Does A Table Of Contents Help SEO?

If you watch a video of any SEO expert about how to format a blog post, they’ll tell you to add a table of contents to the page. And it’s not that only a few experts suggest; every expert I can recall endorses this practice.

The question is, why is a table of contents important? Is a table of contents good for SEO? Or is it just for the sake of formatting? Rest assured, because you’re at the right place. 

This article is all about the table of contents, its purpose, and why it’s good. I’ll address all important questions one by one to unravel the significance of the clickable table of contents.

What Is a Table of Contents & Its Purpose?

In simple words, a table of contents means an organized list that outlines what is in your content (blog, articles, book, etc). Remember, the list doesn’t contain everything about the content; it just covers the main headings, like the H1, H2, H3, H4, or even H5 if you add this in the settings. 

Here’s an example of the table of contents from the Wikipedia page about “United States.” This table of contents has all the main headings and subheadings for readers to navigate directly to their topic of interest. 

If people want to read about the “culture,” they can easily click on the “culture and society” heading and jump to it. And that’s the purpose – to help people quickly find the content that matters most to them to improve the user experience.

How a WordPress Table of Contents Can Boost SEO?

You may not know, but you can boost CTR by simply including a table of contents in your post. This happens because when Google’s algorithm detects a table of contents, there’s a high chance that a few important headings will be displayed in the search engine results (as shown in the image)

These links can help increase the CTR of your website as they encourage users to click on the blog. In addition to improving CTR, a table of contents enhances SEO and user experience. This is because a table of contents helps the Google algorithm understand what you’ve covered, increasing the chances of ranking. 

Furthermore, the easier the audience can find answers, the more satisfied they will be with your content, resulting in a better user experience. You can read more about the benefits of using the table of contents in the blog posts below. 

Top 5 Benefits of Using Tables of Contents for SEO

  1. User Experience: Using the table of contents can help improve the user experience. It’s because users tend to have a more overall positive experience when they find the answers they seek easily without reading the long-form content. 
  2. Help Search Engine: Table of contents also boosts your SEO indirectly. As you know, search engines crawl the page, and in this process, the table of contents allows the crawler to understand your blog’s content better. As a result, blog pages rank for more keywords. 
  3. Reduced Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is how many visitors navigate away from the site; it mostly happens when users want quick answers and the blog has long content. Here, a table of contents helps a lot. Users can easily click on the heading they want to read to get the answer instead of going back to the Google search page. 
  4. Make Content Skimmable: The top content best practices include having skimmable content that can be read quickly, and a table of contents does the same thing. It breaks down content into sections, allowing readers to quickly navigate the needed information. 
  5. Shareable link: A table of contents can also help create shareable links. When you click on a table of contents heading, you not only jump to a specific part, but the link changes, too. If you copy this link and open it in another tab, you’ll see the same heading you clicked on in the table of contents rather than the intro.

How to Add Table of Contents to WordPress?

The best way to create a table of contents for maximum SEO benefits is by using WordPress’s table of contents block. Don’t forget that this block won’t be accessible at first. It’s important to download a table of contents plugin that’s only designed to generate an easy table of contents.  Below is the list of 6 Best Table of Content Plugin for WordPress users.

  1. Ultimate Blocks
  2. Heroic Table of Contents
  3. CM Table Of Contents
  4. SimpleTOC – Table of Contents Block 
  5. All-in-One SEO (AIOSEO)
  6. Rank Math

Once you download any of the plugins I’ve mentioned above, activate it and go back to the WordPress content editor. Find the “Add blocks” option or click on the (+) icon. 

Where to Put Table of Contents in a Blog?

The best place to put a table of contents in a blog is after the introduction. I’m not only suggesting it because everyone adds a table of contents in the same place but because it makes sense here.

Understand that the purpose of the table of contents is so the audience can find the information instantly. If you place it at the end or between the content, readers have to hunt for it first to know what the article covers, which doesn’t serve the purpose. 

So, for a better reader experience, place it right at the beginning (after the introduction). That way, your audience can easily spot it.

What is a Good Table of Contents?

A good table of contents is the one that’s clickable. If the links in the table of contents aren’t navigating you to the headings, this means the plugin isn’t working accurately, and it’s a bad table of contents. So, change the plugin and use another one that creates a clickable table of contents. 

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Final Words

Simply put, you should always use a table of contents for your blog. It helps a lot in improving your website ranking and bringing your website to the top of search results. Apart from that, it’s also an excellent way of increasing CTR (click-through rate) and reducing the bounce rate. 

Just make sure the table of contents is at the beginning of the article (after the introduction), and it’s clickable; both points are equally important.

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