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Yoast SEO assessment: Subheading distribution
What does the subheading distribution check do?
The subheading distribution check assesses whether you’ve used enough subheadings in your text. Most texts of over 300 words need subheadings, to help readers scan the text. So, this check will notify you if your text is longer than 300 words and doesn’t contain any subheadings. It’ll also let you know if a text section following a subheading is too long — i.e more than 300 words –, and suggest you add subheadings to improve the readability of that part of the text.
Why is subheading distribution important for readability and SEO?
Readers like to scan content, to get an idea of what the text is about and to decide which sections of the text they’re going to read. Subheadings help them do that. Scanning the text becomes significantly harder for your readers when your text doesn’t contain any subheadings, or the subheadings are followed by long stretches of text.
If visitors can’t quickly find what they’re looking for, they’ll probably leave your site and look for another answer to their query. This is why text structure and heading use also impact SEO: search engines will pick up on people bouncing from your site: apparently, this page doesn’t give searchers what they’re looking for. This may negatively affect your rankings.
Additionally, search engines use your headings to determine what the content on your website is about. If your text doesn’t have enough headings, this will not only be harder for them, but you’re also missing out on an opportunity to optimize your headings for your keyphrase or phrases! Of course, we have an assessment for that as well.
Do you want to improve your distribution of subheadings?
We advise putting a heading above every long paragraph, or above a group of paragraphs which form a thematic unit. The text following a subheading generally should not be longer than 250-350 words.
Also, keep the following two things in mind when restructuring your text: firstly, a paragraph should start with a core sentence and then elaborate on this core sentence. When restructuring your text to add a heading, make sure the first sentence of your paragraph contains the most important information of that paragraph. Secondly: adding whitespace should help make information in a text become easier to process. So, don’t add whitespace and headings, just because it looks better or because the plugin told you to. Consider how information is structured in your paragraphs and what the relation is between paragraphs, and how a subheading can help make that information easier to digest.