We present a detailed phenomenological analysis of the production of a Standard Model Higgs boson in association with up to three jets. We consider the gluon fusion channel using an effective theory in the large top-quark mass limit. Higgs boson production in gluon fusion constitutes an irreducible background to the vector boson fusion (VBF) process, hence the precise knowledge of its characteristics is a prerequisite for any measurement in the VBF channel. The calculation is carried out at next-to-leading order (NLO) in QCD in a fully automated way by combining the two programs GoSam and Sherpa. We present numerical results for a large variety of observables for both standard cuts and VBF selection cuts. We find that for all jet multiplicities the NLO corrections are sizeable. This is particularly true in the presence of kinematic selections enhancing the VBF topology, which are based on vetoing additional jet activity. In this case, precise predictions for the background can be made using our calculation by taking the difference between the inclusive H+2 jets and the inclusive H+3 jets result.