Using subheadings – SEO copywriting training

In this video, we'll have a lookat how you can use subheadings effectively.

First, we'll have a look at why it's important to use subheadings well.

Then we'll look at howyou can best make use of subheadings.

So let's first look at the why.

We've already seen that if you wantto present your ideas clearly, you'll need a text with a good structure.

A big blob of text without any structureisn't very appealing and it's hard to read.

Subheadings can show a readerthe structure of your text.

That way, subheadings help to makeyour text more readable.

The guiding principle here is that visitorswant to access the information they need as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

As we've seen, as a visitor on a page, you'll scan the content of the websitequickly to see if it's relevant to you.

This means that you'll want to knowwhether the page provides you with answers to the questionyou're trying to resolve with your search; or whether it offers you the productsand services that you're looking for.

Quickly checking the subheadings of a text, is the easiest way to forma first impression of that text.

Because subheadings stand out.

If, based on this, you think the textis what you're looking for, you'll probably read on.

If not, you might just bounce right backto the search results.

Subheadings are also extremely importantto make your website accessible to visitors who use screen readers.

They can jump between subheadingsto get an idea of what the text is about, just like all other visitors.

But subheadings will also be an essentialelement for navigation; if a visitor using a screen reader wants to go back to a certain part of the text, going back via the subheadingsmakes this much easier.

So you really need to getyour subheadings right to create a fully accessible browsingexperience for everyone.

Headings might also be an indicator forGoogle to determine what the text is about.

But really, first and foremostyou should think about your readers and how they'll experience your website.

So then let's look at what pointsyou need to focus on in order to write good subheadings.

As mentioned before, headings helpto visually structure your text.

“Structure how exactly?” you might ask.

Well, they basically providea quick summary of what the following partof the text is about.

So you should add a subheading before each group of paragraphsthat is similar in topic.

Or you might also have a subheadingin front of a longer paragraph that has a distinct topic.

Thinking about where to putyour subheadings is actually something you should already doduring the planning phase of your text.

Remember when we told you to summarizeyour subtopics in a few words? Check those words again.

They might already be subheadingsyou can use immediately.

This doesn't mean you need to have all of your subheadings clearly formulatedright at the beginning, of course.

Finding the exact wordingis something you can do when you're writingand editing your text, which is why we're discussing subheadingsin detail in *this* module.

When formulating your subheadings, being informative is key.

Yes, it's also true that subheadingsmake your text look more appealing by adding visual structure.

But what's most importantis to make them descriptive, rather than trying hard to make themparticularly “catchy”.

Don't use your subheadings as cliffhangersthat leave your readers in suspense.

Of course, your subheadingsshouldn't be unattractive, but they should be attractiveexactly *because* they're descriptive.

In that sense, making your subheadings attractive means making them as clearand to-the-point as possible.

Don't forget: the subheading's jobis to tell a reader at a single glance what a particular passagein your text is about.

Now, let's get a bit more technical, and talkabout several types of subheadings.

Subheadings can have different levelsto indicate hierarchy.

You can use this hierarchyto group topics and subtopics.

The different hierarchical levelsare expressed by particular html tags.

These html tags are calledH1, H2, H3 and so forth.

You can set the level for each subheadingwhen creating it in the WordPress editor.

There's a few things you need to pay specialattention to with regard to these levels.

Let's have a look at an example.

This is an example of an articleon weeknight dinners as you might find it on a cooking blog.

First, it's important to note you shouldn'tuse the H1 tag for your subheadings.

An H1 should only be usedonce per page, for the title.

The next point is that you should avoidjumps in the hierarchy.

Note that each level is only ever followedby the next lower level, or back to a higher level.

In this example, you have H2sfor the broader sections of the text, such as tips and tricksfor easy weeknight dinners and advantages of makingyour own easy weeknight dinners.

Some of the broader sectionsare subdivided again by H3s.

For example, the H2 sectionon tips and tricks is subdivided into an H3 on preparationtechniques, and one on ingredients.

What you shouldn't do is have an H2followed by an H4, for example.

This might seem obvious, but it's easy to get it wrong if you only rely on the visual appearanceof headings.

So make sure to check the actual levelof all of your headings in the editor.

Finally, make sure that the structureof your text doesn't get overly complicated.

Occasionally you might have a complexarticle that requires deeper levels such as H5 or H6.

But in those cases, you might wantto double check whether your articlehasn't become too complex.

So to sum up, subheadings are importantdevices to structure your text.

They help readers decidewhether a text is relevant to them and to easily navigatethe different parts of your text.

Start thinkingabout your subheadings already when you set up the structure of your textin the planning phase.

And once you're writing and editing, make sure to make themas clear and descriptive as possible.

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