Does Table of Contents impact the SEO of your blog?
Let's investigate if Table of Contents have any impact on the SEO perfomance of your website blog.
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What is table of contents?
A table of contents, or TOC for short, is a simple list of all the headings and subheadings in your article. Once clicked, the user expects to be moved to the corresponding section.
Benefits of adding table of contents to your website
Google uses these anchors in their results
Back in 2009, Google announced that they'll be using anchor sections to redirect the user to the relevant part of the article. This means that your blog article could appear under several different ways, one with the base URL and one with an anchor link. Of course, that'd be the case for different keywords, and only if Google considers that it answers the question directly.
Even though they will do their best to generate these programatically, there are several things you can do to increase your chances that they might appear in Google search results. More particularly, Google recommends:
- Structure your blog post well and broken into logical chunks
- Ensure that each section is named with a description anchor (eg instead of
- Include a table of contents which links to the relevant anchors and sections
Table of contents provide a better UX
A table of contents allows the uses to quickly browse the section of the page and if they find what they are looking for, they can directly jump to it. Overall, it makes the layout nicer and makes it easier and faster to find relevant information, which users will love.
Are there any downsides of adding table of contents to your website?
Before committing to adding a table of contents, there is something to consider. Are there any downsides from adding TOC to your blog?
The only downside that I can really think of is that, depending on your UI, the table of contents will push the content down the page, resulting in longer scroll time to get to the content. On desktop, you can alleviate this by putting the TOC in the sidebar. This is why you should only consider adding TOC if your content is long, over 1000-1500 words. If you are building a custom solution, consider having a check to see how many words are there in the article and display TOC accordingly.
Examples of table of contents
- Starter Story
- Mangools - Note that their table of contents don't change the URL so it's with anchor and don't if you inspect the code, their anchor is in the form of
#anchor-3. According to Google, this is not the best approach.
- Webflow - a great looking table of contents but, again, their anchors are in the format
Go for it, especially if your blog posts are >1000 words. It helps Google create a mapping of your blog article's anchor links (which can then be displayed on search results) and it helps the user's journey.
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