The Inverted Pyramid Improves SEO

Improving Your Webpage Layout Strenghtens Organic Search Engine Ranking Opportunities

UpstateWeb's Inverted Pyramid Content Approach To WebsitesIf you can remember all the way back to junior high school when our English teacher taught us the proper way to write a paper, you might remember something called the Inverted Pyramid. If you look at newspapers, magazines, and even this webpage, you will see the Inverted Pyramid in action. It starts with a Header, followed by a sub-header (if needed) and content.

The essence behind the inverted pyramid (from Wikipedia):
The triangle's broad base at the top of the figure represents the most substantial, interesting, and important information the writer means to convey. The triangle's orientation is meant to illustrate that this kind of material should head the article, while the tapered lower portion illustrates that other material should follow in order of diminishing importance.

Practicing this approach can help you improve your Search Engine Ranking as well because they weight the information using the same system. Search Engines see information in the Header as more important than the sub-header and the sub-header more important that general text.

The Inverted Pyramid is oriented like this:

  1. Header - Should include no more than 3 to 8 words, reinforce the context of the page, and a keyword from the site (Heading 1, Heading 2)
  2. Sub-header - Only if needed, 6 to 12 words. Should be smaller in size than the Header. (Heading 3, Heading 4)
  3. Paragraph - Each paragraph should have at least 2 sentences. You should bold keywords, but use this sparingly.
    1. Left justify text - It is very hard for people to read anything if it is center justified. The best way to think of this is, How many books or magazines have you read where the text is centered
    2. Wrap your text around the images - Don't separate your images them from the text. It uses up too much white space and creates a longer page. This tends to create a fragmented page.

What's also interesting is not only do Search Engines see the information importance in the same order, but so do readers. If I see a Large heading, it has the most impact on me. A word in bold will also tell me to pay attention to this word. In the same way, this tells Search Engines to pay attention to this word.

Journalists have been using the Inverted Pyramid to layout their articles for years. They know they have to capture the reader with the headline and within the first few words of the paragraph or they have no chance of holding them throughout the article, or in your case, website.

Now, one error I see people make on their website is to make all their text large. The truth is, if you try to make everything BIG AND IMPORTANT, nothing is BIG and important. The reader no longer sees the content as important and neither do the search engines. There has to be a balance to the page.