In 2016, Social Media Today examined Buzzfeed’s popularity. At the time, they found that Buzzfeed got “7 billion views each month from more than 200 million unique visitors.”
What attracted all those views and made people click? Well, Buzzfeed is known for easy-to-read content along with clickbait headlines, specifically designed to grab attention and get people to click through. In addition, 65 percent of their content consisted of listicles.
As Social Media Today pointed out, listicles are “inherently shareable and are typically quick and easy to read or scan over.”
While we’re not recommending listicles for every aspect of your content marketing, you can see that they do have their place.
In this article, we’re going to answer the question, “What is a listicle?” We’re also going to talk you through how to write a listicle for the best content marketing and SEO results.
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What Is a Listicle?
A listicle is simply an article written in a specific format.
With a listicle, what you can expect is a short introduction followed by a numbered list of points. A conclusion wraps it up at the end. Writers create a numbered subheading for each point that they’re going to make. A more detailed explanation of the point appears underneath the subheading.
It’s a great way to break down even quite complex subjects and make them easier to understand.
Listicles are usually long-form content pieces featuring over one thousand words, so writers have many great opportunities to expand on the topic and include relevant keywords for SEO.
Why are listicles good for your CTR and SEO?
Listicles are an excellent choice if you want to improve your CTR and boost your SEO efforts. However, they can also help with conversion rates and provide a better customer experience:
1. Great headlines make people click
The headline is the most important part of any article because you need to have something that makes your audience want to click through and read. A listicle usually has an appealing headline that includes the main keyword and a clear explanation of what to expect.
People tend to gravitate toward headlines that include numbers, such as 7 Ways to Boost Your SEO or The 5 Most Popular Destinations in Turkey. These are typical listicle headlines that really do get attention and engagement.
This aids SEO efforts while encouraging people to click and enjoy the article.
2. In-depth content keeps you reading
Well-crafted listicles are written logically and easily guide readers through the content. They provide quality, in-depth information that educates and informs. It’s broken down into an easy-to-digest format.
The numbered list encourages people to keep reading and feel like they are progressing through the article. They can see that they’ve made progress and, at each stage, they will see how much more is left to read.
This encourages them to keep reading and stay on your site longer.
In addition, multiple clear subheadings guide the reader through the article but also make it easy to scan the content. People can find what they want quickly; this contributes to a positive customer experience.
3. Internal links supply more details
The best listicles don’t try to cram too much information into one webpage. Instead, they include internal links that provide more information to people who want it. This helps keep readers on your site longer.
It’s great for SEO because your bounce rate decreases. This also gives you more chances to convert readers into customers.
4. External links encourage backlinks
Great listicles include external links to authority sites, again to provide more information to readers and enhance the customer experience.
This can be a great strategy for gaining backlinks, too, as the sites you’ve linked to may return the favor.
5. Improve your search engine rankings
If you’re going to write a listicle, you should also take the time to optimize it for SEO while adding relevant keywords and phrases.
A well-optimized listicle can give you a boost in search engine rankings, draw traffic to your site, and bring in leads.
How to write a listicle
Follow our top tips on how to write a listicle, and you’ll soon find that you achieve greater success with your content marketing:
1. Is your idea suitable for a listicle?
Not every article idea will fit neatly inside the listicle format.
If you find that you can write a list for part of your article, but you also need several other sections that don’t fit into a neat list, then don’t write a listicle.
When you’re not sure, Google your topic idea and see how many people have written listicles. If very few have, it’s probably not a good subject for that format.
You can still include a list in your article, but it’s not a true listicle without the “introduction – list points – conclusion” format.
2. Do your keyword research
Every piece of content should aid your SEO efforts. Optimize your listicle by conducting thorough research to find the right basic and long-tail keywords to include.
You can use free tools such as Google Keyword Planner for this, or spend some of your budget on a service like Ahrefs or Semrush.
3. Write your outline
Whatever you’re writing, you’ll always find it easier to organize the content and bring it together logically if you write an outline. However, outlines are particularly useful when writing listicles.
You can add a couple of notes on what to include in your introduction, then brainstorm your list points in any order and add some details on how to wrap up your article.
Next, go through and rearrange your list points in a logical order to ensure flow and create a clear path for readers to follow.
Initially, you shouldn’t worry about how many points you’ll have. Listicles aren’t about fluff and filler. Write as many or as few points as you need to say what’s necessary and then stop.
4. Start writing!
You don’t have to write in order. If you already know what your conclusion is, you could even start with it. Fill in each of your list points with quality content that you’re sure is highly valuable to your readers. Be specific and talk them through what they need to know about your topic.
You want them to feel that they’ve learned something at the end of your listicle. If you’ve written a how-to listicle, they should be able to put it into practice.
5. Choose relevant, high-quality images
No one wants to read a wall of text, so it’s always a good idea to break up your content with plenty of white space and attractive images.
Make sure that what you include is relevant. If it’s not, it must have another purpose, such as to entertain and provide a visual for a humorous comment.
6. Create an eye-catching title
You can create your title before you start writing, but it’s often easier to come up with something after you’ve already written the article and know what you want to say.
For any listicle, you need a great title that will entice readers to click through. Don’t forget to include the number of points in your title. For example, 6 Tips on Baking the Lightest Victoria Sponge or 8 Steps to the Perfect Content Strategy. Titles in that style tend to achieve great engagement and click-through rates.
7. Hire a professional writer
When you don’t have time to create your own content or you simply want to hire the best person to do it for you, why not try WriterAccess? With over 15,000 experienced and talented writers to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect one for you.
Have your content created by professionals to ensure top-quality writing in your brand voice.
Sign up for the free WriterAccess 14-day trial today.
Listicles are quite straightforward and easy to write, but they can still provide excellent in-depth content alongside white papers, case studies, and other long-form content that satisfies your audience and benefits your SEO efforts. Take the time to create them consistently as part of a clear content marketing plan, and you will find yourself climbing the search engine rankings.
Want great SEO results but don’t have the time to write all that quality content? WriterAccess can help you scale your content production and consistently produce excellent material.
Why not activate our free trial to see what we can do for you?