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My pages look better without a heading title. So I don't really want to use a heading, but I don't want to leave <h1> out.

Is hiding the element an option? Will it hurt SEO?

5
  • How would your visitors know what page they're on if it doesn't have a heading? Nov 6, 2013 at 23:59
  • It is shown in the menu. This website is really simple, it will be 3-4 pages.
    – BrunoLM
    Nov 7, 2013 at 0:00
  • 1
    If the heading in the menu is clear enough, you could just wrap that in a h1 tag. Nov 7, 2013 at 11:37
  • 1
    Interesting question. I've also wondered about this because of wanting breadcrumbs to double as headings. I think the solution in part is embracing some redundancy.
    – harpo
    May 9, 2014 at 15:11
  • embracing redundancy seems like it's still the right answer now (4 years after it was asked) - but hopefully it won't be forever. -- eventually SEO bots will tell whether the hidden h1 is the same as the text in the logo and thus redundant and only included for screen reader's benefit and not punish, I guess.... Google claims they care most about the end user.
    – Julix
    Feb 15, 2018 at 18:59

7 Answers 7

13

Hiding <h1> tag can hurt SEO because <h1> tag is a very good spot to optimize a webpage for a keyword.

If I were you, I will try to reduce the size of the text in the <h1> tag or something similar but I won't hide this tag from search engines.

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  • Is there some restriction in the size that it can be? I've styled it as a breadcrumb, font-size: 11px and it looks sweet...
    – BrunoLM
    Nov 7, 2013 at 0:18
  • Hiding the tag for visitors is a bad practice (cloaking), thus indeed, there is a limit of reducing the size of the text inside. However, if the visitor can see it as a breadcrumb text, it's fine (even more if it looks sweet for you).
    – Zistoloen
    Nov 7, 2013 at 8:39
  • @BrunoLM H1 is also displayed by google as sitelinks' titles. Nov 7, 2013 at 20:20
  • Now on my site I'm setting the h1's font-size = 0, will it hurt SEO ? Nov 5, 2014 at 14:50
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Hiding it specifically for the purposes of delivering different content to the search engines is called cloaking and is black hat SEO. This is a great way to hurt your rankings up to and including being removed from Google's search results.

So, yeah, bad idea.

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  • Yes, I've read about cloaking a while ago. So it checks if the element is hidden regardless on the content relevance? I guess I will try to fit it in a breadcrumb or something small as the others have mentioned.
    – BrunoLM
    Nov 6, 2013 at 21:25
  • Are you sure that it would be negative if the content is related? I hide many H2 tags to avoid titles in different locations in my pages... Nov 6, 2013 at 22:03
  • 2
    Why are you hiding them rather then removing them? If it's for the search engines' benefit than that's a bad thing to do.
    – John Conde
    Nov 6, 2013 at 22:04
  • @JohnConde, too late to ask, but still if I use font-size:0; and height:0;. Will that be an issue from SEO point of view. If yes, then what would be the consequence. Pl. help me.
    – divy3993
    Mar 3, 2017 at 11:19
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<h1> is what defines the most important title on your page, and that makes a huge difference for SEO purposes. If you don't like your <h1> size or look you can always change it with CSS.

Here is video where Matt Cutts talks about overdoing <h1>, from there you can see the value.

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While hiding <h1> can cause you problems, it depends on how you use it. However, we have no way of knowing what specifically Google looks for. In our case, we hide <h1> on our index page because it would be redundant and in the way but necessary for the outline and text only readers. This has not hurt our rankings at all.

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If it makes your site better, hide it. If you site is better people will visit it more. If people visit it more people will link to it more. If people link to it more your rankings will be amazing.

Just make your site good. Most of this other stuff is turd polishing.

1
  • indeed, can't argue ! Nov 5, 2014 at 14:51
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We should avoid doing unthinkable as any search engine software will cover most of cases but not all. So how Google will interpret it we don't know and it wouldn't bother if the SEO pattern falls with 1% of total used patterns.

Another thing is that removing H1 title has a little affect on page rankings.

0

Take a look at Google Webmaster Guidelines, you shouldn't hide anything. Google wouldn't hurt you (if it is a hidden <h1> tag) with penalties normally, but styled and hidden <h1> tags lose a lot of SEO impact, and an <h1> tag can have a huge onpage impact.

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