One of our client's SEO agencies has recently began sending a lot of "shady" requests about what should be changed on our client's web site in order to comply to best SEO practices.

We suspect their attempt to simply justify additional costs however since its one of our most important clients we can't simply ignore any of the requests based just on our previous experience and without solid evidence to confirm otherwise.

The last request we got was to change all headings (h1, h2, h3...) font size values in a way that will follow the header hierarchy (h1 has to be bigger than h2, h2 has to be bigger than h3 etc.) because the current web layout has a slightly bigger font-size value for h2 than h1.

This font size permutation was done for pure aesthetic reasons by the agency responsible for designing the new web site and our client fully agrees that it was a good choice. However since SEO is also very important to our client everything that comes from the SEO agency has to be taken very seriously.

h1 {
    font-size: 1.1em;

h2 {
    font-size: 1.2em;

My question: is it bad for SEO if h2 has a greater value of font-size than h1?

Every resource we came across claims otherwise supporting our long-year experience that its only important to create a good heading hierarchy to represent the importance of various page parts, which is of course done properly.

We would appreciate any professional insight in this matter and every resource or link is highly appreciated.

EDIT: I see now that this question was migrated from stackoverflow.com to this website so I apologize if this is a duplicate question however I didn't even know that this website was part of the Stackexchange network. Any info on this subject is still highly appreciated :)

  • I have never heard of search engines accessing your style sheet to determine whether an h1 should be weighted heavier than an h2. That seems pretty shady.
    – Narnian
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 16:40
  • 1
    Check out woorank.com as well. That could give you some good insights on how to increase your own SEO strategies.
    – Narnian
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 16:41
  • @Narnian Thanks but currently this is the only "issue" we have and there are very little resources on the web which actually go into this matter (at least by directly answering the question).
    – holodoc
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 16:44
  • In the end the SEO agency request had to obeyed. As illogical and may I add stupid it sounds the shift of responsibility in case something goes wrong is simply not worth the risk. Thank you all for your input. I am marking this question as solved.
    – user9342
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 20:07
  • @Narnian Never got the chance to thank you for that link of yours. Thanks.
    – user9342
    Commented Feb 11, 2012 at 23:36

5 Answers 5


You should be fine with that. It's understandable that design aesthetics will have sub headings displayed with larger text than page headings. As long as you are using the markup properly and not trying to game the search engines you will have nothing to worry about. Just like display:none has legitimate uses and black hat uses, different font sizes in <hx> tags do, too.


I've never read anything to suggest that a search engine checks the font-size defined in your css. That seems to be shady.

Check out woorank.com for suggestions and a good overall analysis of your site.

Backlinks, text, headers, page names, wikipedia articles, meta description and title tags... Woorank will tell you where you stand right now.

  • Well there was and the obvious reason is that you can introduce lots of bogus text into a webpage. But i' sure that google and bing are not using it anymore but it would make sense to rank the page on the visual and not the markup - but it's to heavy weight for the search bots i guess.
    – Lothar
    Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 16:16
  • I think the opposite; font size matters because change the use that user does of the text, markup maybe not. Brin and Page wrote " Google keeps track of some visual presentation details such as font size of words" in their presentation of Google, in 1998 Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 11:17

Changing the font sizes to get a better ranking seems baloney to me - it's like painting flames on to a car in the hope it would go faster. It might be good practice since that's the way headings are supposed to look; but i don't think google will rank you higher or lower just for your choice of font sizes. Creating backlinks, quality content or reducing the bounce rate on your page seems to be a much better strategy imho.

  • Its not about increasing the SEO value of the web site its about preventing the web site from loosing it which will happen according to the SEO agency which requested the heading font size to be changed. Thanks for the input btw :)
    – user9342
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 1:31
  • @holodoc - same difference. If adding chrome doesn't affect the speed of the car, it makes it neither faster nor slower than it already was. So you're not going to lose. Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 17:05

Its perfectly fine to have a larger font size for a lower ranked heading. Furthermore there's no way that search engines could look at penalizing this as there would be no way to distinguish from black hat seo and legitimate design techniques.


I never listen something about font-size, but about strong and bold ("Strong is treated the same as bold, italic is treated the same as emphasis" . . . Matt Cutts July 2006). You may try to do something test and share results :)