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My pages look better without a heading title. So I don't really want to use a heading, but I don't want to leave <h1> out.

Is hiding the element an option? Will it hurt SEO?

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How would your visitors know what page they're on if it doesn't have a heading? –  DisgruntledGoat Nov 6 '13 at 23:59
It is shown in the menu. This website is really simple, it will be 3-4 pages. –  BrunoLM Nov 7 '13 at 0:00
If the heading in the menu is clear enough, you could just wrap that in a h1 tag. –  DisgruntledGoat Nov 7 '13 at 11:37
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4 Answers

Hiding <h1> tag can hurt SEO because <h1> tag is a very good spot to optimize a webpage for a keyword.

If I were you, I will try to reduce the size of the text in the <h1> tag or something similar but I won't hide this tag from search engines.

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Is there some restriction in the size that it can be? I've styled it as a breadcrumb, font-size: 11px and it looks sweet... –  BrunoLM Nov 7 '13 at 0:18
Hiding the tag for visitors is a bad practice (cloaking), thus indeed, there is a limit of reducing the size of the text inside. However, if the visitor can see it as a breadcrumb text, it's fine (even more if it looks sweet for you). –  Zistoloen Nov 7 '13 at 8:39
@BrunoLM H1 is also displayed by google as sitelinks' titles. –  guisasso Nov 7 '13 at 20:20
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Hiding it specifically for the purposes of delivering different content to the search engines is called cloaking and is black hat SEO. This is a great way to hurt your rankings up to and including being removed from Google's search results.

So, yeah, bad idea.

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Yes, I've read about cloaking a while ago. So it checks if the element is hidden regardless on the content relevance? I guess I will try to fit it in a breadcrumb or something small as the others have mentioned. –  BrunoLM Nov 6 '13 at 21:25
Are you sure that it would be negative if the content is related? I hide many H2 tags to avoid titles in different locations in my pages... –  Alexis Wilke Nov 6 '13 at 22:03
Why are you hiding them rather then removing them? If it's for the search engines' benefit than that's a bad thing to do. –  John Conde Nov 6 '13 at 22:04
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<h1> is what defines the most important title on your page, and that makes a huge difference for SEO purposes. If you don't like your <h1> size or look you can always change it with CSS.

Here is video where Matt Cutts talks about overdoing <h1>, from there you can see the value.

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While hiding <h1> can cause you problems, it depends on how you use it. However, we have no way of knowing what specifically Google looks for. In our case, we hide <h1> on our index page because it would be redundant and in the way but necessary for the outline and text only readers. This has not hurt our rankings at all.

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