The first thing is to define what we meant by “Headings” and “formatted text”. Let me clear this:
There is a lot of false information goofing around about H1 tags in the SEO world now a days, so this is a good question.
I think a lot of misleading information originates from that fact that the Google is faster than the SEO specialists about updating their agendas or ranking factor list.
There was a time in SEO when the things like using a <b> tag or a <strong> tag actually mattered. The same situation is for H tags.
There was also a time when using multiple H1 tags was a really bad thing that results in confusing search engines, but that time is gone.
Search Engines are now smart enough to understand the heading and titles, even if we don’t explicitly tell them.
Now there is no need to only have an H1 tag, or only one H1 tag to help SEO.
It has been tested recently instead of Google explaining us as much. Also there is a video of John Meuller about it back in October 2019 as well.
Many of us haven’t changed our tools and lists to change this, so it will keeps getting repeated. The website has changed, and we are not following the SEO advice really well as we should have to consider.
With the presentation of HTML5, it’s even conceivable (and suggested) to have multiple H1 tags in certain conditions.
In fact I just have used two H1 tags above. Because why not?
The truth is that H tags may not carry more weight than formatted text for SEO, they do matters when it comes to accessibility.
Winding up the discussion here, but proper headings and nesting do matter for web accessibility – which is really something we have to consider for better SEO.