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On our website, for all instances where I would normally put h1s, it is implemented as a div with a role="heading" aria-level="1"

Is this the same as a h1 in terms of SEO?

The website was created by a third party hence my question asking for clarification.

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The first rule for using ARIA says:

If you can use a native HTML element [HTML] or attribute with the semantics and behavior you require already built-in, instead of re-purposing an element and adding an ARIA role, state, or property to make it accessible, then do so.

The Html standard says about the div element:

The div element has no special meaning at all.

In turn, the h1 element is the most important of HTML Section Heading. The Html standard says about this element:

The h1 element is said to have the highest rank...

From all that has been said, it follows that element h1 has much more semantic meaning than the aria brought into div element. Accordingly, for SEO, the value of the h1 element is higher than the value of the aria embedded in the div.

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