I'm learning about <h1> tags and found this forum while doing a search. I also did a search for "injury lawyer" on google and the top ranking site is www phillyinjurylawyer dot com. I was surprised to see that a Philadelphia attorney site came up and I am in California. This site has (8) <h1> tags on the home page. He is ranking #1 for a big money keyword. I've read every where, to only have (1) <h1> tag. It doesn't look like that site is being penalized for having eight. I don't know much about seo, just learning. Looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say about this . . . . anomoly?
A site doesn't necessarily get penalized for using multiple <h1> tags, but it can confuse the spiders. Which one do they focus on? The first one or the last one? The answer is that we don't know. Using one <h1> tag keeps them focused where we want them to focus.
Search results are not necessarily restricted to local sites. Your search was not for a local injury lawyer. A search for "injury lawyer" is a worldwide search. Any strong web site can show up in another geographic area unless you limit the search by using a local geographic phrases. Google has been trying to automatically localize search results, but they have only been partially successful.
The Philadelphia ambulance chaser's site has well over 6,000 backlinks pointed to it. The real number is probably in the tens of thousands. That is probably why they are ranking so well. They are working with an SEO company that is throwing tons of links at the site. No attorney picks up that many links naturally.
One thing to bear in mind with HTML is that many webmasters or template designers have no idea about SEO, so they might use the H1 tag many times, or if the text looks too big, they might use H2 or even bold tags etc.
So it's highly unlikely that your site will get penalized for bad use of tags IMO. It's like discriminating against people with dyslexia for example (penalizing non-perfect spelling on a web page).
Lots of ugly, badly-designed sites rank well in search results. I know, because I created some of them :)
Ahhhhh, so you are the guy building those ugly sites. We've been looking for you!
Originally Posted by Andy101
The issue with only using one <h1> tag per page is an SEO issue. It is not something that is a violation of any known search engine guidelines. I have never heard of anyone who was penalized for it. It is simply considered to be a poor technique to use multiple <h1> tags on a page.
Let me weigh in on this important aspect that is obsessing so many webmasters.
Google does NOT penalize a page in any way, shape or form, for having more than one <h1> tag.
Keep that in mind!
I run several blogs where I do many posts per day, and each post may or may not have titles or a lines that have a <h1> tag.
And I have never seen any of my blogs, posts, pages, ever penalized by google!
And if you look at big news site like CNN, MSNBC, MSN, etc?
Count how many of those tags you find per page.
So, use them as you need them!
Only one <H1> tag is sufficient for effective optimization of your webpage. But you must properly use your primary keywords in your <H1> tag..