I have several blog posts with list or a series of steps. I.e.,

1. First Item/Step

blah, blah, blah

2. Second Item/Step

blah, blah, blah

3. Third Item/Step

blah, blah, blah

These steps are usually formatted with either <h2> or <h3>tags. I've tried formatting as <ol><li><h2>First item</h2></li></ol> to do numbered lists, but the number style is different from the <h2> style and the two styles appear exclusive of each other.

I.e, the display is:

  1. First item (note the # isn't the same as the text)

blah, blah, blah

So, I've just manually included the numeric value inside of the <h3> tag like <h3>2. Second step</h3>.

I'm guessing it would be possible for search engines to recognize numbered <h3> tags as lists even without the <ol><li>First item</li></ol> tag but I'm curious if there's a better way to do this from an SEO perspective? Should I be using <itemlist> schema or some other formatting option? Or is this just a matter of changing my CSS file?


2 Answers 2


Schemas are good for SEO so where you can use them it is a good idea. As for what schema to use, I would use Steps

As for the rest if the markup, do they need to be in <h2></h2> or <h3></h3> headers?

Why not use CSS? For example


<span class='h3-font-size'>1. First Item/Step</span>

blah, blah, blah

<span class='h3-font-size'>2. Second Item/Step</span>


    font-size: 1.2em;
    font-weight: bold;
  • It's not a formatting issue as much as an SEO issue. <h2> and <h3> tags tell Google how your content is organized. However, numbered lists are good for telling Google you have a list. I'll take a look at the step schema.
    – Trebor
    Mar 8, 2020 at 19:56

Heading elements are for identifying headings and not for identifying placement within a list. If a list item has a heading, it can have a <h1> for each list item which will then identify it properly as the head of a sectioned content. So:


Or all <h2> or <h3>, etc.

Never use heading elements for formatting or styling!

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