If you’re looking to improve your search engine results, inverted pyramid writing is one of the best SEO techniques. By front-loading information in your content and including your preferred keywords as early as possible, you’re doing wonders for both your reader engagement and your SEO. Read on for some pointers as to how and why you should use this technique.
Some background on inverted pyramid writing
Inverted pyramid writing on websites is deliberately structured with the principal ideas in the first paragraph. The method got its name because it’s the opposite of the writing structure you would see in a novel or academic thesis, where an introduction leads to further detail and gradually builds to a conclusion. Originally used in journalism to hook readers into a newspaper article, it’s also a highly effective method of attracting online readers who are likely to go elsewhere if not immediately engaged.
How can I develop the SEO techniques on my site?
If you’re a blogger or have a website containing lots of informative content, inverted pyramid writing is for you. Here are 5 important things to remember.
1. Make it easy to understand. Anything that helps a reader quickly get to grips with your article will give you an instant boost, and by laying out the big ideas in the first paragraph, or even the first sentence, you achieve that.
2. Grab their attention. As well as front-loading those big ideas, you need to make the reader think “Yes – this is what I need”. Perhaps that reader found your site through a search engine, which means they entered a search term. If your opening paragraph answers the question that was in their mind when they started their search, you’re structuring your content correctly. Which leads on to…
3. Use your keywords. Another major SEO technique is keyword prominence, which measures how close your keywords are to the page’s title tag, meta description and heading tags – the closer they are, the better. The nature of inverted pyramid writing means the essentials of your article – and by extension, your keywords – are right there at the beginning: a big tick in the SEO column.
4. Factor in skimming. There’s plenty of research showing people don’t read web content in the same way they’d read a novel. Instead, their eyes skip about, searching for word combinations that match what they’re looking for, particularly in the opening paragraph and the first part of each subsequent section. This is where you need to place your key information, so it catches the eye.
5. Think about interaction cost. This is the level of effort required from the reader to develop interest in your article. Again, think about a novel, where the interaction cost is accepted as high because plot development takes time.
By contrast, your reader expects almost instantaneous results from your content – plus, it’s free, so there’s nothing stopping them from going elsewhere if they don’t immediately see something worthwhile. The lower the interaction cost, the more likely your reader will stick around.
In summary, by putting the main ideas first, you’re using one of the most suitable SEO techniques to encourage engagement with your content. Readers, therefore, spend more time on your site – and that leads to improved SEO.