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Content Marketing 31 min read April 23, 2024

How To Increase Traffic With Listicles Posting [Guide + Template & Examples]

How To Increase Traffic With Listicles Posting [Guide + Template & Examples]
Bohdan Dovhaliuk
Bohdan Dovhaliuk
Blog Editor at Serpstat

I was searching for the best SEO strategies to increase traffic to my website and turned my attention to posts structured as ranking lists. Surprisingly, they offer numerous advantages that take time to be apparent. Therefore, much of the information from this article may serve as an unexpected revelation for you.

I divided today's material into theoretical and practical sections. We'll start by exploring the benefits of such a type of content as a listicle and then delve into a step-by-step guide on creating it. Let's begin by examining the factors that demonstrate the effectiveness of listicle articles.

Why Is It Worth Investing in Listicles?

It's no secret that listicles have been widely used online for quite some time. Yet, many people still underestimate them, viewing the listicle format as more suited for entertainment content. However, they can offer significant benefits across most business niches when used correctly.

Key advantages of using listing in writing your blog include:

1.Less competition.
2.Higher conversion rates.
3.Cost-effectiveness.
4.Versatility.
5.Adaptability.
6.Convenience.
7.Usefulness.
8.Simplicity of creation.

Now, let's take a closer look at each point in detail.

Reason 1: Lower Competition

Typically, competition in search results is much lower for articles listing than commercial content. At the same time, audience engagement is significantly higher, allowing you to redirect readers to your landing pages easily.

Example

You and your competitor (let's call him John) decided to sell built-in refrigerators. John opted for a strategy focused on commercial keywords, aiming to reach the search engine results top by these terms. In contrast, you chose to target informative keywords, creating an article titled "Top 10 Built-In Refrigerators" filled with relevant keywords. Experienced SEO specialists would notice several points:

1.John is targeting an audience already at the decision stage of the buyer's journey. At the same time, you're a few steps behind in this chain, aiming at customers in the awareness stage (if they find you using general keywords related to refrigerators) or consideration stage (if they come to your page using a keyword specifically about built-in refrigerators).
2.John will likely spend more resources (time, money, energy on networking, etc.) to become a leader in search results.
3.Even if John reaches the top of the search results, people will probably visit his site to check if his prices are lower than those of his competitors. If John's products are more expensive, their high search position will not be a guarantee to sell. This approach might work well for niches with low-cost goods. However, the more expensive the product, the more thoroughly customers compare prices with competitors.
4.Readers will trust you more because you initially provided helpful information and helped them reach the decision stage. Even if your prices are higher than those of competitors, there's a good chance people will buy from you because they know and trust you enough to pay more rather than turn to unknown sellers. Plus in the listicle examples, there's always the possibility that a reader decides to buy from you immediately, without comparing prices with competitors. In John's case, this likelihood is much lower, as potential customers immediately see many sellers in the search and understand they must carefully review their offers.

Reason 2: Higher Conversion Rates

As you can understand from the example with John, if a reader comes to your landing page, your conversion rate will be higher than what your competitor achieves. It is because you've already explained to the customer the options and why a particular one is the best choice. Thanks to such informative articles, you increase the trust factor, which is incredibly important.

Reason 3: Cost-Effectiveness of Listicles

John's example also demonstrates that your competitors typically spend more time and money to rank their page for a commercial keyword. It's because most businesses focus on direct sales. Additionally, maintaining a thematic blog and hiring specialists to write informative articles is only a priority for some.

Yes, you will also spend time and money hiring writers to create a quality blog on your site. However, once you complete this process, you can stop investing resources into it, and your site will continue to yield results. Nonetheless, we do not recommend completely halting your blog activity.

It would be more effective to reduce the frequency of listing post publications to a level that is comfortable for you. This approach helps keep the site visually "alive" for readers and search engines while minimizing expenses.

Reason 4: Versatility of Listing Articles

You can change a participant in the ranking at any moment by simply rewriting a specific section of the content. Or, by editing the text, you can work towards improving the article ranking on SERPs. In case of negative outcomes from updates, you can revert to the old version of the post. Moreover, such materials are suitable for new blogs and those already filled with articles.

A listicle article is attractive for new sites because it can be written based on the keyword list you've decided to use on your site. Then, as you write new materials, you can immediately create interlinking, thus enhancing the SEO optimization of these articles. If you have an established blog, you can make a ranking based on already existing posts/landing pages and similarly improve the site optimization.

Example №1: New Website

Imagine you just created a website and decided to sell televisions. A smart move would be to check some listicle example and make a post about the best televisions. Next, build commercial pages for each product featured.

By the time you finish writing them, search engines should have noticed the listicle article. If you insert internal links to the product pages within it, the search engines will also index these pages while crawling the listing post. This strategy accelerates and enhances the indexing of your commercial pages.

Example №2: Old Website

This time, you are selling smartphones and have a website with good traffic, filled with products. You already know which models are popular and read customer reviews. This information is sufficient to compile a smartphone ranking list. 

A major advantage is that you can attach real people's reviews, increasing readers' trust in your content. This approach showcases your best-selling products and leverages customer feedback as a powerful tool to enhance credibility and trust, making your listing example more compelling and valuable to potential buyers.

Reason 5: Adaptability of a Listicle Article

You can initially create a general listing post. If it performs well in conversion and website optimization, it makes sense to create more detailed listicle articles by category and then set up internal linking between them.

It’s a win-win. Even if the new listicle blog doesn't bring in significant traffic or conversions (which is unlikely if you've already managed to create quality content), you will still enhance the overall SEO optimization of your website. This strategy helps engage your audience with valuable posts and strengthens your site structure and internal link profile, contributing to better search engine visibility.

Example

You are selling bicycles and your listing post about the best bicycles performs well. Consider not stopping there but creating similar listicle articles for categories such as city bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, kids' bikes, etc.

It capitalizes on the success of your initial post and targets a broader audience by covering various interests and needs. By offering these tailored listing examples, you cater to specific market segments, potentially increasing engagement and conversions across different consumer groups.

Reason 6: Convenience of Listicle Articles

Sometimes, you have pages that need internal traffic but need donor pages where your anchor texts would look organic. Listicle articles solve this problem by allowing you to insert a separate paragraph with recommended content between listing positions. It keeps the audience's process of engaging with the post, as each ranking position is an autonomous content unit. Readers can explore a recommended article and later return to the listing post at their convenience, moving on to the next item in the list.

This setup is much more user-friendly than traditional articles, where interrupting the reader trying to follow the author's flow of thought could be jarring. In other types of content, the narrative usually builds sequentially, reflecting the writer's thought process intended for their audience. An incautiously placed recommendation for an unrelated article can confuse readers and make them perceive the entire listing post as low quality.

Example

You are selling gaming laptops and accessories while writing about computer games in your blog. Someday you read list article examples and decided to use this type of content on your website. However, you can face a unique challenge.

Links to purchase laptops in such articles seem fitting, but reading about a new shooter game is unlikely to inspire your visitors to buy a joystick. The reason is relatively straightforward – this type of game is inconvenient to play with a joystick.

On the other hand, if you introduce your audience to a listing post featuring the best new gaming laptops in your online store, the situation could change significantly. Reading about these products creates a high chance people will not only be interested in buying one of the featured models but also a laptop backpack, mouse, hard drive, etc. Even a link to a joystick will appear much more relevant in this article than in a post about a shooter.

Therefore, you can distribute similar links harmoniously throughout the ranking, and they shouldn't evoke negative emotions from readers. This approach diversifies the somewhat monotonous content type, making it more engaging. The key is to manage the recommended product sequence and not overload the article with them.

Reason 7: Usefulness of a Listing Post

If you write a helpful article that readers want to share, it will further contribute to your website SEO optimization. That's because it will increase the number of recommendations for your site. Search engines have become quite adept at distinguishing between manipulative links (created by link builders) and organic links (when ordinary people genuinely and freely share information because they like it). Thus, poor-quality manipulative links can degrade your site ranking.

By creating great content, you achieve two goals at once. First, you don't need to hire link builders and then worry about your site dropping in the search results. Second, you enhance your site ranking and reader engagement for free.

Reason 8: Easy Writing Process

You don’t have to be an absolute expert in the field your listicle is dedicated to. In some cases, a basic understanding and the right approach, described next, are entirely sufficient. So, let's move on to the practical part of our material.

    What Is Wrong with Most Listing Articles

    Many listicle articles fall short because they need more depth and uniqueness, often recycling common knowledge without offering fresh insights. They tend to prioritize quantity over quality, resulting in superficial content that fails to engage or provide real value to the reader.

    Furthermore, these articles frequently need to pay more attention to SEO principles and audience targeting, limiting their reach and effectiveness. By focusing on listing in writing as a mere format rather than leveraging it to structure compelling, informative content, these posts miss the opportunity to resonate with and benefit their audience truly.

    Fundamentals of a Quality Listing Post

    If you desire to learn how to write a listicle then start with discovering key points you need to know before writing. We want to show you such crucial nuances before presenting our versatile template for listicles creation.

    Write About What You Know

    When you share expert knowledge and personal experience, you provide value that resonates with your audience, encouraging engagement and sharing. Such content stands out for its authenticity and usefulness, making it more likely to be referenced and valued by both readers and search engines.

    Thus, we recommend to start from writing listicles dedicated to topics you’re well informed about. When you understand how to write a listicle, you can create articles on subjects less close to you. In that case, you can learn the topic more deeply in parallel with writing the post. But still, you need at least a general understanding of the subject to write good listicle articles.

    Listicle Ideas: How to Find the Best One

    Finding the best ideas for listicles and listicle topics involves tapping into your audience's interests, current trends, and gaps within your industry. Engage with your community through comments, social media, and forums to understand their questions and needs. 

    Analyze popular content within your industry through tools like BuzzSumo. It can reveal what resonates with readers. Additionally, incorporate your unique perspective on trending topics since it can yield compelling, original listicle ideas that stand out. Prioritizing relevance and value to your audience ensures engaging and informative listicles.

    Come Up with a Catchy Headline

    Write a catchy headline for your listing post. It’s crucial to capturing the attention of potential readers. Your headline should be intriguing and informative, clearly indicating the value and content within.

    Use creative words and numbers to convey the scope and benefit of the listicle. A quality headline acts as a promise of the insights and solutions the listing post offers, compelling readers to click through and engage with your content.

    Do Not Start with a Numbered List

    When considering what is listing in writing, especially for listicles, it's advised not to start your article with a numbered list. Begin with an engaging introduction that sets the context, outlines the problem, or shares a compelling story. It helps to hook the reader's interest.

    This approach allows you to build a narrative or present a case for why the list is relevant and essential, making the eventual dive into the numbered list more impactful and appreciated by the reader.

    Create a Design Template You Can Use Regularly

    Develop a consistent design template for your listicle format. It will streamline your content creation process and enhance brand recognition among your readers. The template should cover aspects like heading styles, font choices, and the layout of list items, ensuring each listicle is visually appealing and easy to navigate. A well-designed template helps maintain a professional appearance and improves the reader's experience, making your content more engaging and shareable.

    How to Write a Listicle: Template to Get Started

    As a foundation for our template listicle, free vision of our readers is a prerogative for us. So we've chosen the best songs of the 2000s as a subject because it's a broad and accessible topic. Thus, regardless of the industry you're operating in, this example can serve as a universal explanation of the approach to writing similar content.

    The next part of this article will include many of the author's personal experiences, both positive and negative. So, with your permission, I’ll speak on my own behalf. As a practicing writer who wants to share not just my accomplishments but also my mistakes, I aim to help my readers avoid repeating them :)

    Pre-Development Stage

    In the pre-development stage, you will need to take such steps as:

    1.Build a keyword list.
    2.Monitor internal and external linking.
    3.Write TOR, article structure, and graphic content ideas.

    Let’s dive into each of them.

    Build a Keywords List

    Open Serpstat's keyword research tool and work on updating/creating the keyword list of your site, depending on your situation. If your website is new, you're starting from scratch. If you already have a site with an established keyword list, it's time to update it. You can find out how to do this in a detailed article.

    Once you're ready, create a separate spreadsheet file to save the keyword list of your site. Record the keywords in your articles on a different sheet within this file. This organizational approach will help you track your SEO efforts and ensure your content strategy aligns with your targeted search queries.

    Check the Relevance of the Search Results

    Always check the relevance of the content in search engine results with what you plan to publish. If you see that in the top 20-30 search results, there is nothing similar to what you plan to promote – do not use those keywords. I once meticulously planned a list of keywords for my internet radio landing page dedicated to 2000s songs but overlooked this step, leading to an unpleasant situation.

    I found two promising keywords with high frequency and low competition: "cool songs" and "2000 theme party." Based on these, I created a task description (TD) using also derivative keywords, like "y2k theme," "2000s themed party," etc. I chose "Cool Songs For 2000 Theme Party" as the title, which seemed relevant to the page I planned to promote. However, a search engine check yielded a different result.

    It turned out that for "cool songs," search engines show playlists and listicles. The first online radio result appeared only at position 30. For the "2000 theme party," Google primarily displayed content related to clothing and decorations. I noticed this but thought it was a coincidence and that if I optimized my page well, it would still reach the top search list.

    I went ahead and created content based on these keywords. Time showed that even well-optimized material couldn't overcome this minor nuance, almost nullifying all my work. I salvaged the situation by using many radio station listing services and leaving a link to my site there. It provided the main boost in my site listeners and authority in search engines eyes.

    As you can see, I now have to redo the landing page, which is psychologically uncomfortable because I realize I could have avoided this monotonous and prolonged work if I had reacted correctly at the beginning of the article preparation. So, avoid my mistakes to be happier :)

    Monitor Internal and External Linking

    I also recommend creating a separate spreadsheet to track all links used on your site. It's best to divide it into two sheets: "Internal Links" and "External Links." It’s a crucial step because this document will allow you to understand your site optimization level more deeply.

    In my practice, I also use the technique of "future internal links." These can be articles you've already included in your content plan and expect to publish soon, or they can be abstract ideas for posts you might write in the future. Even if everything remains just at the idea level, you lose nothing. But if you're looking for options for future materials, these records can be significantly helpful.

    Write TOR, Article Structure, and Graphic Content Ideas

    This stage is crucial for aligning content with audience interests and expectations. It needs you to do the following things:

    • Terms of Reference (TOR) should define the article purpose, target audience, and critical messages.
    • Plan an engaging introduction that teases the content, followed by a logically ordered list that balances depth with readability. Each list item should offer unique value or insight.
    • Consider infographics that summarize key points, relevant images that complement the text, and charts or graphs to illustrate data-driven points.
    Terms of Reference for Listicle: Main Components

    TOR for a listicle should include the following:

    • The objective is to define the purpose and goals of the article.
    • Audience analysis identifies who the content is for and their needs.
    • Scope outlines the breadth of topics covered, while deliverables specify the expected outcomes, such as engagement metrics.
    • Deadlines ensure timely completion, and responsibilities delineate who is involved in content creation, editing, and promotion.

    This framework guides the development process, ensuring the listicle meets its intended purpose.

    Structure of a Listicle Article

    The structure of a listicle article typically includes the following:

    • Compelling introduction that sets the stage and outlines the value for the reader.
    • Series of well-organized sections, each corresponding to an item on the list. These sections should provide in-depth insights, examples, or explanations to support each point.
    • The conclusion wraps up the article, summarizing the key takeaways and suggesting further reading or actions for the reader.
    • Visual elements, like images or infographics, are often integrated to enhance understanding and engagement.

    Additionally, carefully consider the placement of the participants in your listicle, as you'll need to explain in the text why you've assigned them their specific positions. It requires thoughtful analysis and justification, giving readers clear insights into your reasoning and criteria.

    Graphic Content Ideas

    For the graphic content in a listicle, consider incorporating custom illustrations that highlight key points, infographics that summarize complex information in an easy-to-digest format, and relevant photographs that add visual interest and context. 

    Charts & graphs can effectively illustrate statistics or trends related to your list items. Additionally, include interactive elements, such as clickable sliders or before-and-after comparisons, since they can enhance reader engagement and make the content more memorable.

    Brainstorming

    In the brainstorming phase for graphic content ideas, consider the article themes to inspire visuals that complement the text. Think about creating custom icons for each list item, using color schemes that reflect the mood or topic, and developing interactive elements like quizzes or polls related to the list content. This process should enhance the reader's understanding, engagement, and enjoyment of the article.

    Ready-to-Use Template

    I used a creative template in the form of a 2000s TV to display screenshots from the music videos mentioned in my listing post. Such a unique approach shows the participant's positions below the screen and enables clicks on the images to view the music video on YouTube, enriching the interactive experience. In my case, using the Alt attribute of the images as links to the videos integrates multimedia elements with the article content.

    Regarding the titles of the images, researching a wide range of similar keywords with frequencies from 100 to 10,000 that were relatively straightforward is a good strategy. For example, using the keyword "Rihanna 2000" and simply adding the word "song" and the song title, like "Rihanna 2000 song 'Please Don’t Stop The Music'", optimizes for both relevance and searchability. 

    While "Rihanna’s 2000s song" might be grammatically correct, it's not visible in the article text, and the image ranking can be higher without it. Plus, the title precision is often less critical when searching for images than its discoverability, highlighting the practical approach over strict grammatical adherence.

    Development Stage

    The development stage requires next actions from you:

    1.Adherence to the TOR of articles listing.
    2.Creative instant improvisation.
    3.Insert keywords to listicle articles.

    It's an exciting process that allows content creators to involve their creative thinking and ideas. What if I prove it to you right now? :)

    Adherence to the TOR of Articles Listing

    Ensure the listicle adheres to the Terms of Reference (TOR) by consistently aligning the content with the defined objectives, audience, and scope. Regularly refer back to the TOR to ensure the article remains on track and addresses the needs and interests of the targeted readership. This adherence is critical for achieving the desired outcomes, such as reader engagement or informational depth, as set out in the initial planning phase.

    Everything is evident here. So, we work based on a previously created TOR and explain why we put a particular participant in the listing post in a specific place.

    Creative Instant Improvisation

    When writing an article, you (or your writer, if you're employing professional services) might devise spontaneous ideas for enriching the content with jokes, facts, personal anecdotes, etc. It all depends on the tone of voice you've chosen.

    I recommend always saving these ideas in text form (if you're not in a hurry), recording a voice message, and keeping it in a private archive (if you need more time). It indeed livens up the material, especially since listicles can be monotonous. Such moments can be perceived by readers as a breath of fresh air, making the content more inspiring. The more, the merrier.

    Insert Keywords to Listicle Articles

    Incorporating keywords into listicle articles involves strategically placing relevant terms throughout the content to enhance SEO without compromising readability. Select keywords based on audience research and topic relevance. Integrate them naturally in headings, subheadings, and within the body text. Ensure they align with the article flow and context. It helps improve search engine rankings and visibility, attracting more readers to your content.

    Review Stage

    I divided the review stage into three substages, which need you to perform the following actions:

    1.Check the literacy of the article listing text.
    2.Check for all keywords' presence.
    3.Final proofread for tone of voice.

    Let's break these points down.

    Check the Literacy of the Article Listing Text

    In the review stage, assessing the literacy of the listing post text involves checking for clarity, coherence, grammar, and punctuation. This process ensures that the content is well-written, easy to understand, and free from errors that could detract from the reader's experience. It's also essential to ensure that the language level is suitable for the target audience, using terminology and explanations that are accessible without oversimplifying complex concepts.

    Check for All Keywords Presence

    Ensure you correctly integrate every intended keyword within the article listing text. It involves verifying that keywords are distributed naturally throughout the post, contributing to its SEO without undermining the content flow or readability. This step is crucial for optimizing the article visibility in search engine results, thereby enhancing its reach and effectiveness in attracting the target audience.

    Final Proofread for Tone of Voice

    Listicle must maintain consistency and align with the intended audience and brand persona. Thus, you need to:

    • Make sure emotional appeal matches your communication goals.
    • Evaluate whether the language & style is relevant. For example, there are many English varieties. The most popular are British, American, and Australian ones.
    • Ensure the tone is engaging, professional, or casual, according to the article's purpose.

    Publication Stage

    Now, you are sure that your listicle article is SEO-optimized, visually appealing, and accessible to your target audience. So, it's time to finalize and publish it. 

    Yes, it’s the shortest section in this article :)

    PR Stage

    This phase drives traffic, enhances brand visibility, and establishes authority in your industry. Focus on outreach efforts to maximize exposure and reader engagement. Leverage social media, email newsletters, and influencer collaborations to spread the word about your listing articles. Tailor your messaging to highlight the unique value and insights your listicle offers, encouraging shares and discussions. 

    Social media platforms play a significant role in content marketing. For example, the average engagement rates on different platforms vary, with Instagram having a median engagement rate of 1.22%, compared to Facebook's 0.09% and Twitter's 0.048%. Furthermore, people spend an average of 2.5 hours daily on social media and social messaging platforms​.

    Regular Optimization

    For optimization of articles listing, periodically review your content to ensure it remains relevant, accurate, and SEO-friendly. Regularly update your ranking by adding new products/services and removing those that are no longer relevant.

    Analyze performance data to identify improvement areas, refresh outdated information, and incorporate new keywords to maintain or enhance visibility in search results. This continuous optimization process is vital to keeping your listicle articles engaging and valuable to readers over time.

      Conclusion

      Now, you have the basis to get started. Embrace the listicle template and integrate innovative listicle ideas into your content strategy. It can significantly elevate your website visibility and engagement levels. 

      Through strategic implementation and regular optimization, listicles can become a cornerstone of your digital marketing efforts, driving sustained traffic growth and fostering a deeper connection with your readers.

      FAQ

      A listicle definition says that it’s an article formatted as a list, combining "list" and "article" to present information in a structured, easily digestible manner. It typically includes an introduction, a series of points or tips, and a conclusion, often enhanced with images or infographics.

      Listicles are distinguished by their structure, focusing on numbered or bulleted points that provide a concise overview of the topic, as opposed to the continuous, narrative style of traditional articles.

      Listicles are effective because they break down information into manageable parts, making complex topics more approachable and retaining readers' attention with a clear, organized format.

      Listicles meaning refers to a type of content that organizes information into a list format, making it straightforward for readers to scan and comprehend. It's popular in online media for its engaging and accessible style. That’s how we can define listicle.

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