List articles are all over the internet and it’s with very good reason – simply they are highly effective and particularly well suited for the internet. Here we will look at why you should be using them on your own site, while at the same time cleverly demonstrating just how effective they can be…
1 Coming Up With Topics is Easy
If you ever waste any time staring blankly at your screen while you try to come up with a new subject idea, then list articles are for you. All you need to do to come up with a subject for a list is to think up pretty much any category or type of ‘thing’ and then think about how it can be broken down with another word. So ‘trees’ and ‘huge’. Or ‘planes’ and ‘fast’. And if you are struggling to come up with even relevant words, then you can get around this problem by simply browsing a site that deals exclusively in top tens in order to get some ideas.
2 They’re Quick and Easy to Read
People who surf the web are generally in a hurry. The web has given us the ability to get any information we need at the touch of our fingertips and this has made us somewhat spoiled as we now expect to get everything we want immediately. Actually ‘reading’ an article is no longer an option and so we will look for immediacy in everything we do. In short then your articles need to very quickly grab attention and that’s why bullet points and numbers are ideal – you can just skim across the article and take in the key points or you can read the elaboration underneath if the title piques your interest.
3 They’re Quick to Write
As well as being quick to read they are also quick to write – primarily because each point is something separate and that means you don’t need to think of much to write for each. Again this really helps with the ‘writers’ block element’ – you get stuck, you just move on to the next point.
At the same time they can also be well suited to short articles making them another quick one to churn out. Seriously these articles are incredibly versatile – if I had wanted to make this one twice as long then I’d have made it ’10 reasons’ and if I wanted to make it really short I’d have made it ’3 reasons’. You get the point.
4 They’re Compelling
When you’ve read the top eight of something then you become instantly compelled to find out what number one is, as you will have already formed opinions and made guesses and as you will have committed a certain amount of time to get to your current point. That means you can get people to stay on your page longer which is very good for your CTR.
5 They’re Good for SEO
If you’re still doing keyword research and haven’t been completely scared off by all the recent excitement, then this is a great way to make an article very SEO friendly. People are constantly searching for ‘top tens’ and that means that you can get some great traffic and especially if you think of a unique spin. Then there’s the fact that many of your titles will be ‘top ten best’ in which case you’ll also possibly rank for things like ‘best cars’. In fact if you don’t have at least one top ten article on your site yet, I would highly recommend that you do.
One of the great things about working on SEO projects is that you can often work remotely, from wherever you fancy living for a spell.
The problem with this is that you might end up living in a country in which no one has the faintest idea what kind of work you do. When I moved across here to South America I was instantly aware that all of my neighbours wondered why on Earth I would sit out on the terrace typing on my laptop all day.
Across here most people simply use the internet for connecting to Facebook or reading their emails. Most of the locals businesses don’t even have any sort of website, which makes it kind of difficult to explain to them what SEO is all about.
The SEO Language Barrier
The next barrier is the language. My Spanish is pretty decent now but I wouldn’t even know how to start translating the technical words such optimisation and keywords. Thankfully no one put me to the test for a good few months, as the neighbours quietly stewed and wondered what the crazy gringo nerd did all day. I later found out that one of them had even suggested that I was a high ranking drugs dealer, although I don’t think that theory really held out for long once they realised that I always arrived home on my bike instead of in a private jet with an army of heavies.
One of them finally plucked up the courage to ask me what I worked on. I started off by asked if he knew how Google worked and I could tell that he instantly regretted asking the question. As the colour drained from his face and he started looking around for a reason to leave I waffled rather vaguely about “algoritmos” (which I was pleasantly surprised to find later on is a real word after all) and other things which meant nothing to him.
I had now made things worse by making it seem as though I was involved in some incredibly complex and probably illegal industry which used bizarre words and forced it operatives to live in far flung lands, ride on bikes and wear dated Real Madrid football tops all the time. I was loving my live doing SEO but my concerns about what the neighbours thought were starting to grow. I think this is a normal reaction when you have a life without any real stress or worries. Something needs to move into your head to occupy your time and in my case it was a fear of what people thought about my working life.
Time to Get Mummified in Red Tape
In the end I managed to contrive a situation to let me explain it a bit more clearly. I needed one of the neighbours to go to the local government offices to act as a witness while I got a new visa. As we sat waiting for the mountain of red tape to wind around us and mummify us I brought up the subject of my work.
I had planned what I had to say in advance and managed to clearly explain how I helped websites get a better ranking so that people could find it more easily. He had never looked up a service or product online so I compared my work to that of a shop window dresser who makes sure that the public find what most suits them as quickly as possible. This analogy isn’t perfect but it seemed to do the job in letting him get an idea of what SEO is all about and maybe it will stop everyone wondering about my seemingly strange life.