My very popular post about header tags contains one great simplification. The one that says you can only have one h1 tag on a page.

The truth is, that’s no longer the case, but for most writers it’s something you won’t need to worry about.

Sometimes you can have more than one h1 tag on a page

If you’re an HTML jockey or website developer, you’re going to have a fit about this next section, but I have a fiendish mission to dumb this down so that guys like me can understand what the state of play is with h1 tags in 2013 😉

Does your page use HTML5?

The latest version of HTML – the computer language that’s used to build pages on the web – enables developers to divide the page up into sections. And each section can have its own h1 tag (headline/heading).

How do you know if your site is coded using HTML5? If you don’t want to go diving into your source code, the easiest way is to ask your developer, or look on the site you got your theme from.

That’s the theory. What about the practice?

If your site is coded in HTML5 and you have multiple h1s – find ‘view source’ or similar in your browser and search on the source code – just make sure you have your main heading in h1 tags, and don’t worry about the other h1s.

If you have some say in coding for your site, there is a really good case for keeping just one h1 tag on each page. Consider what you have h1 tags for. They’re for your main headline – the most important thing you’re saying on the page.

If you have more than one set of h1 tags, you’re sending a less clear message to Google, and by having more than one important heading on the page, you’re making your human readers’ experience less clear as well.

For those reasons, I’d stick to one h1 tag if you can.

What are your thoughts about multiple h1 tags? What are your experiences with HTML5?

Thanks to Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier for allowing me to use the image.