My site was penalised for many weeks in bing, yahoo ect ect

I spent sleepless nights trying to work out why it was not apparently complying

In the end. It turned out they were detecting 6 H1 tags on my front page.

When I reduced my H1 tags down to just two. They reindex my site into its top ranking position again.

After heaps of reading I found many stating that Google does not seem to care if you have several H1 tags. (I initially did not even know there was excessive H1s on my site)

So. It would seem. Anymore than two H1 tags on your website and your looking down the barrel of a bing penalty.

Anyone else has this issue?

2 Answers 2



Only Bing can directly answer your question -- but I believe I can indirectly answer it. I think your experience also answers it, although indirectly.

Another way to ask that question is does Bing and other search engines penalize sites for usability and readability. Isn't the common knowledge for that question yes they use usability and readability as a factor? But does that include readability for those with sight problems?

The semantic usage of the H tags are a table of contents for screen readers. And, although there was consideration to add more than one h1 tag to a page, (more specifically two), no software supports that usage ... so the standard is one h1 tag.

As for the usage of the table of contents, (h tags), for search engines; Search engines do look at it; as well as looking at say BOLD text, but if all text is bold then bold means nothing ... likewise if all h tags are h1, then h1 means nothing. Anecdotally, I've experienced the same when all information is equally made important.

The best practice is within CSS have the display rule be

h1, .h1 { /* use .h1 class to display subtitles in h1 style */ }

and use one h1. Just like web pages use one title.

On a person note; I use TOC to determine what a book is about on a regular bases ... although i don't have usability software to do the same on the internet and most sites don't use TOC properly ... it would be nice if web sites considered using the h tags semantically. And, if normal browser supported looking at the TOC directly as a sidebar or something for naviagation.

  • Great answer. I apricate your insight. Not all websites are being operated by people with technical knowledge or other skills. Often sites will be penalised under completely innocent circumstances. Personally the changes I made to fix my problem after weeks of research and paying stupid amounts of money to a website developer actually made zero visual changes, differences, usability or any other functional modifications to my site. It was nothing more than some totally invisible code on my site.. Not every website owner has an AI system in their head. Apr 19 at 6:00

The way I handle the problem is that in my CSS file, I have a section for each page with a heading entry that details how I want the heading to appear, including text size and weight. On each page, any place I would use h1, I put that text in a your text.

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