If you've been around Joomla Seo for a while - you know about the importance of the HTML H1 tag.
This is one of the most important on-page Joomla SEO factors you can influence. Google gives the H1 tag a lot of importance, and it is one of those pieces of content which can still be used to directly influence SEO.
If you use the H1 correctly (together with TITLE tag and URL), you can have a very positive influence on your search engine rankings.
Unfortunately, Joomla has not been very H1 friendly historically. For whoever knows what reason, the article title is not marked as H1, instead it is marked as H2.
Somehow, to get the best value out for our Joomla SEO process, we need to be able to tweak this to ensure that our title is being tagged correctly. This is an intrinsic part of an SEO strategy for Joomla.
Manual Fix of H1 in Joomla
If you don't have many articles on your website or are averse to installing components on your website you can choose to fix this problem manually. Essentially this involves two steps:
1. Create an H1 header manually in the article
Create a title in your Joomla article which is tagged with an H1 tag or Header 1 in the HTML editor
2. Change Parameter to Hide Article Title
Once you have created the Header 1, you now need to make sure that the one created natively by Joomla is not being shown too.
You need to change the parameters of the article such that the article title is not shown as per the above screenshot. This should be done so that you don't have a duplicate title (this is bad for Joomla seo because of penalties associated with keyword stuffing).
You should now verify using the view-source functionality of your browser to confirm that the title is now surrounded by h1 tags.
This method works well but, it was what we used to do on collectiveray.com a long time ago. It does not scale well, especially if you have a lot of existing articles that you would need to edit manually.
Fixing the H1 with an SEO Component
The easiest way to fix H1 titles throughout all Joomla content is to enable an SEO plugin that automatically looks for the article title and surrounds it with the H1 tag for maximum SEO juice.
For example, sh404SEF has this functionality built-in. There are other components that do this of course.
The additional benefit of using a component is that it can also do other things to fix Joomla SEO. For example, despite the importance of the H1 tag - there is actually an SEO penalty associated with having more than one H1 tag on the same page.
The reason for this is that for some time, the H1 tag was abused by spammers, so Google and other search engines had to implement this H1 penalty. Joomla SEO components are able to automatically scan the content of a page and make sure there is only one h1 tag.
Use a Template Override to display the title as H1
A template override is used to change the core way that Joomla deals with a specific part of the layout.
So for example, template overrides are a perfect scenario if you want to change the H1 tags. Since Joomla 3, defining new template overrides is really easy, so there are no hassles to create these for the added benefit of getting good Joomla SEO ;)
Go to Extensions > Template Manager > Templates and select your template. Go to Create Overrides tab, and click on com_content, and when the hidden options are shown, click on Article. You now have a code-editor where you can define the template override. Find the following section:
<?php echo $this->escape($this->params->get('page_heading')); ?>
Simply change the H2 to and H1 and your titles will be shown correctly as H1
You can also do this in Joomla 2.5 by copying the file default.php from components\com_content\views\article\tmpl to templates\YOUR_TEMPLATE\html\com_content\article. If the folders do not exist, you will need to create them. The changes described above need to be done in this file.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an H1 tag?
An H1 tag is an HTML snippet that defines the heading of an article or page. It also instructs the browser how to display the content and is used by search engines to get a good idea of what the content of the page is about.
Where does the H1 tag go?
The H1 tag should be around the title of the page or the primary heading of the content or page. It should be the first heading of the page, above any other heading tags.
What other SEO tips are valid for H1?
Here are some SEO tips for using H1 tags. You should only have one H1 tag on a page. Each H1 tag for each page on your website should be different (you shouldn't have identical H1 tags on different pages). The Title tag and H1 tag can be the same, but ideally, they should be slightly different from each other if possible.
This small but crucial change in the way Joomla deals with articles goes a very long way to improving your Joomla SEO and does much to improve your search engine rankings.
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