There has been a recent reformation in blog posts using the table of contents. Both benefits are improving the user experience and giving your content an SEO boost to get more exposure on search engines.
This is by no means a novel idea. Incorporating this function, Wikipedia has excelled. The question then becomes why no other websites have followed suit. As articles grow in length, a comprehensive table of contents is more crucial than ever.
Table of contents
Time magazine claims your article’s attention span is no more than 15 seconds. If they aren’t drawn in by a strong hook or the ability to find their answer easily, they will bounce fast. Therefore any digital marketing agency will plan for improving UX.
By providing a table of contents, readers can easily understand the structure of your post. This can help them determine whether you will address their concerns or lead them on a more intriguing journey.
Readers can also “jump” to a specific section of the article with the help of the modern equivalent of a table of contents. This is a much more pleasant user experience than having to wade through a three-thousand-word mega-article just to get to the relevant part. It’s great that some readers want to absorb everything, but the reality is that most people don’t have the time to do so. Make it easy for them to find the answer they’re looking for, which is usually straightforward.
The table of contents does make your writing appear further down the page. In addition, the resulting bookmark links from tables typically receive fewer clicks. Is it safe to assume that Google will ignore these links if they aren’t present? Could this be detrimental to your article’s ability to generate interest?
Despite this, it appears worthwhile, according to the data I’ve looked at. Your article and brand’s exposure will grow regardless of how many people click on these links. About a third of Google’s search results pages feature these rich snippets, so having them there will put you in a prominent position. Getting more related impressions without any digital marketing services expenses isn’t that hard, right?
This increases the likelihood that your article will appear in the search results not just once but twice: as a standard result and as a featured-rich snippet. Increase overall website traffic even as your click-through rate drops. Including a table of contents in your blog posts improves the overall reading experience.
In its most basic form, a Table of Contents (ToC) is just a list, and lists can be ordered or unordered.
Ordered: Listed items are presented in a systematic order. The <ol> tag creates and closes ordered lists in HTML. With <li> and </li>, you can create a list of items and a closing list element, respectively.
Unordered: A list of items not presented in any particular order is said to be unordered. Because of the bullets used to denote the lack of hierarchy, unordered lists are commonly referred to as bulleted lists. The tags <ul> and </ul> delimited the list. The <li> tag is used to create and close lists.
Clickable: Your readers will appreciate the convenience of a clickable table of contents, which will take them directly to the desired section with a single click. It facilitates the navigation process for the reader.
Unclickable: Due to the need for a working table of contents, the reader will have to skim the entire article in search of the information they seek. It provides an overview with a more limited ability to navigate.
There’s nothing novel about adding a table of contents to a blog. It’s just not a popular option, though. Online publications that engage in this practice are not driven by a desire to improve their search engine rankings. Since Google doesn’t use the ToC as a direct ranking factor, they primarily do it to enhance usability.
Is there no point in having a ToC for search engine optimization?
That’s not quite true. Almost every SEO agency uses TOC. A table of contents may help SEO in unwilling ways. For instance, a decrease in the bounce rate and an increase in the average length of a user’s session are two direct results of improving the UX of your website. Backlinks can be easily left during research by content writers or website administrators. And authoritative blogs like Hubspot and Ahrefs do it, which is a good call since blog posts are getting longer. Driving more traffic to your blog is not that easy but doing easy and simple things like this can help to make it easier.
You cannot possibly find your way around unfamiliar territory without a map. In other words, it reveals the next station, city, or highway. If you have a map, you can use it to figure out the quickest route.
That’s what a table of contents does for a first-time reader. It outlines the various available sections and provides quick links to those most relevant to the user.
Although it does not directly impact search engine rankings, it can still help a site in the long run by improving the quality of the page as a whole and providing other SEO benefits.