Listicles are probably the most common format for a blog post these days.
The concept of listicle articles may have originated in magazines, but today every mainstream media outlet and blog is jumping on this trend. And why won’t they….listicles are very enticing and gets the most click.
But what is it that makes listicle posts so enticing?
It is no surprise that we are fascinated by numbers. After all, numbers are all around us. Numbers give us a sense of things we can’t account for in other ways.
You are certainly aware of the significance of numbers in our everyday lives, but you may be wondering why numbers are essential in blog posts.
Well, there is a very good scientific explanation to it. Most of us have a favorite number and some numbers trigger an emotional response. But what is it about numbers that trigger these emotions?
Some people considered numbers to be a universal form of language. Numbers are more than simply a mathematical symbol. This language seems to have its own set of logical rules that is followed universally.
Throughout history, number-letter pairings have been associated with religious, superstitious, mythological, and, of course, mathematical importance…
Any marketing plan relies heavily on numbers. We can use numbers to our advantage and make our content more engaging and appealing.
Listicles have had a bad rap in recent years as a result of all the clickbait material. Your content, however, does not have to be clickbait. You may make a fantastic listicle on any relevant topic.
In this part of on-page SEO, we will learn what a listicle is and how to write an attractive listicle that will bring organic traffic to your website.
What Are Listicles?
Listicles are articles or blog posts written in list format. Also known as list-post, these articles are numbered posts that are used to divide the material into numerous parts and occasionally to indicate a hierarchy.
Listicles are one of the most engaging content formats. There are different versions of this format and there are no rules for how it should be.
The most popular listicle styles are a brief list of items that are based on a specific subject. Listicles were commonly used by magazines but right now a lot of websites are using listicle posts in a grotesque way.
Most listicle posts that you will find online do not provide any value and are of very low quality. These are just used as baits to bring in more traffic to a website.
Thousands of listicles are published by major online media platforms and most of them are for entertainment purposes.
Having said that, there are some fantastic listicle pieces that are really informative. You can use listicles to make a complicated topic easier to understand for your website visitors.
Almost every topic can be turned into a listicle by approaching it from a different angle.
What Makes Listicles So Engaging
People love reading listicles because it’s easy and mostly entertaining. Listicles can make the hardest of topics look easy. It’s even convenient for content creators and copywriters to create a listicle post rather than a long blog post.
1. Listicles have an intriguing title
The combination of numbers and letters in the title somehow makes you want to click and read it. Probably because you know you’ll be reading content that has been broken down into multiple parts.
This list-based format makes your post more enticing to the readers as it follows the chunking method. It’s also highly compelling due to the numbered title because the reader knows precisely what to expect.
Using numbers in the headline is more of a mind game that actually works. Numbers can make your headline more appealing. Online readers prefer numbered list headlines over all other types of headlines.
2. Easy to comprehend
Listicles do not require a lot of effort and you don’t have to spend time researching topics. This is what made listicles popular among writers and content creators.
Unlike blog posts, listicles are not time-consuming.
Listicles typically comprise 10-20 items that are centered on a certain theme. You can simply create a listicle post with an enticing title, 10 sub-headings for each list item, and an image or gif underneath each sub-heading.
Our attention span is now less than that of a goldfish in this day and age of the internet. Unless we see anything very intriguing, we just keep browsing and swiping.
Online readers do not like to spend a lot of time going through useless material unless they are wanting to learn anything,
Readers are turned off by content that is too lengthy. Listicles are brief and to-the-point, which makes this format so popular among internet users.
3. Listicles stands out
A listicle, as opposed to a regular blog article, typically gets more visitors due to its extremely engaging format. The lists are also broken into little parts, making them very easy for readers to understand.
The majority of listicles are about interesting topics and do not bombard the reader with access information. It’s just like reading bullet points. You can simply scan the most important pieces of information and understand the gist of it.
Typical listicles, however, are not search engine optimized posts and are primarily topical. That implies you won’t get any organic traffic for long.
However, many content creators and SEOs are now writing evergreen and informative listicles. They are improving listicle posts by including more information around each item to make them more resourceful and search engine optimized.
4. Listicles are comprehensive
There is a widespread misunderstanding that all listicles are brief and clickbait-y. However, there are many high-quality listicle posts that are lengthy and informative. These entries address nearly every significant facet of a specific topic.
WIth evergreen listicles, the majority of the information you want may be found on a single page. These postings are often high-quality compilations of a specific topic.
Comprehensive listicles are well-researched pieces of information that are search engine optimized. These listicles make use of a primary keyword and appear high in search results for relevant search queries.
Instead of giving it a quick read, readers actually spend time reading the whole blog post. Even if the title and subheading give away the important parts of your post, most readers will try to finish reading the whole thing. Why? Because they came with informational intent. Readers usually search evergreen listicles when they are looking to learn about a particular topic.
5. Readers knows exactly what to expect
When you are reading a listicle, you know how much is left to read because of all the sub-headings. There is no time constraint when you are reading a listicle. Unlike traditional blog posts, listicles are easy for our brain to digest as they are shorter and straightforward.
With listicles, you always know how much content is left to read.
Consider this: one of our most popular listicles is about “11 Free Keyword Research Tools.” There are 11 keyword tools stated in that listicle, and if you’re just reading about the fifth, you already know there are six more to read.
Our brain is drawn to content that’s simple and structured. This is why listicles are so popular. If you do not intend to spend a lot of time reading about a topic and just want the gist of it, you can just read a listicle and get a basic idea.
How To Write a Listicle
By now you already know why listicles are highly engaging and why people love listicle posts so much. It is not just the title but also the format that is very intriguing. With little effort, you can get thousands of traffic to your site. No wonder every blog on the internet is following this trend.
Listicles don’t have to be clickbait. You can write informative listicles that your audience will enjoy reading. You can write a listicle on almost any topic.
Writing a listicle is very easy. But if you want to spice it up and create a listicle that not only brings organic traffic to your website but also increases CTR and attracts backlinks, there are few fundamentals that you need to follow.
In this segment, we’ll show you how to make an interesting listicle.
1. Choose your listicle topic
Before you start doing your research and typing words into your text editor, it is important you find an interesting topic to write about. Your topic has to be something that is related to your niche and also interests your target audience.
Choosing a listicle topic is slightly different from choosing a blog post topic. It is better to choose a topic that has a collection of items and can be written in a list format that will help readers understand it easily.
Also, it is important to write about topics that stay relevant for a long time and something that people frequently search for. Your topic has to be something that sparks interest for a certain group of people. In short, don’t make it too generic.
Keyword research is another fantastic approach to identify topics to write about. It will be easier to pick a topic that generally fits your core keyword once you have decided on your primary keyword.
You can also spy on your competitors to see what they are writing about and which of their content is getting the most traffic.
When you’ve decided on a topic for your blog, you can write a listicle post around that topic.
2. Decide on a listicle format
Now that you have selected a topic for your listicle post, it is necessary you decide on the format. There are three common listicle formats and depending on your content type you have to select one of these formats.
- Simple listicle
- The Definitive list post
- Framework Listicle
Simple listicles are the most basic list article format that is very easy to create. These listicles are very brief and do not require much thinking for both readers and writers. Basic listicles posts act as “clickbait” to boost your website’s CTR by offering low-quality content to your website audience.
Simple list posts usually have a list of items written in sub-headings and images underneath those headings to complement them, sometimes disguised in humor or inspiration to capture and retain the attention of readers.
Simple listicles can be highly engaging as they do not require a long time to go through and everything is dumbed down into bullet points. If you want your website visitors to stay busy, you can try creating some intriguing simple listicle items.
BuzzFeed has a lot of these simple listicles that they use as bait to drive traffic to their site. Even though these sorts of posts are not optimized for search engines, they tend to do exceptionally well on social media and have high CTR.
The Definitive List Post
A definitive list post is like any of your well-researched long blog posts that are optimized for Google. This type of definitive listicle usually contains evergreen content which gets organic traffic throughout the year.
A definitive listicle provides extensive coverage on a specific topic. You have to dig deep into a topic and cover every aspect of it in a manner that will be easy for your audience to understand.
This type of extensive listicle usually contains more than 10 items that are centered on a certain theme and are broken down into parts. Each item is then individually explained in detail.
Definitive list postings are both informative and of high quality. These listicles are very extensive and cover virtually every important aspect of a given topic.
Each sub-heading in the expanded list article is followed by further information and, in many cases, an image.
You can write a comprehensive blog post and break it into bitesize chunks with numbered subheadings. This makes it easier for your audience to go through and they can also keep a count on their progress as they will know how much is left from the number in the title.
Detailed list posts are often SEO-friendly content. This makes it easier for this sort of listicle to rank high in search results since it is keyword-optimized. SEO content often continues to drive organic traffic to a site because search engines can successfully read it and index it in their database.
If you want to build credibility in your niche and achieve long-term success, you should focus on creating comprehensive list articles rather than clickbait listicles.
Framework listicles are structured in a way that adapts to the main premise and organizes a list around a specific topic or narrative.
The numbers automatically fit in the places and add structure to the story. Because each subheading generally correlates to a list item, it’s simple to skim.
Framework listicles are a bit descriptive and contain images and embeds. In the case of framework listicles, the main story is drafted first and then a list is made out from the story.
Framework listicles are more focused on the key points rather than the description.
Just like simple listicles, framework listicles are also quite popular among the blogging community. This framework is easy to work with and does not require a lot of writing.
Another interesting thing about framework List articles is that they address the reader in the second person singular, making you feel as though you are being talked to by a friend or acquaintance which makes the content even more appealing.
You can turn most of your blog posts into a framework listicle simply by numbering the key points.
3. See if the topic fits the listicle framework
We previously said that nearly any topic may be turned into a listicle. That doesn’t mean you should force a topic that isn’t exactly right for a listicle. There are some topics that just don’t fit into this format.
Some topics are quite obvious as you can tell from the search query that people are not interested in a list post. They are probably just looking for a solution or an answer to their search query.
If someone is searching for “What is depression”, they probably just want to know about depression. In this case, writing a listicle won’t get you the attention.
On the other hand, if someone is searching for “signs of depression” or “how to treat depression”, they might be interested in reading an informational listicle or a how-to listicle.
Google understands search intent better than any other search engine. They use AI to analyze user data and provide the most useful and relevant search results for any search query.
Google prioritizes user experience over anything else. If you can’t create content that matches the search intent and meet the searcher’s expectations, you won’t likely rank on top of the search results.
One of the easy ways to understand search intent is by making a Google search using your primary keyword or blog post title. By analyzing the top search results you can come to the conclusion if you should create a listicle or blog post for that keyword.
If the top search results aren’t showing any listicles in them for your target keyword or topic, then probably it’s not a good idea to write a listicle. Rather you can write a keyword-optimized blog post that will have a higher chance of ranking.
4. Choose the best-suited listicle type
Listicles can be both entertaining and educational. Sometimes you can find humor in a lot of informational listicles posts. There are multiple formats and no word limits for a listicle.
Your listicle can be a long blog post divided with multiple subheadings or it can simply be a list with some pictures with no additional information to each item.
There are also several listicle types from which you can pick one that best matches the context. Here are the most common listicle types that get the most clicks and engagements:
- Curated list
- How-to listicles
- Opinion list post
- Educational listicle
- Expert Roundups
- Inspirational listicles
- Informational listicle post
5. Decide on content length
If you are looking to rank on top of Google, your content should cover almost every item that your competing pages have already talked about and try to add a lot more to it if possible.
You simply can’t win the race without putting in some effort.
Unless your content is descriptive and adds value to the search results, you won’t likely get any organic traffic. Also, people would like to see more information about a topic they are searching for.
If the top-ranking pages are listicles with double or triple digits, then a list of five items probably isn’t what searchers are looking for.
Seeing more items in your listicles makes it more lucrative to the readers. If you are making a listicle of “inspirational quotes” you won’t likely be able to rank with 5 or 10 inspirational quotes when most top-ranking pages have listed over 50 inspirational quotes.
If you intend to create listicles for social media only or write a listicle on topical content, you probably don’t have to make it long. You can keep it brief as these types of listicles are only made for attracting traffic through advertising.
However, if you want to produce a listicle that will attract organic visitors, you must include as much useful content as possible.
Usually, most evergreen content that ranks high on SERPs exceeds over 2400 words.
Even though there are no limitations on how long a listicle has to be, spy on your competitors and use your instinct to figure out what is a reasonable length for your content.
6. Find the right angle
We have already discussed the different listicle types. Now it is time you find the best angle for your listicle. Finding the best angle is not just about the “catchy headline” or “listicle type that feels interesting”. It is also about what gives your content the most credibility.
Your listicle can be composed based on a personal experience. This means you write a list of something that you have personally used. For example “5 Free SEO tools that helped us gain organic traffic” can be a good title for a personalized listicle.
You may also compose a best-of listicle that includes a list of the best of something. For example, you might write about the “7 best free SEO tools to get you started.” These sorts of listicles are supported by references and include extensive information to back up the assertion. This might also be from a personal point of view.
You can also write a beginner’s listicle post which includes a list of tips or recommendations for someone who is just getting started with something. Your title can be like “9 effective social media strategies for beginners”. This type of listicle is very enticing for people who are looking to learn something from the ground up.
When creating a listicle, you may be a little direct with your title and include a spoiler that explains what to expect from this listicle. Many listicles are focused on a certain outcome. In one of our listicle pieces, we discussed 21 guaranteed strategies to improve your organic traffic. We’ve labeled it “21 Proven Ways To Drive More Organic Traffic To Your Website” so that our visitors may predict the conclusion before they read the article.
There are also some other angles that you can add to your listicle like “tried and tested” and
7. Draft your key points
Before you start writing a listicle, it’s better if you have a holistic idea of the chosen topic. Instead of thinking as you write, you should make a draft of all the important points and decide on the subheadings that you are going to use.
Drafting your listicle will help you get an overview of the topic and you will know what more to add to your listicle. Adding the same old story in your listicle won’t get you the attention of your readers and nor will it help you rank. Your content has to be unique and interesting. Writing down the list of key points and then adding more information to each one of them will help you navigate through your draft and prepare a solid listicle.
Drafting also helps your writing style as it gives you the reference and time to think.
8. Add details to your list
In this part of the writing process, we come up with ideas and try to add as many relevant details as possible to each of our items listed. We try to expand on all the points and explain bits by bits to make our listicle more engaging and readable. You already know your taking points and a brief summary of the topic. Now it’s time you add more to it.
The number of words you will use will depend on the listicle format. If you are writing a simple listicle, you wouldn’t need much information with every point. You can just add two or three lines to each of your items and you are good to publish.
On the other hand, if you want to write a detailed list you will have to write as much as it takes to explain each point in detail. Try to add as much relevant information as possible and garnish it with keywords. Adding your primary keywords within your listicle will help you rank on top of SERPs and get more organic traffic.
9. Garnish your listicle
Unless you’re an expert on a certain subject, you’ll generally struggle to come up with enough points for a complete listicle on your own. One easy way to come up with words and ideas is by spying on the top-ranking page for your target keyword. You can also borrow ideas from your friends or colleagues to write a more intricate or detailed listicle.
If you want to expand your listicle, you will need relevant talking points. One easy way to do that is by making google searches or performing keyword research and see what relevant topics people are talking about. Make sure to add items that are relevant and make sense to the topic.
10. Add images to make the listicle interesting
Adding photos with your main points or subheadings is another fantastic approach to making your listicle more engaging. Images are a fantastic method to break up long sections and give the reader’s eyes a break. This will make your listicle easy to skim and digest.
Images are not only visually attractive but are also very expressive. They are used to complement words and provide an easier explanation of the topic.
Just having a featured image doesn’t make sense when you are creating a listicle. Simple listicles have images with every key point and 2-3 sentences to describe each point. Apart from making your content more appealing to your readers, images can also help you rank high in search results. If your images are properly optimized you can get a whole lot of traffic through image search.
11. Conclude with a summary
People use listicles when they are not looking to do deep into a topic. So most readers won’t care if you have a concluding remark. This is why most listicles tend to end suddenly after their last point without a closing remark.
But it is probably not the right approach for a listicle. People who have committed to your listicle would appreciate a summary after reading the whole thing. It helps them to revise and wrap things up on a positive note.
Especially, if you are writing a long informative listicle, it is better to provide a brief summary to help your readers revisit the main talking point.
When finishing off, make sure you keep your closing remark brief. Don’t reiterate the points that you have already made and try to make it conversational. Ask for their opinion and tell them to leave a review or share it with friends.
Wrapping it up
Listicles can be the easiest way to drive traffic to your site. Without spending days writing a blog post and waiting for your content to rank, you can simply spend hours crafting an enticing short listicle for social media and start generating traffic for your website. Even though the traffic you get from listicles is mostly seasonal, it is worth the time.
Listicles have got a bad rap over the years. But that doesn’t mean your listicle has to be another catchy clickbait. You can write informative listicles that your readers find valuable and optimize it for search engines so it is also worthy of ranking.