7 Types of Articles Your Readers & Search Engines Will Love
Have you ever faced the sobering truth, that no matter how frequently you publish articles, your website is just not picking up on organic results?
This is a common issue.
But what if I told you that it’s possible to spice up your blog with certain article types that, besides engaging your readers, also please search engines?
We recently added a new feature to Thrive Architect, called Content Blocks. These new content templates are ‘Content Block Elements’ with a preformatted layout that you can add to your article with only a few clicks. This new feature will help you organize your content into a nice layout without having to do any formatting yourself.
In this post, we discuss how can you use these Content Blocks to build up specific content types your readers and search engines will love.
So, What Does Google Like From Blog Content These Days?
Google announced that they are using a machine learning algorithm for ranking search results, called RankBrain. It measures how people interact with search results. To ensure showing the best possible results to readers, the algorithm is set to tweak itself, and adjust the weight of certain ranking factors on the go. The more people click on a search result, the more Google ‘likes’ that result.
RankBrain is an AI-based system Google began using in 2016 to understand how pages are related to concepts. It means we can better return relevant pages even if they don’t contain the exact words used in a search, by understanding the page is related to other words and concepts...— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 21, 2019
Keywords remain important for Search Engines in 2019 too. However, compared to old school SEO, it’s not only keywords that matter. Search engines have become much more sophisticated over the years. Google now understands how pages are connected to concepts, and how comprehensive is the content of a certain article.
Google now rewards long, cohesive and comprehensive content on a topic — where the main keyword might not be mentioned at all!
These article types are usually long-form content — over 2000 words — that carry a ton of relevant and useful information to the readers. This is indicated by the ‘dwell time’ of visitors (a.k.a. the time spent by visitors on a page).
To sum up, Google’s RankBrain focuses on two things:
- Search Result Page click-through rates
- Dwell time
So how can you ensure that your readers find value in your content and that Google acknowledges you at the same time?
You create the type of content they both like. This means long, comprehensive, and relevant content that is organized into a clear, scannable and easily digestible structure.
Let’s go through these content types one-by-one to see how you can create them in Thrive Architect.
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1. List Posts
List posts — or listicles — are articles where the content is organized into a list format. This structure makes creating content like this easy, which is why so many content writers have used it as their go-to content format.
If you take a look around the web, you’ll find a lot of list posts, some of them being insanely popular. As an example, take a look at the format of the article you’re currently reading. ;)
Benefits of Publishing a List Post
Not only are list posts easy to write, but they’re easy to read as well; that’s because the list format makes articles scannable. Reader-friendliness makes this content type popular, resulting in more shares and a greater potential of going viral!
Google also appreciates this format when showing list snippets, since those are often created based on the numbered headers of list posts.
How to Write List Posts
Even though list posts have the potential to go viral, they rarely do! That’s because poorly written list articles flood the internet. This list post overwhelm has created the effect that most people deem an article poor quality as soon as they see the numbered list elements.
So even though we label listicles as ‘easy-to-write’ articles, don’t shortcut the writing process for them. They only have the potential to go viral if the content is stellar.
So how can you write a good list post? I used David’s video on listicles for inspiration:
- Spice up your listicle with a catchy headline. Instead of choosing a mainstream ‘x ways to do something’, try to add emotion to it. Like SmartBlogger did in this post:
- Create a compelling introduction. Your readers first want to make sure that you fully understand their problem before they’d commit to read the whole article. Add a personal story to your introduction to show you readers that you can relate to their problems.
- Each point should be organized into numbered list elements. Use headings too to make each of your ideas stand out.
- Include a controversial point, that approach the topic from a completely new angle. Like this you can stand out from the rest of the listicles within the same niche.
- Keep a consistent content pattern when writing a list post. For each item in the list, the same elements should be repeated in the same order, using the same formatting. If you put a chapter image in the first list item, add one for all of the rest too.
Spice Your List Posts Up with the New Content Blocks
The ‘Steps’ Content Block is a pre-formatted list layout in which you can simply insert your own text while keeping a nice list layout. Using the ‘Steps blocks’ will also help you to keep the listicle’s content pattern consistent throughout the whole article.
The ‘Steps blocks’ look like this in the Content Blocks Gallery:
Choose the one design you like the most, and simply add your own text to the text boxes.
2. Comparison Articles
Comparison articles are powerful weapons in the hands of an affiliate marketer. In a comparison post, article writers line up the features of two (or more) products or services, with the goal of revealing which one is ‘better’. It’s the ideal post to promote a certain product or service, and show its benefits in contrast to competitor products.
Benefits of Publishing Comparison Articles
Have you heard about the buyer’s journey before? It’s the ‘journey’ of a buyer starting from realizing they have a problem, looking for possible solutions, and then ends when they buy a product that solves their problem. It involves three stages, the Awareness Stage, the Consideration Stage, and the Decision Stage.
With these comparison articles, you target people is their decision stage. Therefore, Comparison Articles have the potential to be one of your most valuable content assets to directly increase your revenue.
In a product review article, you’ll usually compare a product to one of your competitor’s products. When placing the competitor's name and ‘keyword’ strategically in an article, it will start ranking for that keyword. As potential buyers are in their decision-stage, showing them a product alternative usually has an effect on their final decision.
How to Write a Comparison Article
To write a comparison article, first start by collecting each feature and benefit of the products you'll be comparing. Next:
- Clarify who your article is for. This saves a lot of time for your readers, while you can focus on a target group when writing. Fight the urge to please everyone.
- Introduce the products without any bias. Backup your arguments with data wherever it’s possible. You can highlight the features you’d like to promote, but avoid being overly one-sided and pushy.
- Compare apples to apples. Pair up the same or similar product features. A table element can help you organize these features.
- Include a pros and cons list. By listing all the positive and negative features in one place, people can immediately decide if the product is a good fit for them.
- Visuals make your articles easily digestible. Express everything you can with images, as they help readers to follow your line of thought.
- Keep a consistent layout. Use headings (H2-H5) correctly throughout the article. If you use an image for one of the products, use a comparable image for the other product(s) as well
- Use competitor keywords so you get some extra traction from SEO. You can also use keywords like “[competitor] alternative”, “[competitor] vs.”, “[competitor] vs your product, etc. to target people who are actively looking for an alternative.
- Mind your audience’s intentions. Readers come to your page because they’re looking for a solution to a problem, meaning that their intention is to decide which product fits their needs best. Instead of monotonously listing the features of the products you’re comparing, highlight the benefits readers get from the products.
Make Your Comparison Article Visually Appealing
We included a couple of pre-designed “Pros and Cons” Content Block template layouts in our latest Thrive Architect update. You can simply select a layout from the Content Block Gallery and then modify the text to fit your needs.
This saves you a lot of editing time while improving the readability of your article. Check them out:
3. Product Reviews
A product review is an honest overlook of the functionality of a specific product or service. For many bloggers, product reviews are the primary way of earning money, so getting this type of content right is essential.
Check out a great example for a product review of Thrive Leads written by Authority Hacker.
Benefits of Publishing Product Reviews
Writing product reviews for products and services is a great way to provide value to your readers while showing off your expertise on a subject. Besides creating a valuable blog post, you can also promote something you’ll receive a commission for.
How to Write a Product Review
First things first, don’t do the following:
Jane Doe is an affiliate marketer. Jane likes to promote stuff on her website for money. Jane never uses or even tries out these products, nor has an actual opinion about them. However, Jane still pushes these products to her readers.
Don’t be like Jane.
Many affiliate marketers commit the mistake of being too keen on their reviews. I guarantee you’ve seen this type of pushy review content before; all the qualities of a certain product are amazing, 5-star features, but you never see the real story behind why.
So how can your write a good review and avoid sounding pushy?
- Start with who is the article for. Like this, you can ensure that qualified prospects will continue reading your posts.
- Include a story. Talk about how you came across the product and what problem it solved for you. Use a personal story to turn the whole product review into a more digestible format for your readers.
- Include a summary box at the beginning of your post. According to Authority Hacker, this section has the highest conversion rate on the page.
- Describe the functionality of the product or service you’re reviewing based on your experience. Make your review an authentic introduction to the product.
- Include case studies to show how the product(s) work in real life.
Create a Review Post or Review List in Thrive Architect
In our new Content Block feature, we included pre-designed product review elements that you can add to your review summary box discussed above:
Collect the reviews of similar products in a review list. By presenting a couple of options, your readers can sort though the reviews and pick the one they like without having to leave your website.
Using these product review Content Blocks saves you a ton of time as you won’t have to build them up separately.
4. Expert Highlight
One way to show your readers how to do something right is through an expert's example.
In the Expert Highlight post type, you analyze what led an expert to their success, and break the process down to your readers in a way that they can replicate it — ideally with the help of using your product or service. This is exactly what we did in this post about how Marie Forleo uses testimonials in her business.
Benefits of Publishing an Expert Highlight
Showing your products or services through a real-life example builds trust. Moreover, you give your readers the opportunity to thrive the way an expert already has.
Writing an expert highlight is also an excellent way to establish a partnership with fellow entrepreneurs. A post like this can carry link building and cross-promotional opportunities on top of organic search gains.
How to Write an Expert Highlight
When you’re looking for an expert’s story to introduce to your readers, think about how can your business benefit from the post.
Check influential people you follow on the web and see which of their business actions makes sense to analyze.
As an alternative, you can also use one of your successful customers as an example, describing how your product or expertise changed their business for the better.
When creating this type of post, make sure to:
Make your Expert highlight authentic by telling the expert’s ‘story’ and how they got started on their business.
Introduce the problem your subject was facing initially and how they solved it with the product you’re promoting.
Dig into their strategies and “go-to” practices that readers can benefit from and present them in an approachable way.
Show — ideally with numbers — where they started and what results they had over time
Include screenshots to help people visualize the transformation your subjects underwent in their business.
Keep a clean structure throughout the article, by using a consistent content pattern.
Use the ‘Problem & Solution Block’ to Write Your Expert Highlight Posts
We included a useful content pattern in our Content Block feature to help you follow a clean structure throughout your article. It’s called the ‘Problem & Solution’ block.
Besides making an article scannable, this Content Block template also makes the writing process easier. The first paragraph in these blocks showcases a ‘Story’ section, followed by a ‘Problem’ section and ‘Solution’ section.
Choose the ‘Problem & Solution Block’ from the ‘Content Block Gallery’, modify the pre-designed layout with your text, and you’ll be good to go!
5. Crowdsource Post
A crowdsource post is a type of article in which you invite experts to contribute to a piece of content by submitting a short blurb to the creator of the article.
Once you have a number of blurbs submitted, you then organize it into a complete post and publish it on your blog. Normally, if you have a reputable website, people will gladly contribute, as they see the marketing benefit behind it.
Here is a good example of a well-written crowdsource post by Matthew Woodward.
Benefits of Publishing a Crowdsource Post
This post type is widely used for link building purposes. If you have a reputable website already, you can invite people to participate in your new blog post, mark their contribution as a resource, and provide a backlink to their website.
When you publish your piece, contributors will then share it with their audience on social platforms and mention their participation in your content within one of their blog posts. It’s a win-win scenario.
These articles are also easily updatable. So whenever you find a new blogger to collaborate with, you can then add their blurb into your already published article.
How to Write a Crowdsource Post
Creating a crowdsource post is fairly easy because most of it is written by contributors. Of course, creating a post like this will take some time to put together, but here’s how to get started and follow through on it:
First, choose a topic based on a keyword research.
Reach out to a number of experts in the niche you’re writing about, asking them to participate. Shoot for a large number of contributors, as approximately half of them won’t get back to you. I recommend to reach out to around 40 experts. Like this, you can post a crowdsource post of 20 blurbs, which is a great starting point.
When sending an email, remember to set a deadline for when the blurbs should be submitted by, otherwise, your inquiry might fall through the cracks.
After you’ve collected all the contributor blurbs, you’ll have a clear picture for the angle you’ll write the article around. At this point, write the introduction and conclusion of your article.
Insert the blurbs in a logical order (making sure you give credit to each source).
Once the post goes live, notify the experts that contributed to your post and ask them to promote it with their followers.
Add more contributors in the future if necessary.
How to Layout a Crowdsource Post
We added nicely formatted ‘Quote Blocks’ in the Content Block Gallery so you can insert each of your contributor images and comments into your post with just a few clicks.
6. Step-By-Step, Comprehensive Guides
Comprehensive guides are long form articles that cover a topic in great detail, usually with the goal of lead generation. Brad has written a great piece on comprehensive guides, which I recommend to read if you are planning to write such an article for your website.
Benefits of Publishing a Comprehensive Guide
Creating comprehensive guides is a great way to attract readers, encourage social shares, while being link-worthy at the same time. The more readers you get, the more leads you may generate.
As Google wants to make sure to always provide the best search results for each search query, it values comprehensive content highly. The in-depth style of such articles serve readers well, by giving them an all-round, detailed answer to their question.
How to Write a Comprehensive Guide
Shoot for long content. Some guides are counting up to 40000 words, but you can aim for a more manageable 10000 words-guide at first.
Because of the long form, it’s essential to organize your guide into logical chapters. Use headings and subheadings in your text. Like this you can not only ensure readability, but you make it easier for Google to find your page.
“Mind mapping is the process of visually organizing information and structuring your content into chunks.” This technique helps you plan your content and write it “chunk-by-chunk”.
Use images & visual aid wherever it’s possible, as they improve the perceived value of your article. Images increase readability by breaking the ‘wall-of-text’ perception.
Include a table of contents so readers can easily navigate within your article.
Provide actionable steps for your readers to follow. When people are looking for a comprehensive guide, chances are that they need step-by-step help to achieve the outcome they want. So give your readers what they want; include numbered steps with a ton of screenshots, so your readers can follow through to their end goal.
Use the Steps-Block to Guide Readers Step-By-Step
We all know the pain of creating good looking numbered lists in WordPress. They just never look good.
To soothe this pain, we created the ‘Steps’ block in the new Content Blocks element of Thrive Architect so you can add it to your article with a few clicks. You find the ‘Steps’ Content Block templates in the ‘Content Block Gallery’.
7. Resource List Page
A resource page is a reference page on your blog. It provides readers with quick access to the products and tools you recommend frequently on your blog, just like Pat Flynn does it on his resources page.
Benefits of Publishing a Resource List
A resource page has the potential to become one of your most visited web pages. It should be listed in your main menu, serving as an immediate hint for your visitors about where to find your most recommended tools and products.
You can also add an affiliate link to the products listed on your resource page, and then you’ll have the possibility to increase your revenue with it.
How to Write a Resource List
Let’s see how Pat Flynn builds up his own resource page to see how you can do the same:
- Pat starts with a general intro about why he recommends a certain product, while also stating that some of his URLs are affiliate links (we thought so… you should always be upfront with your readers about this when using affiliate links on your website)
- He then lists each of the products and tools he recommends with a summary of the product and the reason why it’s being recommended.
- Notice that the products are organized into groups based on their functionality.
- Finally, Pat maintains a consistent content pattern throughout his entire resource page so it’s easily scannable.
Use the Resource List Block to Build Your Own Resource List Page
Again, maintaining a specific content pattern for a long resource page will help you limit the time needed to create this type of content. And to make construction even faster, We included a ‘Resource List’ template with the new Content Block element.
You can give a flawless layout to your resources list page by simply inserting these blocks, and modifying your text & images and then publishing the page. It’s that easy!
It’s Time To Use What You’ve Learned
After reading this article, you’re now armed with 7 new content types to build up your blog with.
And by using the Content Block templates discussed above, you’ll not only be able to improve readability and CTR of your posts, but save some serious time in the content creation process as well!
So which of these content types could you easily implement on your blog first by using the new Content Block templates?
Let us know in the comments below.
The essence of each content type discussed above is highlighted in the following info-graphic. You can go though them one-by-one to learn the most important features and benefits for each.
You can also see which Content Blocks you should use for specific types of articles if you want to write and publish them super quick.