Learn how to take advantage of one of the most underutilized components of a web page to take your content to the next level! Ensure search engines view your content as relevant, high-quality resources just by how you structure your content.
This article will discuss supplementary content, why it is essential for SEO, and the different supplementary content types. We'll also briefly touch on the main content section and how they relate.
What Is Supplementary Content?
Supplementary content is a term used for both the less-relevant but helpful content at the end of an article and various forms of media that help explain the main content.
Supplementary Content Section
The supplementary content section is typically referring to the bottom of your article. These headings and topics are typically the furthest - in terms of relevancy - from the topic the article is focused on.
Using a screenshot from google SEO patents, the image above illustrates where the supplementary content section is. Typically as stated previously, it will be at the bottom of the page.
While these topics are the least relevant to your main topic, you should only include talking points here if they help further your user's understanding of it. You can also use this section to open up an opportunity for internal links by touching on something less-relevant but still related and including a link to that page.
To learn more about the various types of content in SEO, check out our pillar page dealing with SEO content.
Supplementary Content (Media)
Another version of supplementary content deals with media types. For example, breaking down your main topic further using an infographic, images, videos, or other forms of media are all types of supplementary content. This is because these content pieces all help to supplement the learning process your user is going through by using your content.
What Does Supplementary Mean?
Supplementary essentially means something "to help further explain" the main point of your article. It is a form of additional explanation that your users can leverage to learn and grow in the knowledge your content is providing.
How Do You Create Supplemental Content?
You can create supplemental content in many different ways, either by creating various forms of assets and media or by utilizing the space further down the page directly after your main content section.
Both are forms of supplemental content, and both will significantly help leverage your article to a higher place of importance.
What Types Of Supplementary Content Are There?
This list isn't exhaustive by any means, but this is a list detailing some of the most common types of supplementary content.
Infographics are one of the most powerful forms of supplementary content because they are unique assets that help users visualize the concepts you're explaining. In addition, search engines heavily favor pages with unique, helpful assets like infographics, videos, images, etc.
Videos are excellent forms of supplementary content because you can more easily and quickly explain anything your users need to know. In addition, they're great ways to increase the time your users spend on your pages.
Tables are excellent forms of supplementary content, as they not only help to clearly break down topics for users but, arguably more importantly, they help provide semi-structured data to search engines so they can better understand the purpose and intent of your content.
Images are supplementary content types because you can often provide graphs, charts, brief summaries, explanations, and even visual examples of points, topics, or concepts being talked about throughout your content.
Embeds are great forms of supplementary content because they can introduce a wide variety of content and provide a wide array of benefits depending on what is embedded.
You can include audio examples for supplementary content as well. Whether it is snippets of a podcast, an entire podcast, or even just sounds that can be played when requested by the user to help them understand something more clearly.
Why Is Supplementary Content Important To SEO?
Supplementary content is vital to preserving the relevancy of your articles. Without properly delegating your content to the appropriate places, you will make it more difficult for search engines to see your content as highly relevant to your target keywords.
When creating content, while you want to keep from diluting your context as much as possible, you still need to talk about less relevant concepts whenever necessary. The issue is how/when/where, and to what extent you talk about these less relevant but highly important concepts in your articles.
That is the importance of supplementary content sections is that you can discuss these important but less relevant concepts in an appropriate way that further enhances the relevance of your articles to your target niche, as opposed to doing what most writers are guilty of - context dilution.
Can Supplementary Content Improve Domain Authority?
When done correctly, utilizing your supplementary content sections can absolutely increase your domain authority. The main reason this happens is that when you create quality content that is designed to be highly relevant, search engines have no choice but to rank you higher and view you as an authority.
The main point of a supplementary content section is to ensure that you have a place for the content that helps explain your main topic but would break up the flow of the main content. You want the flow of the main topic to be as logical and easy to follow as possible to ensure you preserve relevancy.
Always remember that your goal is to cover the most important parts of the topic in your main content section, and anything unrelated, goes into the supplementary content section.
What Is The Main Content Section?
The main content section is the area of the page where you cover the points most relevant to the topic of the page. In this section, you want to provide the most logical, fluid, and consistent flow possible. You do this by ensuring you are designing and structuring your content in a way that introduces concepts to users in an order that makes sense.
For example, when creating content for a more complex page, you would first introduce the user to the more fundamental aspects of the topic before walking them through the more challenging aspects.
Main Content Versus Supplemental Content
The difference between main content and supplemental content is that main content houses the most important topics on the page, whereas supplemental houses beneficial additions to your topics.
Typically, in supplemental content, you'll either improve a users understanding, or you'll take advantage of them to break away - slightly - from the main context of the page to introduce other important concepts that would take away from the relevance of the main content.
How Can Supplementary Content Expand The Context of Main Content
Supplementary content can expand the context of the main content by helping users more thoroughly understand the topics and concepts you're introducing.
They provide users with additional information, important concepts that differ slightly from the context of the main content, and even things that completely oppose the main content but are equally important to mention for a well-rounded understanding of the topic.
How Can Supplementary Content Dilute The Context of Main Content?
Supplementary content can dilute the context of your main content quite easily. When creating supplementary content, you need to make your points brief.
Otherwise, you can quickly take something that should be a brief aside and turn most of the article into more of an aside about an adjacent topic rather than an article about your intended "main" topic.
How Do You Optimize Your Supplemental Content Section?
The best way to optimize your supplemental content section is by ensuring that you are brief but also helping to expand upon the page's main focus. If both of these requirements aren't being met, you are not optimizing your supplementary content as you should.
How Can Supplementary Content Hurt SEO?
Supplementary content can hurt your SEO efforts by failing to be brief, and failing to expand the explanation of your main content section. We've touched on this briefly earlier in the article, but if you are making your supplementary content too long, you will be hurting the relevance your page has to your targeted topics.
How Do You Avoid Diluting The Context Of Your Main Content?
The best way to avoid diluting the context of your main content is to ensure you are creating content that follows a logical, smooth, and consistent flow. You also want to stay as on-topic as you possibly can. Whenever you need to veer slightly off topic to cover a concept, ensure you do so in the supplementary content section.
Also, your content should be as close to semi-structured data as possible. This means your content should have a schema, alt tags, internal links, and tables whenever possible, and you should be using Semantic HTML tags.
There are many other forms of semi-structured data that you can incorporate into your content to help search engines better understand your content, but these are a few examples.
Summary of How To Use Supplementary Content To Improve SEO
Supplementary content improves SEO by helping to not only further expand upon the main topic but also preserve the relevancy of your page and build quality internal links.