Unleashing this simple plugin on your posts and pages can build up a lot of good equity with your readers. And this in turn can boost your revenue like you wouldn’t believe it.
WordPress content tables also help with brand building and SEO
Which is what I’ll cover next.
Push your SEO to new levels with plugins (sounds weird- but it’s true)
TOC’s are an easy way to boost your SEO because they give you both direct and indirect value.
What are direct and indirect SEO benefits?
Good question. I’m glad you asked 😛
Direct SEO benefits are changes you make today that have an impact tomorrow.
Keyword in the first hundred words.
According to Ahrefs, it’s a minuscule ranking factor. The one unlikely to push that ranking needle… unless you’re targeting a low competition keyword.
In that case just gracing your opening paragraph with your target words can put you in Google’s grace. 😀
It’s a direct effect and happens right away (or very quickly).
Indirect SEO benefits are:
You change something today, something else happens tomorrow, and THEN you get an SEO benefit the day after tomorrow.
You spice up your meta description, make it snappier and more action-oriented. This attracts more clicks to your post. Over time this increased activity causes Google to reward you with a higher SERP position.
And where do content tables fit into this?
They improve your SEO by improving user experience signals that Google (and especially its machine-learning software- RankBrain) pay so much attention to.
Let’s break the down real quick!
a) Decreased pogo sticking and increased dwell time (direct)
Pogo sticking- the bane of every honest webmaster. They fear it more than the devil.
What is it?
It’s when people click on your result in the SERP’s, and then click right back. This tells Google, “these results suck”
So they drop you like a stone.
Content tables minimize this effect because they outline the article and give folks a chance to click.
And once they do, they’re pulled in the middle and… that clock is always ticking.
Once 1m passes, dwell time kicks in.
What is it?
Dwell time is the time visitor spends on your site .
If they spend more than a minute- good.
More than two – great!
So you get a boost from Google for that page and that keyword. And this process is repeated across your entire site. For every page/post (with TOC) and for every keyword.
So imagine the effect on your SEO, and in extension, on your affiliate earnings.
I propose a metaphor.
Little clump of show starts rolling of a steep hill.
The thing you get at the base is?
(Is there even a base? Or is it a horizon?)
b) Lower bounce rate (direct)
Bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit your site and then leave after having visited only one page.
SEO’s disagree whether this is a ranking factor.
I say it doesn’t matter.
Because – and forget SEO for a moment; you want people to spend more time on your site, regardless of SEO.
And content table helps you with that.
Internal links. You probably have them on every article on your site, right? I mean why wouldn’t you?
e) Keyword-rich anchors push relevance (Hypothetical SEO gain)
Content table is a list of links based on the post headers. Do you agree?
And you concur that those headings are usually keyword-rich?
And we know that properly used heading tags signal relevance to Google and still have some SEO value.
Now, it’s my theory (meaning I haven’t read this anywhere- a concoction of my mind) that those links actually help Google understand what parts of the page are about, and from there- what the whole page is about.
Thus you get an easy relevance boost.
Care for an example?
Some of the headers for this post are:
SEO benefits of adding content tables to your posts and pages
How to create and add a table of content in WordPress?
How to add tables of content to your sidebar. And how to make them float?
Don’t you think that they tell Google my post is about:
Easy SEO gains content tables bring.
How to make content tables in WordPress
How to add them to your sidebar, and sticky sidebar no less!
I do. I’m certain of it, though I might be wrong. But also, no one can disprove me since no one knows for sure…
Note– It’s hard to explain in words alone, so I’ll use lots of images. If you find something confusing, just remember- images are your friends.
Also, this plugin has way too-developed back end.
You don’t need all those settings!
I think there are like 50 boxes to check/uncheck. I will focus on the crucial functions you need to make the TOC you can be proud of.
First, install and activate the plugin through the WordPress dashboard.
Then click Settings»Table of Contents
Enable support– I chose pages and posts. This means a table will be created on all pages and posts that are suitable (depends on the number of subheads).
Auto Insert– Posts and Pages (rich in content ).
Position– Before the first heading. This tucks it in nicely between the blog post title (H1 tag) and first subhead. I like it so because it gives me space to open the article with a good introduction.
Show when- Define the number of subheadings needed for the table to be created. I suggest at least four. Anything less and it would be redundant. You don’t ever see a 300-word post with a table of content- or you shouldn’t. (If you do- report it to redundancy police 😀 )
Display header label– I leave it off because it makes my table look cleaner. If you check it, it will say something obvious like “Table of Content”.
Show as a hierarchy– Check it because it matches the logical structure of your blog post. People have an inherent need to follow the trail of breadcrumbs to reach a conclusion- make them happy.
Counter– I leave it at decimal because numbers are universally appealing and recognizable.
These were basic options you need to have a functional and beautiful table of contents.
You DON’t need to do anything else.
However, there’s some advance stuff worth tinkering with (very easy, I promise)
I think default settings are fine for any site, but this adds a nice touch to your tables.
I suggest you use your brand’s colors if you decide to change anything. I did and you can see it in my TOC’s (hint– my brand colors are Neil Patel orange and Microsoft link blue).
You can set headings you want to be included in the table of contents.
Here’s the criterion I follow.
I divide my posts in h2 and h3 headings and want them all to be included in my table of content.
It’s because h2’s give a big picture on what I want to talk about, while h3’s break it down with several paragraphs of stand-alone information each.
And this awesome feat warrants a place in the table. 🙂
You can exclude your “lesser” headings (in my case h4) if they contain little info (maybe just one short paragraph).
Phew! That’s it.
Now that you you know how to create and add a content tables to your WordPress posts and pages- my work here is done.
Bonus tip #3- How to make content tables on free sites and web 2.0 (Tumblr;WordPress; Blogger…)
Free websites are awesome for beginners to take their blogging baby steps.
They get free hosting, security and updates. And they don’t have to worry about themes, plugins, and a bunch of other stuff too.
It’s perfect and…
“Wait a minute, no plugins”!?
Free sites, while overall a positive experience, limit what you can do with them, including installing new plugins.
“So if I can’t use a plugin to create my content table… then what? No content table at all”?
Yes, I mean No!
We’ll be using jump links instead.
Before you ask…
Jump links are simply links on the page that, when clicked on, take you to another part of that page. So they’re similar to content table links, except that they can be a one-man team and scattered across the page.
For example, this is a jump link. And if you click it, it’ll take you to the beginning of this article. So tread carefully.
I got the idea from Brian Dean. I noticed that in one of his guides he used jump links to create a makeshift table of contents.
As you can see- it’s doesn’t look as fancy as when you make it with a plugin. But for free sites and web 2.0 they’re all we’ve got…
So let’s make them work!
How to create page jumps in WordPress (a mini tutorial)
To make a jump link you need to insert two pieces of code into your post’s HTML editor.
One where you give a unique name to the link you’re creating:
<a href="#unique-name">Your Link Text</a>
And the other where you set the target on the page:
<a name="unique-name">Target Text</a>
And that’s really it.
It looks complicated at first, but it’s easy and if you have questions, shoot them in the comment section below (this is a jump link). But not before you’ve read the next part.
It is here that all your questions will be answered,
Content table made of jump links- an example
I’m going to use my Tumblr sister site, and specifically this blog post. It’s a story of how I was able to get a followed link from Moz.com (DA 90) simply by being part of their community.
Now, that post isn’t very long, a must for content tables to make sense. But it’ll do for demonstration purposes.
I already made the table so as to prevent you having to plow thorough my clumsy writing and possibly falling asleep.
I admit it- I’m not comfortable writing anything related to using HTML, so this was precaution on my part.
What you’ll see now took a lot of time to write…
First, here’s how the table looks:
And here’st the code in the back-end:
I know- it’s a mess.
But look what happens when I go CTRL+F and type “#”
<a href=”#unique-name”>Your Link Text</a>
And here’s is how the other part of the code looks:
<a name=”unique-name”>Target Text</a>
And that’s really all there is to it.
This method works but it’s not the most elegant. For example the code behind Tumblr is hell, and it takes ample time and focus to make a table this way.
Also, notice then when you click on on the table anchor, it open in new tab.
I don’t like that, but don’t know how to change.
If you do, leave me a comment, and I’ll credit you with a (nofollow) link.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.