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Write Useful Sub-Headings

Home » Creative SEO Article Course » Write Useful Sub-Headings

Sometimes your article heading/title will have been written for you. This means that you’re not getting to learn for yourself how to actually write a heading.

You pay attention to the heading of your article because that is what attracts readers. But don’t neglect subheadings! If you think your article is fine without them, you’re mistaken.

Rules for Sub-Headings

  • Don’t use anything like Conclusion, Summing Up, Final Thoughts, What’s Next or Next Steps as the last sub-heading. Be more creative and add value to your sub-heading (see below).
  • Use sub-headings suggested by SurferSEO, when available.
  • Avoid sub-headings that are a category or type in nature. E.g. Virtual Assistant Rates. Instead, add value. E.g. What are average salaries for virtual assistants?
  • Avoid using H4. Don’t make a point of trying to use H4.

Add Value to Sub-Headings

According to The Nielsen Norman Group, 79% of people who use the internet scan a page before they read it. What will their eyes settle on? You guessed it—subheadings.

Sub-headings are great because they help break up the text. A reader who clicks a catchy title only to find a huge block of text will be put off. In the same way, just because a sub-heading is flashy doesn’t mean it’s inherently useful or good.

Your sub-headings should compliment your title.

Your reader has come to your for a solution, they are looking for education or entertainment. Your title has made it clear what your article is going to offer, but your sub-headings help keep your article on track once your reader has scrolled down enough that your title is out of sight.

Pretend this is your title, followed by three sub-headings:

3 Amazing Reasons You Need to Visit Scotland in 2020

  • Cities
  • Nature
  • Culture

The above sub-headings could be used for almost anything, they don’t add any value to your article.

Let’s see if we can improve them with a bit of creativity and flair. Here is another set of titles and their sub-headings:

3 Amazing Reasons You Need to Visit Scotland in 2020

  • Stone Cities Steeped in History
  • Breathtaking Vistas from the Highlands
  • Summer Arts Festivals That Last Weeks

You can instantly see that these above sub-headings offer waaaaaaaay more context to the reader. They’re far more interesting and they allow the reader to get excited about what they’re going to read next. Whereas the inital sub-headings were far more prosaic and pedestrian. Boring.

A bit of extra effort on your sub-headings will go a long way to improve the overall quality of your article.

The following articles will help you master you sub-headings:

Sub-Headings: Hierarchy and Context

You have already learnt about heading capitalisation.

You also need to ensure you are consistent with sub-heading hierarchy – we use Heading 1 (H1) in Google Docs as the Title headline, and then use H2, H3, and H4 in that sequence.

Don’t jump straight to H3 without first using an H2 – same for H4. Maintain the heading hierarchy.

And if preceding sub-headings with some text – such as The policy will help you answer two questions: – make sure you make the subheadings that follow actual questions, so the reader can immediately understand what questions you are answering.

Watch this brief video for some examples:

Don’t Repeat Your Heading in the Sub-Heading

There is no need to repeat the words or ideas from your heading into your sub-heading.

In fact, if you do repeat the idea in your sub-heading then it is a clear sign that everything above the repeated phrase is not on-topic.

Don’t repeat the idea either. So, even if the words in your sub-heading are different if the intent behind the words are the same, then it’s a repeat.

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