Yoast SEO title vs H1 page title explained

Updated on July 9th, 2022

Books on shelf - Yoast SEO title vs H1 page title explained

What is a Yoast SEO title and how is it different to the H1 page title of your post?  It’s a very common question. Why aren’t they the same?  In summary:

Your Yoast SEO title is how your post or page title appears in search results. It can be different to your post / page title. Try to make it enticing so that it stands out amongst the crowded search engine listings.

In this short article, I’ll clear any confusion and show you the clear difference between a SEO title and the H1 page title.

H1 Page Title – Appears as the title on the actual web page

Your H1 (Heading 1) Page Title is what a reader of your website will see at the top of the screen when they are actually on your website page.  As there are normally 6 levels of headings on websites, the H1 heading is always your main heading. It’s also, by default the page title.  Here is an example of a H1 Page Title in the WordPress editor:-

Add New Post Example

and this is how it would actually appear on the blog post:-

Example of Post Title

If you were to dig into the underlying code for a H1 page title, the HTML would be in the format.

For those using the Yoast SEO plugin, it will encourage you to include your keyphrase in the page title.  

Furthermore, once you’ve published a blog post or web page, you should try not to change your H1 tags again (and also not change H2 & H3 tags) as they can hurt your SEO ranking.

SEO title – What appears in Google or Bing search results 

Your SEO title is the phrase that appears in Google or Bing search results for your site, not on the website. People will see this title before they’ve actually landed on your site.   Below is an example of a SEO title in blue:

SEO Title example from SERP

Accordingly, the Yoast plugin by default uses your H1 Page Title (as above) as your SEO title. However, you can change the SEO title if you really wish to.  Below is a screenshot of the place where you can change the SEO title in the Yoast editor:-


SEO Title editor from Yoast

SEO Title defined and how to optimise it 

In reality, if you’ve spent time carefully picking your page title, there is no need to have a different SEO title.  So I normally let Yoast by default set the SEO title to be the same as the H1 page title. 

Conclusion – Yoast SEO Title vs H1 Page Title

In most cases, if you’ve spent time picking a good H1 Page title and including good keywords, you won’t manually change the SEO title.  So you normally won’t need to take any action after you’ve defined your H1 Page Title.  

There may be some situations where you wish to change the SEO Title and you can easily do this in the Yoast plugin snippet editor if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I use the H1 tag in my WordPress post? 

Most WordPress themes assume that your H1 (main heading) is the same as your post title.  Whilst it’s possible to manually change the H1 title, most bloggers would just let it default to be the same as the post title.

Are there any good alternatives to Yoast SEO?

Rankmath is another SEO plug-in option. Unlike Yoast, the free version of Rankmath gives you the ability to optimise your post for numerous keywords instead of just one.  They’ve recently added a new AI feature that helps you develop content for your website.

How can I get clicks on my web page in search results? 

By making the name of your post enticing, you’ll invoke curiosity in people.  Just like the news sites do, use list posts, power words and engaging questions.  These will all encourage the SERP visitor to click and find out more.

How can I make sure that my post appears in Google search results?

Use a SEO tool such as Yoast to optimise your posts and pages for popular keywords that users are typing into the search engines.

How can I move my webpage up the search rankings?

Improve the content of the page compared to your competitors, add more images and embed YouTube videos.  Try to get other sites in your niche to link to your post. Longer posts also often perform better than shorter posts.

What does it cost to get your post to the top of Google search results?

There’s no exact price that can be put upon this. It depends upon producing top quality content and also the domain authority of your site.


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