I have taken on a new client, and when reviewing the site (it's a Wix site), I used this tool, which claims the page is missing an h1 tag.

However in the Chrome developer tools it's clearly there. The only caveat is that it has numerous span elements (4 to be exact) nested inside of the h1 tag. So it's an h1 with a nested span with another nested span and so on for 4 iterations.

Is this tool just getting confused or is this a problem for search engines? I obviously plan on implementing this differently but I would like to understand if there are any issues with the current implementation.

  • 2
    Tools like that are useless and misleading. Don't use them. And search engines, which are much smarter then the people who make those tools, can understand them just fine.
    – John Conde
    Jun 21, 2016 at 0:28
  • 1
    The span tags are just fine. G can figure out your HTML even if it is royally foobar'ed. Do not sweat it. However, I prefer that header tags be clean and unmolested. They are just too important.
    – closetnoc
    Jun 21, 2016 at 0:50

3 Answers 3


The span element doesn't mean anything on its own.


This element is used as a hook for styling or javascript access and doesn't change the document flow. So Google might even just ignore the tag for that very reason and only look at the content of it except if one were to use it to cloak content.


The span tag is pretty much the most general tag you can have within a html document and is therefore ideal for nesting within headings etc for many purposes, for example styling. I am sure Google will know this making the tool you are using a little misguided. If you were nesting h1's within h1's then things could get a little funky :).


I don't think span tag will create any problem with indexing. Just make sure the h tag is closed properly e.g. <h1>...</h1>. If it is perfect then you don't need to worry about the indexing. Search engine will not have any problem crawling your website.

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