SEO Isn’t What It Was Before
SEO has changed a lot since Google took off. Now that the algorithms have changed once again, shoving a bunch of keywords together in a paragraph at the bottom of a webpage just doesn’t work anymore. That’s because search engines flag it as spam simply meant to curb the rankings higher without satisfying their searchers’ queries.
Now, Google prioritizes the human experience of websites over machines. In that case, the content needs to be easy to read and coherent. Considering the fact that we take in more and more data every day, it’s easy for readers to shut down if they see long blocks of text. If people can’t find the answer to their question in a matter of seconds, they’ll close the website and find one that effectively answers their question.
When people close out of websites fast, that increases the bounce rate. Having a high bounce rate tells search engines that a website is not useful to readers, plummeting a website’s index position.
Luckily, there are several quick fixes to keep bounce rates low. Whether you decide to have an in-house or outsourced SEO strategy, a useful trick to look out for is sectioning.
What Is Sectioning?
The principle behind sectioning is breaking up large pieces of text into parts, so visitors have a pleasant experience. Ideally, creating engaging and readable content will make visitors return to a website, which in turn, boosts authority and reputation.
However, it’s important to remember that sectioning is more than just changing the font on a document or hitting enter to create more space. While this strategy is thought for humans to enjoy their reading experience, SEO sections are actually HTML tags.
These HTML tags tell search engines what the site is about. Properly tagging the main points of articles helps search engines properly index websites so they appear in specific searches. A really useful feature that goes hand in hand with sectioning is Google’s Featured Snippet.
When a website has a highly requested query as a section on its page, Google takes that piece of content and places it at the highest level of the search. (position 0??) Being able to have a Featured Snippet, even for a niche search, improves overall positioning for the future and also increases web traffic.
So of course, both the human and machine experience are interdependent on each other. If enough humans enjoyed a website’s sectioning, then search engines will notice that and give the website a higher position. This, in turn, shows humans they’re consulting a high authority site, which creates trust between readers and websites.
That’s to say, it all comes down to baby steps. Writing quality content with readability in mind secures a website’s position in the future.
SEO Best Practices: Effective Sectioning Strategies
There are loads of useful tips to improve SEO with sectioning. The key is to find the balance between variety and consistency. Creating headings and subheadings sparks interest and engagement for visitors while also letting them know what to expect from the article.
Another useful trick is to put keywords in sections to make content more likely to get picked up for Google’s Featured Snippets. The best way to optimize for Featured Snippets is to match a long tail voice search keyword. This means the phrase is asked by lots of different people and in that case, in high demand.
Meanwhile, other websites have taken creative and innovative approaches to their sectioning strategies. Colour might seem like an unexpected choice when it comes to sectioning, however, PokerStars Casino blog posts have proven to be surprisingly effective. By switching between black and red text, Pokerstars Casino creates a unique sense of variety and interest that engages visitors while improving readability.
Another interesting way to break up sections is to use high-quality original images. Travel blogs are especially known for employing photos as sections. Take this Farfelue blog post about the Greek island of Hydra. Buffering text with gorgeous snapshots of a sun kissed island is much easier on the eyes than a barrage of text.
Additionally, using images is a win-win. Besides enhancing the visitor’s experience by providing great pictures to look at, using images is another way to boost SEO. That’s because images have a neat feature called alt text. Since search engines can’t see images, writing alt text that describes the pictures helps them understand more about a website.