Ever visited a page from Google in response to a simple query, only to find a huge article that meanders and never gets to the point? Thank the engineers at Google for prioritizing “long-form” content, where shorter articles that get to the point are penalized in the search results. Yes, Google denies this, but those of us who actually work in the industry know the truth.
Fine, so we have to play Google’s stupid game. The least we can do is make our pages pleasant to read, keep the visitor on our page, and make sure that they find what they’re looking for, instead of getting turned off by a massive wall of text. In this article, I’ll show you some ways to break up and structure your content so that visitors aren’t intimidated.
1. Have a Table of Contents for Long-Form Content
If you’re going to have a massive page of text, a table of contents can help to point users in the right direction. I personally use the Shortcode Table of Contents plugin that hasn’t been updated in a while, but you can find one you like easily. The point is, this lets users navigate your article easily.
A table of contents also makes sense with Google’s latest change of rewriting titles, since it allows the search engine to link users directly to the relevant parts of your page, leading to higher conversion rates as users don’t just click the back button in disgust.
2. Use Images if You Can
Try and sprinkle your pages with images to break up the monotony of text. Use “alt-text” and bolded captions to draw the reader’s eyes to the images. Images serve the same function as paragraphs – they let users’ eyes take a break and absorb some context. Of course, this assumes that you have some images that you can use. It isn’t always possible to do this because of the nature of the article.
3. Change the Color of your Sub-Headings
If you use a lot of H3 headings (and you should), change their color so that the viewer’s eyes are drawn to them. For example, here’s an example where I use colored headings for my NameHero review on my site WP-Tweaks.com:
Here, I’ve changed my H3 heading color to blue. You should use whatever color matches your theme and design.
4. Use Pullquote for Long Texts Between Headings
Pullquotes are a fantastic idea when you don’t have an image to punctuate the text between two headings. Apart from being a visual anchor, they also allow you to highlight an important point that you’re trying to make.
Your pull quotes can be full-width, or they can be on the side of your text. Here’s another example on my website, where I use a pull quote on the right-hand side to highlight an important point that I’m trying to make:
If you use corner pull quotes like the one above, then I suggest you alternate the sides to give a feeling of “balance” to the article.
5. Use Bolded Text Every Few Paragraphs
Google has indicated that it considers bolded text for determining the important points that the page is trying to make. You can leverage this by highlighting important points in bolded text as shown in the image above. Like the other elements that I suggest, the bolded text draws the eyes of the user to the critical areas of your paragraph.
All these methods help users to quickly skim your article. Making a piece of long-form content easily digestible is a good way to get value out of your efforts. After all, creating this kind of thing isn’t easy, so why let your effort go to waste? We might as well embellish the final product so that it gives both users as well as Google what they want!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!
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