Why use lists and bullet points in content writing

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by RoseWinters, Aug 22, 2016.


Do you think that lists should be preferred over paragraphs if there's a choice?

  1. Yes, they should be

  2. No, paragraphs are better

    0 vote(s)
  3. Doesn't matter/Don't know

  4. Whatever gives more word count

    0 vote(s)
  1. RoseWinters

    RoseWinters Newbie

    Jun 12, 2015
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    No matter what SEO techniques you use, in the end it's well-known that high-quality content ranks higher. All of https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change (per year) aim towards judging a website's usability for its searchers (http://neilpatel.com/2015/02/17/the-ultimate-google-algorithm-cheat-sheet/ to know the main reason -- skip the initial BS).

    If we want to scale higher in SERPs, creating good content to increase website usability is a must, besides other less important SEO practices.

    And in my experience I've found that lists increase the usability a lot. Any article made up of lists under its subheads or a list article itself is better than long pieces of boring text. Know more about how lists provide emphasis and how to use them https://www.prismnet.com/~hcexres/textbook/lists.html.

    Here are some reasons according to me. Comment the ones I missed below so that readers can have a more complete knowledge of using lists in copywriting, especially technical content.

    1. Lists attract people. They also retain them for longer sessions. In simpler words, lists increase the usability of websites.

    2. If a user is scrolling down a page (most people nowadays are scanners, they search, click on what looks relevant, and decide whether to stay or go back all within 10-20 seconds) -- lists make them stop.

    3. As the sole aim of a user is to scan, lists seem to be (and really are, if you're using lists when they're actually required) a compressed version of content. So it gives a sense of covering more content in a smaller span of time, even if the word count of normal text was 200 but you made the list long and hit 300 words.

    4. Lists increase word count. Numbers are counted as words. So if you have a tips article with 5 subheads:
    • Getting your requirements right
    • Choose your priorities
    • Compare, seriously
    • Support quality and getting opinions
    • Inspect the website and the promises
    You can add numbers in front of them.
    1. Getting your requirements right
    2. Choose your priorities
    3. Compare, seriously
    4. Support quality and getting opinions
    5. Inspect the website and the promises
    It does three things:
    • Looks good.
    • Keeps continuity in the article and discourages people from abandoning it.
    • You just got yourself 5 more words for nothing at all.
    Although a good content writer, after doing tons of research, is more looking to decrease the word count as it easily exceeds the limit set by the client, every once a while, all of us surely write articles where we can't pen one more word, and lists can give a slight boost there.

    5. Countdown lists: A countdown list works even better at engaging, but most people are fast scanners and they want to know the #1. If your article is single-paged and the #1 is no thrilling stuff but almost equal to #5 as well, your website loses trust as a brand, so only do it when really necessary.


    So lists are good for users and might make users stay for a little while longer or give them a sense of increased satisfaction by content consumption -- but are they even taken into consideration by search/indexing bots?

    Well, technically, lists might not have a lot of weight in assessing a page's rank. ul or p -- it might be the same. But we've seen how Google's search algorithm has evolved over the past years. Did we see any of that coming? Mostly not.

    Google understands what's a relevant, highly usable page and what's not. It just needs to bridge the gap between knowing it and coding it into the algorithm. In the close future we might as well see a day where using meaningful lists is a more sure-shot method to rank higher than putting in more proofs or LSI keywords.
  2. Gavynn Haydon

    Gavynn Haydon Newbie

    Aug 22, 2016
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    Well written bullet points convey more info quickly and without the fluff. So imo they are better than paragraphs
  3. ContentWriter

    ContentWriter Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    May 8, 2013
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    This is a good piece of information, RoseWinters.

    I, being a provider of content writing services, agree with the use of bullet points or numbered lists. It helps me achieve a good readability score.
  4. iAuthority

    iAuthority Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Jan 20, 2013
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    SEO,Link Building,Blogging.
    Home Page:
    Most of the Contents we can see bullets and numbers because it will give continuity for the users while reading and also makes readability easier.So it will help you to get Good CTR for your site too.