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Missing H1

H1 Header Missing From Canonical Page

In this guide we describe what this element is (H1 header), what the check is and how it works as well as providing some context as to why this SEO check is performed. This check is performed exclusively on canonical pages (pages with a self-referential canonical tag).


What is a H1 Header?

H1 headers are the primary header on any page and they can yield significant benefits to the SEO of a page when optimised for target keywords. A H1 header is defined at the tag and text contained within the tag:

<h1>example header text goes here</h1>

The H1 header is designed to head all the content on a page and is usually the most prominent text on a page. Typically found at the top of a page and in larger font than the rest of the text.


What is a Canonical Page?

A canonical page is a webpage that has a self-referential canonical tag present on it. A canonical tag advises Google as to the preferred / original version of content. If a page / piece of content is accessible from multiple URLs or is missing across multiple pages, a canonical tag helps to define the ‘canonical’ version.

A canonical tag contains a URL and if that URL matches the URL of the page being accessed, it is defined as a canonical page. Canonical pages are typically the ‘SEO’ pages of a site as they are most likely to appear in the search results. The canonical tag of our homepage looks like this in HTML:

<link rel="canonical" href="">


What Is a Missing H1 Header?

If a page does not have a H1 header tag present within the source code, the page is ‘missing a H1 header’. This is a hard error, in that a canonical page should have a H1 header, if it does not, then it is an error.

The H1 header should contain the target keyword/s for a page and describe what the content is about. The keyword component of this is a direct algorithmic ranking factor and as such can impact the organic visibility of a page. Google use H1 headers to understand what a page is about and what keyword/s it targets.

We mark this check as a serious error, as it has the ability to affect the organic visibility of a page within the search results.


What Do We Check & How?

During a crawl of a site, our web crawler scrapes data from and about each page. If we cannot find a H1 tag on a webpage, we flag this as missing a H1 header.

As mentioned previously, these checks are performed exclusively on canonical pages, so if a non-canonical page has a H1 header that is missing, it will not be included within this check. You can see all pages (regardless of their canonicalization) that are missing H1 headers under the ‘headers’ section in the SEO errors report.


What should you do with this data?

Using our software, you can identify all the pages that are missing H1 headers. You can use this data for any of the following purposes:

  • Add missing H1 headers
  • Provide the list of pages missing H1 headers to a client
  • Count the SEO errors on a site