Nested Heading Tags or The Ladder

Jun 12, 2018
Curious to see what others' opinions are on the proper implementation of heading tags.

I like to treat any page just like I'm writing a research paper in the sense that it goes like this:

  • Car Manufacturing or whatever
    • Car Fundamentals etc
      • Engine
        • Piston
      • Wheels
        • Offset
          • explaination
        • Width
        • Height
        • Weight
    • Car sales

Where-as I still see a lot of people argue that you should just rip out:

<h1>Car manufacturing</h1>
<h2>Car Fundamentals</h2>

and then they like to arrange the H1-H5 in a fashion that H1 would be the most important keyword.. H2 second most etc...
Jun 12, 2018
ahh yesss now this is what I'm talking about - Nesting very-graphically defined!

Off the wall thought - are there any themes that may be better than others at implementing nesting properly?

I like to use Divi because I'm bad at laying out sites, but that also makes it a lot of work to hack apart the theme to define stuff like that, or I may very well be ignorant.


BuSo Pro
Digital Strategist
Oct 9, 2014
Nesting is how it's supposed to be done. The second example is still nested, but you've condemned yourself to only using one H2, H3, H4, and H5 per article. You'll get more on-page mileage out of putting keywords in H2's and H3's than H4's and H5's.
Not necessarily. You can use as many H2-6 as you want. Ideally there should only be one H1 of course. The difference is in how you structure a content piece, and the length of it.

Normally, the core sub-topics of it will probably be H2's. If it's a long enough piece of content, each of those sub-topics (H2) might have several aspects to them. In essence, sub-sub-topics. There's your H3's. Even longer content pieces? Maybe your H3's have sub-sub-sub-topics (H4-6). See what I mean? Most of the time, though, H2-3 will be the workhorses you use most often.

Here's an example, though not really the greatest:

<h1>Ducati Motorcycle Engines</h1>

  <h2>Current Engines</h2>

      <h4>Desmodue Models</h4>
        <h5>Monster 797</h5>
      <h4>Desmodue Specs</h4>


      <h4>Testastretta Models</h4>
        <h5>Monster 1200</h5>
      <h4>Testastretta Specs</h4>


      <h4>Superquadro Models</h4>
        <h5>Panigale 959</h5>
        <h5>Panigale 1299</h5>
      <h4>Superquadro Specs</h4>

  <h2>Past Engines</h2>

    <h3>Desmodue Evoluzione</h3>
    <h3>Testastretta Evoluzione</h3>
I'm not necessarily saying that's the right or even the best way to do it. Say that was only part of a skyscraper post covering all aspects of Ducati engines. Assume each one of those headings has at least a paragraph under it, and probably a link to a sub-page on each topic. Maybe its 2,000+ words. Maybe it might make sense to drill down that far with the headings.

Or maybe H2-3 are good enough for you and anything lower just gets UL, OL, or other formatting. Either way, not too big of a deal which way you go, especially if your H1-3 are solid.

The most important thing, with headings, is to make sure you use them in order. That is to say, regardless of where you are on a page, don't skip heading levels, like: H2 -> H4

They're supposed to go in a logical order of importance.

As far as list items go, like the first example, it's easy to overuse them. If you make significant amounts of a page list items, it's not all that different from having a wall of text. Use list items for small groups of things, and break them up with headings, paragraphs, or other elements that contrast enough.
Jul 22, 2014
Not necessarily. You can use as many H2-6 as you want. Ideally there should only be one H1 of course.
Yes, to summarize that is what I meant. The 2nd example of using only one single instance of each header limits you drastically, because H2 and H3 give you the most oomph, and you're only using them one time each. With nesting you can use everything but H1 as many times as you want, as long as you're nesting and following the correct hierarchy. And because it's a hierarchy, Google knows that the H2's and H3's are far more important than what's in H5 and H6 and weight it higher in the algorithm.