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Are HTML Listings a Google Ranking Factor?

We know that organizing content in lists improves readability.But are HTML listings part of Google's ranking algorithm?

Ordered and unordered lists are commonly used in Web content to present related items, step-by-step instructions, and more in an organized manner.

Willelement withChild elements create an unordered list that is usually displayed as a bulleted list.elements andChildren display a numbered list.

Lists help you organize textual and numerical information on web pages.

But can they help you rank higher in Google search results?

Claims: Ordered or unordered HTML lists as ranking factors

In order for HTML listings to be a direct ranking factor, they must be added to your web pages and how you use them must be weighted in the Google search ranking algorithm.

We know that certain HTML elements are, for example, title tags.What about lists?

This means adding the following:

     Small project 1

     Small project 2

        Small project 2.1

is something like:

  • Small project 1
  • Small project 2

This will help you rank higher in Google results for berries and whipped cream — and to a lesser extent, heavy cream and sugar.

Evidence of HTML Listings as Ranking Factors

A 2010 Google patent analyzed by Bill Slawski shortly after publication showed (at least at the time) that Google used HTML markup for both unordered and ordered lists when evaluating web pages.

Specifically, the method described in the patent helps algorithms determine semantic relationships between words in pursuit of understanding the topical relevance of pages.Slawski wrote:

"Part of the process behind this approach involves search engines analyzing the HTML structure on the page, looking for items that can be used to layout the pagelist (< >) unordered list, >>) and other elements such as titles and headings on the page, unordered lists ( ). "

These elements can indicate to Google how words and topics relate to each other, and how the content in each section relates to the content around it.

Given Google's growing interest in natural language, and what we now know about its knowledge graph, it makes sense for the algorithm to use page elements that improve its semantic understanding of that content.

Listings can also help your content appear in featured snippets at the top of organic search results.

In response to "How do I mark my page as a featured snippet?Google says,

"you can not.The Google system determines whether a page will provide a good featured snippet for a user's search request, and if so, promotes it.

One of the things Google's system looks for and will show up in the coveted "position zero" segment is list-type content.

So, while you can't explicitly tell Google "this is a featured snippet," you can write and format your content in a way that qualifies as a featured snippet.

Evidence against HTML listings as a ranking factor

By itself, the list is too easy to manipulate to count much in the ranking algorithm.How awesome would it be if you could list things you want to rank for and shoot to the top of the SERPs?

(not good at all.This would be spam hell.

This is why I think the real and only benefit that content creators and SEO professionals need to focus on is the order and structure that HTML listings bring to your pages.

Lists provide your readers with a quick reference point or step-by-step action.They highlight key information.They help you communicate what matters most with ease.They help people browsing the page find takeaways quickly.

As Roger Montti explained in a recent article:

"In my opinion and experience, ordered or unordered lists are not ranked because they are ordered/unordered lists.They rank because the ideas contained in the content are coherent, organized, and well-structured.

By itself, lists -- ordered or unordered -- don't make much sense to Google.

But that's the magic when it's clear to Google that subtitles, raw text, ordered or unordered lists, and videos or high-quality images, backed by reputable and well-cited expert information, are all working together.

The list is just a presentation of the information.What matters most is the quality, context, credibility and accuracy of the information.

*To make it clear, there is no real magic - black, white or whatever.

Ordered or unordered HTML lists as ranking factors: our verdict

Google may use HTML listings as a search ranking signal.If so, it's not as strong a signal as HTML, the words and links on the page are pretty much when all algorithms have to continue.

I think it's used to help Google contextualize the information it evaluates as a whole, but the presence (or lack thereof) of a listing isn't going to move the needle for you in the organic SERPs.

What a list can definitely do is bring order to the clutter and help simplify complex ideas.

They can help you earn highly visible expanded search results in featured snippets.

Listings improve the reader experience, which is an SEO win all day long.

Extended reading:

Are H1 tags a Google ranking factor?

Are HTML title tags (H2-H6) a Google ranking factor?

URL as a Google Ranking Factor: What You Need to Know

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