How to Write a Listicle in 5 Steps


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If you wish to get extra clicks in your content material, put a quantity within the title. That is why listicles convert so effectively. In reality, in analyzing tons of of articles, Danny Forest discovered that 41% of the highest articles in 2020 have been listicles, and the second hottest beginning “phrases” for headlines have been truly numbers. 

Content material creators know this, and it’s grow to be a double-edged sword. Listicles have been considerably overused merely to get clicks, which has pushed down the standard. 

Nonetheless, when completed correctly, they do end in increased engagement and can seize readers’ consideration. 

Let’s check out how listicles (when utilized in moderation) might be efficient for content material advertising.

What’s a listicle?

Article + record = listicle! 

In different phrases, a listicle is an article written in record format. Readers eat them up, however why? Listed below are just some of the various the explanation why listicles are so standard.

1. They stand out in Google SERPs

In a sea of textual content, what’s prone to catch a reader’s eye? One thing that isn’t textual content, that means numbers. When a reader spots a listicle within the search engine outcomes, they’re instantly drawn to it as a result of the title doesn’t appear to be the others round it.

2. They’re straightforward to scan

There’s loads of knowledge suggesting that customers sometimes don’t sit down and skim a chunk of content material phrase for phrase. For instance, one research discovered that readers skim about 69% of the e-zines they obtain. 

The takeaway? Don’t assume individuals are digesting each very last thing you say, as a result of they most likely aren’t.

If you’d like folks to remain on the web page longer, make it simpler for them to skim it. By nature, lists create extra white house on the web page, which makes it simpler on the eyes and smoother to learn. Take into account, as an reverse instance, an article that’s one big paragraph of continuous textual content. Would you take pleasure in studying that? Would you even trouble? In all probability not. Listicles make it easier to keep away from this sort of subject.

Listicles are uniquely reader-friendly as a result of you possibly can skim them with ease and nonetheless stroll away with the details. 

3. Listicles curate a very powerful data

The numbered factors of a listicle often symbolize a very powerful data in that article’s matter. If folks need one thing that’s fast to digest and offers them solely need-to-know data, they’re doubtless going to get it from a listicle.

Listicles are available in infinite matters and varieties.

As a substitute of sifting by Google SERPs to search out a very powerful data, readers can get it in a flash with a listicle.

How one can write a listicle

Now that you realize what listicles are, why they’re so efficient, and what they appear to be, it’s time to jot down your personal listicle. However earlier than you get began, let’s first break the method down into 5 easy steps.

1. Select a subject that is smart in record format

Not all the pieces belongs in record format. For instance, in case you’re writing an article on the historical past of Google, you’re telling a narrative. Tales shouldn’t be break up up into lists.

On the identical time, in case your matter is greatest winter vacation locations, the intent behind it clearly begs for a listicle. One straightforward option to discover matters appropriate for listicle format is to concentrate to the principle key phrase. 

We’ll talk about why key phrase analysis is important in your listicle success within the subsequent part. 

Right here’s an inventory of key phrase sorts that usually make for an important listicle:

  • Key phrases with modifiers akin to greatest, high, new, free (e.g. greatest cms for small companies).
  • [Product name] + alternate options (e.g. Hubspot alternate options).
  • The plural type of the key phrase (e.g. winter hand lotions, Christmas films).
  • Forms of/examples of + [plural keyword] (e.g. sorts of rose bushes).
  • [Plural keyword] with [*] (e.g. canine homes with heaters).
  • [Plural keyword] which can be [*] (e.g. ovens which can be additionally microwaves).
  • [Plural keyword] + [year] (e.g. books 2022).

Some key phrases can fall into one in every of these classes and nonetheless not be an important listicle matter. Keep away from this by checking the SERP that every key phrase triggers and see in case your search intent matches the outcomes. 

For instance, in case you google the plural key phrase “backyard chair covers,” you’ll see the pages of ecommerce giants akin to Amazon, Residence Depot, and Walmart. 

Garden chair covers SERP
Instance of a plural key phrase that gained’t make a superb listicle

It is because the search intent of this key phrase is transactional and never informational. Customers will need to select an appropriate backyard chair cowl proper from the e-сommerce retailer of their selection with out spending time studying a listicle first.

It’s all the time a good suggestion to examine the SERP earlier than deciding on a subject in your listicle. You are able to do this straight in Google or depend on particular instruments. For instance, SE Rating’s Key phrase Analysis instrument has a particular Natural outcomes tab, the place you possibly can instantly see which pages are rating excessive in your chosen key phrase. Extra on this instrument within the subsequent part.

2. Discover your key phrases

If you’d like your audience to search out you in Google, then you’ll want to make your record as seen as attainable. That is the place key phrases are available in. It is best to ideally use key phrases which can be increased in site visitors and decrease in competitors. Because of this lots of people are trying to find them, however not loads of web sites are creating content material round them. These phrases are simpler to rank for.

Go to the Key phrase Search Software, enter a seed key phrase (a common key phrase round your matter of curiosity) and decide your goal location. 


Enter a search time period and discover untapped key phrase alternatives to make your website extra seen in search.

SE Rating’s metrics akin to search quantity and issue will (hopefully) make it easier to discover low-competitive key phrases with excessive site visitors potential.

Keyword research for a listicle

Take note of the Natural outcomes part we talked about earlier. It exhibits pages which can be already rating for the chosen key phrase. In the event you discover some listicles there, you possibly can ensure that it’s the suitable format for the subject. 

One other option to discover key phrases in your listicle is to research your rivals’ content material. You may get a chook’s-eye view of your rivals’ key phrases with SE Rating’s Aggressive Analysis Software. Enter your competitor’s URL and go to Natural Site visitors Analysis — Key phrases. Use the key phrase modifiers we mentioned within the earlier part to search out the suitable key phrases in your future listicle.

listicle topics competitors have

Lastly, it’s also possible to use Google key phrase traits to see what’s getting the lion’s share of search site visitors these days. It is a nice alternative to benefit from a subject/key phrase that’s rising in reputation however isn’t tremendous saturated fairly but.

If, after researching completely different key phrase alternatives, you could have a large number of promising key phrases, our recommendation is to make use of the Key phrase Grouper. With it, you possibly can manage related key phrases into clusters based mostly on person intent. Grouping key phrases with the assistance of a devoted instrument saves you time and reduces errors since you’re automating a course of that you’d in any other case should do manually. 

In case you are new to website positioning, take a look at this entire information on the right way to do key phrase analysis. Play your playing cards proper and your listicle will rise to the highest of the SERPs.

3. Describe every merchandise on the record

You’ll be able to go into as a lot element as you need. Simply keep in mind to take care of one of many greatest advantages of listicles: “skimmability.” In the event you add a number of paragraphs of textual content to every merchandise in your record, take into account using extra headers to maintain the article as scannable as attainable.

Additionally, keep in mind so as to add inner hyperlinks (to the identical web site) and exterior hyperlinks (to different web sites). Inner hyperlinks assist hold folks in your website longer, present extra worth, and might increase your website positioning juice (aka hyperlink juice) with Google. Exterior hyperlinks, particularly to credible websites, might help you construct authority.

Take into account reaching out to the exterior websites you hyperlink to and letting them know. They may be impressed to share your content material because you’re giving them a shout-out.

4. Ensure the order of the record is logical

Your listicle ought to make the readers’ lives simpler by condensing a very powerful details about that matter into one easy-to-read article. To do that, order your record in an intuitive and reader-friendly means. Don’t make them skip round as a result of they’ll simply find yourself leaving the web page.

5. Bonus: Help it with imagery and examples

Readers need one thing attention-grabbing to take a look at. In reality, one survey discovered that 91% of patrons desire visible and interactive content material to static, text-based content material. This sort of content material consists of photos, GIFs, social media embeds, YouTube video embeds, infographics (extra on these in a minute), and even graphics you design your self. 

Keep in mind the Starbucks roundup we talked about earlier? The creator included (on this article) Instagram embeds on photos of mouth-watering drinks. This  brings the listicle to life, provides the reader examples of what they’re studying about, and retains them on the web page longer.

Automate the listicle-writing course of

Wouldn’t it’s good to know precisely what number of particulars you’ll want to add when describing each merchandise in your listicle? Or how about understanding the suitable variety of photos to incorporate in your publish? You additionally need to ensure that you’ve included all of the related key phrases within the textual content. 

Fashionable content material instruments can just do that. The heaps of ideas they offerl not solely make it easier to write a listicle sooner however can get you nearer to the highest of the SERP. SE Rating’s new Content material Advertising instrument analyzes the SERP leaders to offer you suggestions on the phrase depend and the variety of headers, paragraphs, and pictures. It additionally provides loads of related phrases (together with NLP phrases) so as to add to your copy so Google can discover the textual content related to the person intent. 

Content editor settings

You can even use it to research the construction of top-ranking texts aspect by aspect. Primarily based on what you see, you possibly can construct your personal define utilizing the easy drag-and-drop editor.

Lastly, the instrument helps you optimize written textual content. It’ll examine in case you included all chosen phrases. It’ll additionally examine if the phrase depend is as advisable and whether or not the textual content is straightforward to learn and error-free.

Content Editor's text editing window

The Content material Advertising instrument is on the market without spending a dime as a part of the 14-day trial.

6 superior ideas for writing an efficient listicle

Now that we’ve obtained among the fundamentals down, let’s go over some extra professional ideas for writing a listicle that readers will love.

1. Incorporate influencers for credibility

Influencer advertising is skyrocketing for a cause. That’s as a result of influencers have an incredible quantity of… effectively, affect! Listicles are an important alternative to weave in related influencers who’ve an enormous attain. For instance, in case you’re doing an inventory of the most effective canine breeds to personal, you would embody well-known pooches like Noodle, Norbert, and Tuna. 

As soon as your listicle is revealed reside, you possibly can share it throughout social media and tag all the influencers to broaden your attain, develop your publicity, and get extra engagement (likes, feedback, and shares). In the event that they find yourself re-sharing it to their community, consider the site visitors increase you’re going to get from that.

In the event you actually need to go the additional mile, you possibly can attain out to those influencers prematurely and ask in the event that they’d be prepared to supply a quote in your listicle.

2. Add filters and navigation to the listicle

Particularly with longer listicles, readers can have a tough time discovering the precise data they need. There are easy methods to assist them navigate your content material.

A technique is to create a Desk of Contents within the very starting, the place every merchandise on the record hyperlinks out to the suitable part within the listicle. That is referred to as an “anchor hyperlink,” and it’ll take the reader to the suitable location on the web page.

Right here’s an instance from MongoDB. Not solely is there a desk of contents on the suitable aspect that enables for simpler navigation, but it surely additionally has anchor hyperlinks on the high.

Mongo DB table of contents

While you click on on a type of anchor hyperlinks—for instance, Scale Cheaper—it takes you to that a part of the weblog.

Mongo DB clickable navagation links

The way you insert your anchor hyperlinks will rely on the CMS you’re utilizing. Some might need this function natively included, however you might need to do some guide coding with others.

3. Divide a listicle by subtopics to cowl extra gadgets

Did you discover that this text is a listicle? Did you additionally discover that we break up it up into three sections? We made an inventory of the advantages of listicles, newbie ideas, and superior ideas. Dividing it into subtopics helped us cowl the various completely different facets of listicles in a reader-friendly means.

4. Use infographics

Infographics are the fourth most used kind of content material advertising. They’re eye-catching and extremely sharable on social media. Plus, everybody learns in another way. Whereas some customers will desire to learn/skim your listicle, others will profit extra from a graphic.

Sum up the highlights and “key findings” of your listicle in an infographic format. In the event you don’t have entry to an expert graphic designer, attempt utilizing a free instrument like Canva, which comes with an enormous number of free-to-use templates. 

Embody the graphic someplace within the listicle. Manufacturers will typically put it on the very starting or finish. You could possibly even break up it up into a number of smaller infographics and intersperse them all through your listicle.

Don’t overlook that infographics are extremely “sharable.” They make glorious materials in your social media channels. When you’ve got a portrait-oriented infographic, you possibly can simply share this on Pinterest (a search engine!), doubtless with out having to regulate the size. For different social media channels (Instagram, Fb, and many others.) take into account recreating the infographic in order that it’s optimized for every platform with the right dimensions.

Professional tip: In the event you embody your influencers in your infographic after which share the graphic on social media, tag them within the publish.

5. Embody the quantity within the title and header

As we talked about earlier, numbers are particularly click-worthy. The title of your listicle ought to embody a quantity, alongside along with your H2(s), however solely when it is smart. In the event you can push the quantity nearer towards the entrance of the title — alongside along with your key phrase — that’s excellent. However by no means pressure it. Firstly, it has to really feel pure to the reader.

6. Thoughts the standard — all the time

We talked about earlier that since listicles are so eye-catching, some manufacturers have a tendency to make use of them simply to get the reader’s consideration and skimp out on the precise high quality of the content material. 

With any and all content material you create, all the time hold the person intent in thoughts. Regardless of the title of the listicle is, the physique of the content material ought to reply to that particular question. Keep away from clickbaity titles or the rest that might go away the reader disenchanted as soon as they click on to learn. Articles that fail to satisfy person intent gained’t be ranked favorably as a result of they disappoint each readers and Google.

Lastly, let’s discuss how lengthy your record must be. Some say that the longer it’s, the higher. That is solely true, nonetheless, in case you keep the standard all through. 

One factor you might be sure of is that you just don’t need your record to be too brief. Keep in mind that one of many functions of creating an inventory is to curate a very powerful data for the reader. As a substitute of crafting a weblog publish with an inventory of three issues, attempt to stick to 5 or extra. There’s even anecdotal “proof” suggesting that odd numbers in headlines get extra clicks — significantly seven. 

Nonetheless, our suggestion is that you just prioritize creating an inventory filled with worth. Skimp out on high quality and it gained’t matterwhether you utilize a fair or odd quantity.


Listicles are straightforward to eat. Additionally they acquire all probably the most related data for customers and so they stand out in SERPs. When making listicles, determine on a subject and its key phrases, record every merchandise in a logical order and describe them, and add loads of eye-catching photos. Make your listicle shine much more by incorporating influencers, utilizing filters and anchor hyperlinks, breaking your listicle up into sub-topics, utilizing an infographic, together with the quantity within the title and header, and prioritizing high quality of above all else.

Not all content material will make sense as a listicle. And indubitably, different sorts of articles can carry out very effectively — like how-tos. Take into account making some room in your general content material technique for listicles to get insights on what your readers need and want from you. 


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