Multiple H1 headings (or headers) has been a very controversial topic in SEO. To date, it still (incorrectly) remains a ranking factor by several SEO tools that will drop your SEO score if you have more than one. This is silly. It doesn’t matter – as long as it makes sense on the specific page.
If you have a heading on Apples and a heading on Pears, that’s fine. Always consider if your H1 heading can’t be encapsulated under a Fruit H1, with an Apples H2 and Pears H2. Usually, you will only have a single H1 heading. But just sometimes, having more than one makes more sense.
More than one H1 is no problem for Google
For almost a decade, Google has been telling the world that it is no problem for Google at all. You shouldn’t abuse the H1, it is a header after all. However, if you happen to have more than one H1 on a page, it is absolutely fine. Most of the global search queries go through Google. If Google is happy with something, you can stop worrying about it. Google has repeatedly stated that it is fine over the last ten years, so I doubt that they would just change their mind overnight. Even if Google decides that it is no longer ok, they will give lots of notice and ample time to make changes.
Matt Cutts on multiple H1 headings
Back in 2009, Matt Cutts was still working for Google. Apart from being known as a software engineer at Google, he later became the head of the Google Web Spam team – so he knows a little about what Google thinks of websites. He collected questions from webmasters and answered many questions on video. Below, he addresses multiple H1’s on a page.
John Mueller on multiple H1 headings on a page
In December 2017 (just 4 months ago) John Mueller said on SEO Snippets that it is fine to have multiple H1 headings on a page. John Mueller is a senior webmaster trends analyst at Google and a presenter on Google’s SEO Snippets feature on the Google Webmasters YouTube channel.
H1 or H2, no problem for visitors
When most visitors visit your page, they will be looking for your content – not scrutinising your headings. If you have a logical reason for having more than a single H1, that will probably be logical for your visitors too. They should, therefore, be fine with it.
Do what works for you
Your page should have a heading, no question. Your page needs at least one heading or title on what the page is about. Most pages will be fine with a single heading – most pages surely do not need more than one. If the page needs more than one, give it more than one.
In the end, it is you who decide what each specific page’s header is and whether one is enough. However, if you decide it is necessary for more than one H1 header, make it so. Google is fine with it and your visitors will probably also be – and don’t let anyone try to bully you into having only one when two makes more sense.
My own experience
I have had pages where I needed to use more than one H1 heading. The SEO tool I was using at the time warned me that my page is doomed as it had more than a single H1. After wrestling with the idea for a while, I decided to go on regardless. The content couldn’t be separated into multiple pages, as that would hurt the reading experience. It made more sense to have multiple headings than multiple pages. I used multiple headings.
Nothing happened and the page was fine. It didn’t blow up, the page was fine, the site was fine, rankings were good and visitors plentiful. Only long after did I come across the statements from Google and other SEO guys that indicated it is fine. I forgot about the page long before I actually found the answer.