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