Heading elements give a web page a hierarchical structure; therefore, they are vital for user experience and accessibility reasons. The good news is that most modern websites and CMSs (content management systems) enforce proper heading elements (h1, h2, h3, etc.). However, none of them are bulletproof, so you have to double check your web pages.
If you are not familiar with heading elements, <h1> represents the most important heading, and <h6> represents the least important heading. For example, use <h1> for page titles, and <h2> and <h3> for sub-headings.
Furthermore, you should follow best practices, such as using only one <H1> tag per page. Also, don’t skip heading elements (e.g. <H1> to <H3>) – this is important for accessibility reasons.
Bold Font Is Not A Replacement For A Heading
We often see webpages which use bold styling instead of sub-headings (e.g., using <b> rather than <h2>). Using formatting elements such as bold or italic should be used to highlight specific sections of your content, but never as a replacement for Titles (e.g. <h1>) or Subtitles (<h2>,<h3>, etc.).
Do HTML Elements Impact SEO?
We haven’t seen a lot of evidence that Google penalizes content or correlates missing heading elements with poor page structure. However, accessibility is an important factor in usability, and usability is undoubtedly an important factor in ranking.
With that in mind, don’t think of heading tags as elements that will impact your SEO, but instead, think of them as essential factors for excellent accessibility, and you should strive to make everyone’s web experience great.
Heading elements will not make or break your website, but using them correctly will demonstrate that you care about the user experience and accessibility.
Finally, in the world where 500,000+ websites are created every single day, great content, attention to detail, and following best practices will give your website (and business) the best chance of standing out.