EDIT: In the original question I talked about spans in headers, but because of misguided answers I edited the question to better reflect the fact that the keyword is catchphrase not span. Thus the following reference is perhaps a bit obsolete, but I'll leave it here anyhow.

N.B. Also though I talk of font size here the question is not about font size either. I'm aware of this: Is heading (h1, h2, h3...) font size relevant for SEO? and according to that font size does not matter. I've only mentioned font size to make it clear that the catchphrase is of lesser importance than the main header and that it is quite long, which would be impossible if it was displayed with your standard gigantic h1 letters.

I noticed there is quite similar question, which says it's ok to have spans in headers: SEO of <span> in <h1> header

If someone more knowledgeable regarding SEO could tell me which of these is better in SEO point of view or is there any difference:

I presume Google will at some point penalise adding too much stuff in to the header?

  My cool header - A longer catchphrase complementing the header that with added markup is likely displayed with smaller font size

vs something like this:

<div class="header-block">
  <h1>My cool header</h1>
  - A longer catchphrase complementing the header that with CSS styling is likely displayed with smaller font size
  • The long catchphrase can be (and should be) in the <title> that will appear in search engines.
    – JaJames
    Apr 29, 2014 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


To answer relatively, a span tag within a H1 tag will not have any negative effect, its quite normal to use markup to add visualize appearance, and a span tag is not "semantic" markup.

Once you are not splitting up the word, as is using <p><span>N</span>ike</p>, I have read that the robots would read that as N "space" ike ... hence not the word nike

BTW, thats a very crude and unsemanctic way to style that phrase, why the div within the H1 tag..

For eg,

<div class="main-heading"><h1>Big Shoes <span class="maincolour">for Big Guys</span></h1></div>

<div class="subheading"><h2>Nike <span class-"subcolour">Shoes<span></h2></div>

Then add your markup and styling within the the classes. It's fine to include tags withing an <h1>, but including a <div> within an <h1> goes against HTML conventions.

  • There's no div in the header tag. It's a span (though CSS wise, I might want to render it as a block or inline element..). You are not answering my question here at all. I already linked to that other question that says spans have no semantical meaning and in that sense do not effect SEO. I guess my wording might have been slightly misleading. I should not have mentioned the span at all, since it is of no consequence here. I will try to edit the question to even further emphasise that.
    – Timo
    Apr 29, 2014 at 7:00
  • @TimoLehto I am not try to give you a direct answer instead giving you an answer in same kind.
    – rajmathan
    Apr 29, 2014 at 7:22
  • I'm not exactly sure what your trying to say, but it seems your saying your not giving me a direct answer to this question, but instead your answering the very question to which I linked in the question and said that I do not want answers to, since it has already been asked and answered. Why do you start with the words "To answer your question" if you do not even intend to answer my question? Please stick to the point and edit your answer to answer this question or delete/move it to answer some relevant question. Else I have to vote it down.
    – Timo
    Apr 29, 2014 at 7:40

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