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?
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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.
<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.
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.