3 Reasons to Avoid Listicles on Your Blog

Marketing expert Emma Crameri provides simple ways to improve your blog starting with listicles.

3 Reasons to Avoid Listicles on Your Blog

Over the ten plus years I’ve been writing content for the web, I’ve come to loath listicles.

“Did you know that a listicle is a portmanteau word combing ‘list’ and ‘article’?”

Although it is a common journalistic technique and most of us love a good list. Listicles can have a dark side

Listicles are hard to maintain 

On my first long-term food blog, I kept a list of Brisbane food bloggers. As you can imagine, with the trend of food blogging growing in popularity so did the number of links on the list. I tried my best to keep the page updated, but the web addresses would change.

As I tested the broken links I discovered that some people had stopped posting and updating their blog. At some point, it became too much work and then I stopped maintaining the listicle

Search engines rank on accuracy 

Search engines, like Google, rank websites and web pages on 200 plus factors. So if you stop updating your website and it has too many broken links, it will gradually start to rank lower and lower. This is sometimes referred to as your domain authority (D.A.)

Depending on the search term a user enters, an individual web page may also drop lower. This is sometimes referred to as the page authority (P.A).

Listicles make us less intelligent 

Critics of listicles complain about how listicles can oversimplify a complex subject and can dumb down our readers. Articles written about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subject matter may be better suited to another format. Life isn’t always black and white.

Consider adding a video and illustrated diagrams to appeal to visual learners. Podcasts might be good for auditory learners. It is good practice to spell out all acronyms in full. You might like to add hyperlinks to scientific papers or add academic references.

If you love listicles then make sure you keep them to under a dozen good ideas. Spend time researching and writing all of your online articles.

What are your personal thoughts and experience on listicles?

Image Credit: Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Emma Crameri is a freelance digital content and marketing professional with over 15 years experience working in the IT industry. She can turn your ideas into engaging and shareable online content. She is also the editor of the lifestyle website Brisbanista.

2 COMMENTS

  1. First, I love the term listicles. It really made me smile.

    Second, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. I absolutely see your point on lists. When they’re too large, it’s not healthy. But, reasonable ones are very good from a SEO perspective.

    I’ve actually been working on increasing my SEO side of things to try to rank better. I was reading on https://thinkbigreview.com/on-page-seo/ and most of it really leans on that Google likes well-organized pages.

    In fact, it appears that the snippet you see sometimes when searching for things on Google. Those snippets are usually lists from sites as it makes them appear more organized and authoritative.

    When it’s a reasonable list that I actually try to keep under 10 items max.

    I myself don’t do it to list a bunch of sites to reference as much as quite frequently a list of the topics that I’ll cover in a post. Then I’ll expand upon them.

    And I definitely am all for adding graphic elements to a page. It helps things to flow, keeps reader interest, etc. Neil Patel referenced a site that I tried the other day, infogram.com . It appears to be free for a limited account and I’m not sure how much work it’d take, but you can actually make your own infographics for free which is incredible!

    For those big lists of links to other sites I think Google may frown upon it a little bit or at least give it no weight. It almost appears like a link directory which years ago is almost bad to be on one so even one more reason to get rid of those crazy listicles! :)

    Thanks for the great read Emma.
    Keep blogging on!

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