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I am doing SEO optimization of a site. I came across <h1></h1> tag has been used for the comments navigation and posts navigation of the WordPress website. Should such tags be changed to <h3></h3>?

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Short answer yes change it to h3 or h4 or simply use paragraph or span tags, which is better than heading for comment section. For post section you are free to use h2 or h3. Use HTML tags semantically.

This video from matt cutts might help. . I think your comment section will look's like this:

<h1>Comments: Your post title </h1>

So, Same text on multiple h1 does not make sense to me .Over optimizing can sometimes hurt your SEO.

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