In today’s world of content, writing like Shakespeare is not enough. The truth is, there are tons of exceptional writers out there. So what will make you stand out from the sea of articles posted every day? A proper blog post structure.
Lucie SimonovaJul 22, 2022
If you want to defeat the 10-second attention span of online readers and improve your SEO at the same time using proven tactics, then be sure to keep on reading.
But before we dive into all the necessary steps to structure a blog post, it’s important to understand why it’s crucial to implement structure in your posts in the first place.
Why is blog post structure essential?
Structure is something that every good piece of content should have. No matter how great the content is, it doesn’t stand a chance without structure.
Some reasons why that is might be fairly obvious, but others may not, so let’s take a closer look at its importance.
Who cares about your structure?
- Your readers
- The search engines
Online readers have an alarmingly short attention span—they will give your blog post about 10 seconds before clicking away. Long chunks of texts without any breaks will cut that time in half, or even more.
People online are easily distracted and don’t want to search for information for longer than necessary. This is also tied to how they behave on the web—they don’t read per se; instead, they scan the text to find relevant information quickly.
If readers don’t find what they’re looking for in a couple of seconds, they’ll be on their way somewhere else. Help them skim your text with points of reference like subheadings, paragraphs, and numbered lists.
Blog post structure and SEO
Surprisingly, not only humans care about your structure.
Search engines care, too.
The visitors’ behavior on your site affects several SEO metrics and ranking factors. If readers find content hard to read and understand, they’ll leave, harming metrics like the dwell time, time on page, and bounce rate. This signals to Google that your page is probably not the best result, leading to your page not showing up very high in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
On top of that, readers are less likely to share hard-to-read content with others, and that leads to fewer backlinks, which are crucial for SEO. According to Ahrefs, backlinks are in fact one of Google’s top three ranking factors, so it’s only in your copy’s best interest to be shareable.
If your blog post is properly structured around relevant keywords, it signals to search engines, such as Google, that your site offers useful content.
Structured chunks of blog posts are also more likely to appear in the Featured Snippet and People Also Ask (PAA), which are both important SERP features that can help your brand gain more visibility.
How to structure blog posts in 8 simple steps
Now that you understand the reasons why you should structure your blog post properly, it’s time to take a look at some of the most important components of such blog post structure.
What should a good blog post include?
- Catchy headline
- Strong introduction
- Bullet points and lists
- Visual aids
Not sure how to properly structure paragraphs or what metadata actually means? We’ve got you covered. Grab yourself a cup of coffee, and let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the 8 steps to your blog post’s success!
1. Craft a catchy headline
A headline is the very first line of your copy that the readers see. A good headline is the make or break of your whole article. Without a headline that works, even the best and most high-quality content will be left unread.
Headlines have 2 major goals:
- Attract the reader’s attention
- Persuade them the rest of the copy is worth reading
If you keep these in mind, you should be good to go. Always think about your audience and what will attract and persuade them specifically. A good rule of thumb is to keep your headline short and sweet, and clear over clever.
Can you make it clear and clever? Even better! After, use your headline to promise a good read and follow up on that promise in the rest of your article!
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Be creative, improvise and see what works the best for your audience. If you want to dive a bit deeper into how to craft a headline that really works, check out our blog post on How to write a powerful headline.
- Check out How to make your asset picture perfect
2. Write a strong introduction
So, the headline is out of the way—what’s next?
What follows is an introduction. And it should be a strong one! It is usually more than one line, but determines the destiny of your post as much as a headline does.
Think of it as an extension of the headline—use the introduction for what would make a great title, but would be too long for that. Address the pain point of your audience and tell them that they’re in the right place, because your blog post brings them the solutions that they need.
Use your introduction to tell your readers what they will gain from your post—will they improve something, become smarter, or fix a problem they have? Tell them right in the beginning.
Another great introduction tells the reader what they can expect to find in the post. This way, the reader quickly finds out how exactly the blog post will help, which is always helpful in a busy online environment.
In many ways, you can copy the rules for writing a good headline, such as asking a question. Readers like interactivity and questions are just screaming for a dialogue. Addressing a pain point with a question is gently inviting the visitor to continue reading to find the answer in the text.
3. Distribute subheadings
Subheadings are extremely useful for your impatient online readers. People online quickly scan the text to find what they’re looking for. Put the most important information in the subheadings to navigate them easily and try to make them catchy to keep their attention.
Subheadings are also crucial for SEO optimization. According to Semrush, 36% of articles with H2 and H3 subheadings have higher performance when it comes to traffic, shares, and backlinks.
How to properly distribute subheadings?
- Always use H1 for your headline
- Always use H2 to signal the most important sections of your post
- Use H3 to further divide the chunks of text within your H2 sections, if necessary
Try to incorporate relevant keywords into the subheadings to help Google identify your content as well-structured and helpful to the readers.
4. Break text into paragraphs
Break long chunks of text into paragraphs to make your post more readable, and keep these sections short, so that they don’t look too demanding. Long paragraphs feel too difficult to get through, but shorter ones immediately look more inviting.
Is there an ideal length of a paragraph? You’ll see a lot of blog posts in the marketing sphere have paragraphs of around 2-3 sentences.
While the practices in this area vary, one thing is generally agreed on—varying the paragraph length. Don’t stick only to a certain number of lines per paragraph; try to change their length to avoid sounding monotonous.
If you are explaining a more complicated idea, don’t worry about a paragraph being a bit longer. One paragraph should include one major idea, so it is better to explain everything in one section to avoid confusion rather than breaking it into two separate ones.
On the other hand, don’t be afraid to use one-line paragraphs, too.
They are punchy and bring the attention of your reader back. Don’t forget to link your ideas with proper linking words to make the transition between the paragraphs cohesive.
5. Put key information in bullet points and lists
Much like subheadings, bullet points and lists break up long chunks of text and make it more scannable. Use them to point out key information that would otherwise get lost in the sea of paragraphs.
To keep your readers longer on your site, include numbered lists. They attract attention and provide specificity, which impatient online visitors highly appreciate.
Numbered lists and bullet points are also appreciated by search engines. Especially combined with relevant keywords preceding the list, they have a good chance to rank higher and appear in the Featured Snippet or PPA.
6. Include visual aids
Just like bullet points, lists, or white space, visual aids also work as a great relief for the eyes after paragraphs of text. Whether it be images, photos, graphs, comparison tables, or animations, be sure to include at least some in your post.
These visual aids will make your blog post more attractive. Oftentimes, they will also say much more than words, and in much less time. Always keep in mind how busy and impatient online readers can be!
It’s also good to remember that everyone processes information differently. Some people might be more inclined to process it through text, but many people prefer to get information in a non-textual way!
7. Don’t forget about linking
Linking is an important part of your overall blog post structure. By linking other blog posts or relevant pages of your website to your article, you’re offering added value to your readers.
If they are curious about something, they can now find it on your website thanks to your link and don’t have to search for it elsewhere.
Look at the following example:
As you can see, there are several ways to approach linking. You can link a page through a word, a phrase, or a whole sentence.
You can also decide to link a page organically through something that is already written or to write a piece of text to create an opportunity for linking. Either way, make sure that the linked pages are always relevant.
Also—keeping it simple is the way to go. Too many links can look spammy and your article might lose its authority. Offer your readers high-quality content in the right place, and at the right time.
8. Fill out the metadata
The previous 7 steps are the backbone of every blog post structure. This additional +1 step is often overlooked, but can play a major role in your post’s success, especially with regard to organic traffic. We’re talking about the metadata.
If you want to really top off your blog post structure, be sure to fill out the metadata of your post before you hit that publish button.
The most important metadata include:
- Meta title
- Meta description
- Alt text descriptions
Many visitors come from the SERP, where the meta titles and meta descriptions are the first things of your blog post that the readers see.
For that reason, both the meta title and the meta description should be attractive enough to make the reader want to click on your article. To be catchy, the meta title can copy your headline and the description can copy your introduction.
But be careful—both have limits you should adhere to. Meta titles have a 600-pixel width limit and should be up to 60 characters. To save space, you can use the vertical bar symbol | instead of a dash.
Tip: You can use the Moz meta title preview tool to see how your title is likely to appear in Google.
Meta descriptions should be up to 155-160 characters and descriptive enough to give the reader a good idea of what to expect in the post. Both titles and descriptions should include a relevant keyword.
Last but not least, let’s talk about Alt texts. Alt texts provide a better user experience by describing pictures to people who can’t see them.
Not only that—they are also useful for SEO since they give you another opportunity to include your target keywords. To make the best Alt text possible, try to combine a good description of the picture with a relevant keyword.