the overall topic.
There are really only 2 big factors when it comes to Local SEO when you strip everything else away these are the two things that matter:
- Location relevance
- Keyword relevance
Identical is not good, but consistency certainly is the key. Consistency in the sense that you’re steady with the overall keyword topic and location.
If you would like to learn more about Local SEO, I do have a local seo webinar replay that breaks down pretty much everything you will need to know in order to perform Local SEO for clients, or for yourself.