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How to write clear and SEO-friendly paragraphs

Crafting clear and correct paragraphs isn’t just about aesthetics. You shouldn’t put whitespace in your content just to make it look nicer. Paragraphs are actually a vital ingredient for readability, for both your readers and Google. So in order to create great content, you’ll need to give your paragraphs some extra SEO love! In this post, we’ll explain why paragraphs are important for SEO and give you tips on how to write clear and SEO-friendly paragraphs.

Why are clear paragraphs important for SEO?

Paragraphs give structure to a text, because they divide it into smaller sections and show which sentences belong together. This makes your text easier to read, especially if you use the right subheadings. Paragraphs also help your readers make sense of your text, because they can more easily see the connection between the topics in your content.

As Google is trying to mimic a human-like experience, writing clear paragraphs is also important for SEO. Because Google wants to present their users with well-written text that they can easily understand. And Google will have a much easier time understanding your text and assessing the topic, if it’s written well and has clear paragraphs.

Core sentences

When deciding whether or not to read a certain article, people tend to scan through a text. While scanning, they usually read the first sentence of every paragraph. That’s why the first sentence is very important (some might say the most important), and should contain your most important message. It’s why people call them core sentences or topic sentences. Because if someone reads the first sentence of every paragraphs in a well-written article, they’ll understand the core of the article.

The existence of core sentences is not unknown to Google. Google understands that readers pay extra attention to those, and that writers will use them to get their message across. So if possible, try and put your focus keyphrase in the first sentence of a paragraph.

What does a clear and SEO-friendly paragraph look like?

A paragraph is more than just a bunch of sentences and whitespace. So what does a clear and SEO-friendly paragraph look like? Let’s explore some characteristics!

Address one topic

A paragraph should always be about one topic. It should have one message. Don’t try to address multiple things in one paragraph (unless you’re summarizing), because a paragraph should be a thematic union. The sentences of a paragraph should belong together. When you want to talk about something else, start a new paragraph.

Make them complete

Your paragraph should be complete. This means that you shouldn’t go on about the same thing in the next paragraph. Everything you want to discuss about a certain topic should be said in one paragraph. After a whitespace, there should be a change in the focus of the text.

Keep them short

An SEO-friendly paragraph should be rather short. Try to keep paragraphs to a maximum of 10 sentences. You can have some paragraphs that are longer, because mixing shorter and longer paragraphs can make for a good read.

If a topic is too large, however, you may have to divide it into two categories and write two paragraphs. In this case, make sure to critically assess your topic. Because if you’re writing about something for more than 10 sentences, you might actually be addressing different things in a single paragraph. So make sure you divide your paragraphs in a smart way!

Use subheadings!

Add subheadings to your paragraphs to help readers understand what a specific paragraph is about. Subheadings really help a reader grasp the main message of your text. As we’ve discussed before, people usually scan a text before they decide to read, and subheadings are a great way for people to determine whether or not to read your article.

Start with your core sentence

As we discussed before, an SEO-friendly paragraph starts with a core sentence that clearly states the message of the paragraph. After that, a good paragraph has a few supporting sentences that all convey the same message, but elaborate upon or bring nuance to your main message. Sometimes, a paragraph also has a concluding or a transitional sentence, which rounds things up or creates a bridge to the next paragraph.

An example of a paragraph with a core sentence, supporting sentences, and a transitional sentence.

Short recipe for a clear and SEO-friendly paragraph

So, let’s make this practical. This short SEO love recipe will help you write clear paragraphs that are also SEO-friendly!

  1. Decide what the message of the paragraph is. What do you want to say in this specific paragraph? What is the central topic?
  2. Get that message into a sentence. It will be the first sentence of that paragraph. And consider if it’s possible to use your focus keyword, because would be awesome for your SEO. However, if your focus keyphrase makes your first sentence sound weird, then don’t use it.
  3. Write a few supporting sentences in which you elaborate on the first sentence, or bring nuance to your main message. Make sure to stay on topic!
  4. Optional: write a concluding sentence in which you round things up. You could also write a transitional sentence to make introduce your next topic.
  5. Assess whether or not your paragraph is too long. If the paragraph is rather lengthy (more than 10 sentences), consider splitting it up into two paragraphs.
  6. Do you need a subheading for this specific paragraph? If so, write one. When in doubt, use a subheading. People generally don’t use enough subheadings in their text. And if it makes sense, try to use your focus keyphrase in the subheading.
  7. Re-read the paragraph you’ve just written. Does it make sense?
  8. Last checks: make sure you don’t use too many long sentences. Avoid passive voice as much as possible, and check whether you used enough transition words.

Love your site and write clear paragraphs

You write posts and articles because you want people to read them. But you also want people to understand your texts! That’s why you should focus on writing clear paragraphs, because they’ll make your texts more readable. Plus, they’ll help Google understand your texts as well, which will help you rank higher in the search engines. So, give those paragraphs some SEO love. And don’t forget to take an extra look at the core sentences, because they could really make all the difference.

Read more: How to write an SEO-friendly introduction for a blog post »

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