Why Are Heading Tags Important?

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If you’re writing content for your website, you might be tempted to just use bold text to highlight your headings.  After all, it accomplishes more or less the same thing, right?   Not exactly.   Here are some reasons why you should take the extra step of using actual HTML heading tags for your headings.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization

Giving your heading a proper heading tag doesn’t just make it easier for people to identify—it also helps search engines.  If you just use bold text, a search engine won’t know which lines in your content represent headlines and which just represent important (or strong) ideas.   Search engines like sites that make their important ideas clear.  And search engines also tend to put sites that they like higher in their results. 

Let Your HTML Heading Tag Do The Work

Semantic HTML tags tell browsers what the specific, intended purpose of the element is.   For a heading on a desktop computer, that might seem pretty straight forward.   That heading would be a little bigger so as to differentiate it from the body text.  But there’s more going on behind the scenes.  For example, users accessing your content on assistive devices can access an entire table of contents created from your heading tags.   Let’s see your bold text do that! 

Accessibility Matters

Visually, from your browser, heading tags and bold text might look similar.  But that doesn’t represent the experience that all of your users will have.   Users who are accessing your content on assistive devices, such as screen readers, for example, rely on heading tags to break up content and help them return to key ideas.   If you just use bold text for navigation, these users will have a much more difficult time navigating your content. 

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