John Mueller’s words on the “Google titles” issue made a lot of clash a month ago, when he addressed the role that the content headings (the subtitles we usually give to the different paragraphs we split the page text into) have for the search engine – and, therefore, for the SEO. A few weeks later, during last English Google Webmaster Central office-hours the Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst comes back on topic adding new (so much more) useful indications to our work.

Problems of visibility for an eCommerce

The new intervention was born out of a question formulated by an eCommerce owner facing indexing and ranking problems with his product pages, builded with “big featured images, a lot of text and quite generic headings“. For this, user is asking if “moving the images towards the bottom and the text higher up” could help Google to better understand the content of the single pages.

Contents’ position is not that important to SEO

John Mueller’s immediate answer is “no”, because “simply switching the contents’ position within an HTML page does not have any specific impact” in terms of crawling or ranking, but then the Googler dwells on some practical indications on how to optimize contents, talking about heading as well.

Why are headings useful to both Google and readers

To Google headings are very useful because they help both Googlebot and readers to immediately get the focus of that specific content section, they are tools useful to define and describe all of the several topics and sub-topics adressed by the web page. Generally, a web page should be addressing a single subject as well as all of its paragraphs and sub-paragraphs should only be focused on a a single minor theme correlated to the main one.

Examples of page structure management

Thereby, Roger Montti comments on SearchEngineJournal, “product images, prices, sizes, colors, reviews and comparisons” are just a part of all the information the user is expecting to find on a site whenever he makes a query on Google for a product, and these could hence be some of the paragraphs building the product page.

On informational sites, instead, the intent could be the need of a specific tool to reach a goal and perform an action (to find the right pan to make a recipe, for instance) or other added suggestions that together can succeed in meeting people’s needs.

How to correctly plan a web page

Therefore, a page is well-planned when headings, images and text shape a unit able to interact among them, and all is correctly structured to meet search intent. On the contrary, adding titles not really related to the content is a mistake that could have a negative impact in terms of ranking and organic visibility.

The effective use of headings helps both the readability and comprehension of the page

Once again, then, John Mueller reaffirms that headings – SEO titles e H1 included – are not directly impacting as ranking factors, but they can influence the user experience and the whole definition of the page topic. To be specific, he says that “headings are useful in that we can take a heading and see what images and which text kind of apply to that heading”.

Avoid interstitial to prevent blocking Googlebot’s scan

Stepping out of the topic and going back to the user’s problem, Mueller also tries to offer an explanation to the missed efficacy of that site: cerca anche di offrire una spiegazione alla mancata efficacia di quel sito: “One thing I did notice when looking at that example page is that, at some point during loading, it switches to  a country picker interstitial“.

The Webmaster asserts that “if this interstitial triggers when Googlebot crawls and renders your pages that might also result in Googlebot not being able to index your pages properly”. A better alternative is to use a banner for this purpose, because “even if that does end up being rendered in Google’s systems then it wouldn’t block the indexing of the rest of your content”, as happens instead with the interstitial, that on the worst of cases “deletes” the previous content and leaves not that much content for the Googlebot to analyze.