With the "hn", "strong" and "em" tags, you can structure and facilitate the understanding of a web page’s content. They are as useful for the user as they are for the search engines


The Hn, strong and em tags in a nutshell!

What’s an “hn” tag?

The "hn" tags are the tags that come after the "h1" tag. They help you rank and prioritize content, while including long tail keywords. That’s why these tags’ placement on a page must be very strategic.


What do the "hn" tags correspond to?

Here is an example of the “hn” tags’ structure for an e-commerce website. The h2 tag corresponds to the section title, and the h3 tag to the subtitle.


Why are they important in SEO?

These tags have got a double interest. They initially help you to structure the pages and articles’ content for the readers. In addition to that, they improve the content’s understanding to the search engines, so it can define what a particular paragraph is about!

As a result, the clearer, the more structured and well written the content is, the more the SEO will be efficient.

The words’ weight used in these “hn” tags is also more important. Indeed, it’s recommended to put the main keyword in “h1”, and synonyms, as well as secondary keywords, in “h2” and “h3”.

The words’ weight used in these “hn” tags is also more important. Indeed, it’s recommended to put the main keyword in “h1”, and synonyms, as well as secondary keywords, in “h2” and “h3”.

How to optimize them well?

The "hn" tags’ primary criteria:

  • If the tags are on the homepage, make sure that they help with the website and the content’s understanding and structure. To do so, you can position the tags in a navigation menu.
  • If the tags are on the content page, keep them for the page’s editorial body, as above. 
  • Keep these tags’ positions in strategic places that will easily integrate keywords. For example, putting a tag for a “Welcome” title is useless.
  • Observe a logical order that makes the article easier to read for the Internet user.
  • Be careful not to overuse “hn” tags, Google could interpret it as spam and penalize you.

What are the "strong" and "em" tags?

With the "strong" tag, you can bold a part of the text. You can signify that the content there is "more important", while with the "em" tag you can put a text in italics.

Recommendations for "strong" and "em" tags

The "strong" and "em" tags are also very important because they help you to highlight expressions that you think are important, and which represents a web page’s interest. Therefore, it’s a way, for your users and for Google, to highlight certain expressions to make the content easier to understand. The words put forward can be:

  • The main request
  • Secondary queries
  • Interesting terms to know what the page is about 


Example below with the words "meeting rooms" and “training rooms” which are surrounded by "strong" tags.

Mistakes to avoid

“Hn” tags are useful and important, but you must follow the correct order, and not jump from “h2” to “h4 for example. Be careful to use them sparingly, and not to put whole sentences or paragraphs in "strong".

Unlike “h1”, other “hn”’s use can be multiple. However, you must keep a certain logic: for example, not being crazy with the number of “h2” by putting too many of them. Indeed, an “h2” is more important than an “h3”, “h4”, etc. That’s why it’s tempting to put everything at the highest level of importance, but this is not the right method because putting everything at the same level results in removing the importance given to them in the first place.

If a text is already formatted with “hn” tags, do not add a “strong” tag, you may be penalized by search engines.


These tags are essential for SEO to structure and contextualize a page. However, do not abuse them otherwise you will be penalized by Google.

   Article written by Louis Chevant

Further reading

The complete Guide to On-page SEO

All the rules to optimise each page element at best.