Georgia Fitzgerald | 11 May 2016
Enterprising typist, emoji enthusiast and passionate PR and content executive
It’s well known that good unique content and attractive visuals make for a good blog post that is more likely to rank well on Google, however many of us don’t consider the actual structure of our text as important. As it turns out, the better you structure your blog and paragraph text, the more SEO optimised your blog will be and the higher you will therefore rank on Google.
When humans encounter a piece of text, we tend to concentrate most on headings, and the first lines of paragraphs. We also usually scan a text before reading it fully all the way through to get an idea of what it’s about and hence, decide if we want to read it all in detail.
Well, Google is no different.
When Google scans a text, it looks for certain things to decide if the piece of content is of high quality and therefore deserves to elevate in the rankings. Four examples of how Google uses to structure to decide rankings are:
This refers to how close together similar words are in a text; the closer the proximity, the higher the semantic closeness. In order for Google to determine semantic closeness, the structure of your text needs to be clear – therefore if you ensure your blog structure is well laid out, Google is more likely to recognise proximity of similar words and send it up the rankings.
When the Hummingbird update came into action, Google became better at recognising synonyms. Google might consider a number of synonyms from a synonym database, to see how well those fit within the context of the whole query. A clearer text structure allowing for pairs of synonyms will affect your ranking positively.
Using lots of headings, containing key words, will make Google happy and help send your blog up the google rankings.
Well-structured text will be easier and more enjoyable to read; this means more people will choose to continue reading and therefore bounce rates will be lower. Furthermore, well written text will get more social media engagement (likes and shares) which all contribute to Google rankings.
It seems that Google has recently become a lot more focussed on recognising well written content and being able to analyse it; the better your structure, the easier it is therefore for Google to analyse.
So we’ve convinced you that structure is important, and now you want to know how you can ensure your blog post text is laid out as well as it possibly can be. The most important things to focus on are the headings, the very first full paragraph and the core sentences (usually the first line of each paragraph throughout the piece).
Google will tend to use headings to decide what the piece is about; using key words (which come up regularly throughout the piece – especially in the first paragraph) in the heading is therefore of utmost importance if you’re trying to improve your ranking. Headings should be attractive and not too long; we would recommend using a heading per paragraph so that readers can quickly scan them to determine what the article is about and hence whether or not they wish to read the entire thing.
Novel writers will usually make their first paragraphs slightly cryptic, in order to tease the reader and leave them wanting to continue turning the pages. With web content though, this could not be further from the optimum thing to do in a first paragraph. You only have a few seconds to interest your reader in a blog post and catch their attention before they press the back button, so you must ensure that your first paragraph is both clear and engaging.
Use the first paragraph to set the scene of your piece and tell your reader (and more importantly Google!) exactly what it is that you are going to be exploring/discussing throughout. Be sure to put your focus key word/s in your first paragraph – and if you can – include the heading in there somewhere too.
The first sentences of each paragraph tend to explain what the rest of the paragraph is going to be discussing; chances are that Google will therefore pay more attention to these sentences. Try and put your key words in these core sentences – if the structure of your blog post is good and you are staying on topic, then they will tend to come up anyway.
In conclusion, writing well-structured and easy to read text isn’t just important for attracting readers and keeping them returning to your blog, it’s important for SEO purposes too.
Never underestimate the power of Google for recognising a quality piece of text…!