What are Transition Words? Learn how to use them for SEO content

When creating SEO content, quality matters.

This is true of accuracy, clarity, writing skills, keyword usage, thoroughness, links, images, etc.

But I bet I can name one more factor that affects the quality of SEO content, and therefore your SEO ranking – something you never thought about.

Transition words.

What are they and why are they an integral part of great readability, content and SEO?

Let’s explore.

What are Transition Words?

Think of a transitional word or phrase as a bridge.

The purpose of transitions is to help text move from one idea to another while showing a clear relationship between sentences, paragraphs, topics, actions, and concepts.

Transition words can be singular words, such as “because” or “finally”. It can also be a phrase, such as “in other words” or “without a doubt”.

Let’s look at an example:

I hit the snooze button this morning. Therefore, I slept too much and was late for work.

Starting a sentence with “as a result” tells the reader that what happens next is the direct result of the actions of the first sentence. It intrinsically ties the two sentences together in a clear cause and effect relationship.

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Transition words are often at the start of a sentence, but they don’t have to be. They can also be used at the end of a sentence or in the middle when combining two clauses.

For example:

I have the best dog ever. She snuggles up to me every night for example.

i love playing with my dog because it’s a great way to relieve stress.

The vet says she’s a black lab, and although it may be true, I suspect she also has a German Shepherd in her lineage.

Let’s take a closer look at the different categories of transitional words to see what they can do.

Types of Transition Words with Examples and When to Use Them

1. Addition

This type of transition merges two or more ideas together and shows a corresponding relationship between them.

  • Examples of transition words: again, also, and, and then, besides, just as important, well, further, more, more, finally, then, neither, more, what more
  • Example sentence: I propose a modification of the schedule of chores. Besides, I would also like to increase the child allowance.

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2. Cause and effect

When one event directly triggers another, this cause-and-effect transition lets the reader know that the two occurrences are directly related.

  • Examples of transition words: therefore, therefore, therefore, then, therefore, so
  • Example sentence: I slept too much this morning. Therefore, I missed the bus.

3. Clarification

Sometimes we need to rephrase what we have already said in order to clarify an original statement. This can be to simplify a complicated point or to emphasize.

  • Examples of transition words: in other words, that is to say to clarify
  • Example sentence: We have no idea where we are. In other words, were lost.

4. Compare and contrast

This transition shows a relationship between two ideas that are compared to each other on the basis of similarities or differences.

  • Examples of transition words: after all, although this may be true, but, in relation to, conversely, however, in contrast, likewise, nevertheless, on the contrary, on the other hand, likewise, where, whereas, vis-à-vis, Again
  • Example sentence: I am a cat person. Compared to dogs and cats are much quieter and more independent.

6. Exception / Contradiction

Contradictory transitions occur when an action that had an anticipated result instead ends with a different result. Driving with a Transition warns the reader to expect the unexpected.

  • Examples of transition words: despite, however, nevertheless, despite, of course, from time to time, sometimes
  • Example sentence: I studied every night for the final exam. Despite my hard work, I did not succeed.

7. The accent

An emphatic transition demonstrates the certainty and conviction of the narrator. It establishes a sense of authority.

  • Examples of transition words: absolutely, always, certainly, definitely, categorically, in any case, in fact, indeed, never, surprisingly, undeniably, without doubt, without reservation
  • Example sentence: Working from home has many advantages. Without a doubt, the extra time saved on home-work trips helps maintain a better work-life balance.

5. Illustration

This transition links a statement to a follow-up example that illustrates the point made.

  • Examples of transition words: by way of illustration, for example, for example, in another case, in this situation, on this occasion, take the case of, demonstrate, illustrate
  • Example sentence: I like to exercise after work. For example, I often walk the dog or run in the park.

8. Repetition

Sometimes, especially when the information is important, we repeat it to make sure the lesson sticks. A transition serves as a wake-up call for the reader to understand the meaning of the repetition rather than assuming that the writer has not paid attention and made the same point twice.

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  • Examples of transition words: again, as I noted, as I said, I repeat, in short
  • Example sentence: Use transitional words in your blog posts. As I said at the start of this article, they are important for SEO.

9. Time, order and sequence

Transitions can help a reader capture the passage of time, which is especially important in narrative works. These types of transitions also establish order and sequence. Educational articles often rely on sequential transitions to ensure that the reader follows the steps in order.

  • Examples of transition words: after, after a few hours, after, and then, at this moment, before that, concurrently, possibly, finally, (first, second, third …), formerly, immediately, in some time, later, then, previously, soon, then, thereafter
  • Example sentence: We go to the party at 3. After a few hours, we will meet the family for dinner.

10. Summarize or conclude

A concluding transition signals the reader that they are nearing the end. It usually summarizes the most important points and leaves the reader with the main points to remember.

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  • Examples of transition words: accordingly, as I have shown, accordingly, therefore, in short, in conclusion, in short, therefore, therefore, so
  • Example sentence: In conclusion, the importance of transition words for SEO cannot be underestimated.

Why are transitional words important for SEO?

Now that we have a solid understanding of what transitional words and phrases are, you might be wondering, “Why are transitional words so important to SEO?” “

It is not the words themselves that are important. Rather, it is the function they perform.

Transition words improve the overall readability of your content by guiding the reader from point A to point B with a bridge that helps them understand the relationship between connection points.

Readability is one of the many SEO best practices to consider. If your content is easy to read with lots of headlines, subtitles, lists, and transition words, search engines are much more likely to reward you because your content is of higher quality.

Of course, other aspects of the content always play a crucial role. Poor, well-organized content still won’t rank well.

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Likewise, good content that is poorly formatted and stuffed with transitional phrases and keywords in the hopes of wooing Google.

How To Improve Your Transition Words For SEO

Transition words are meant to improve the flow of your sentences and ideas.

The good news: Most writers are already using them. We rely on transitions when we speak, and they naturally creep into our writing as well.

The bad news: Finding the golden loops of use – not too few, but not too many that the writing becomes awkward and unnatural – can be a challenge. So can use transitional words correctly.

More good news: SEO apps and plugins can help you keep track of your transition words in addition to other SEO basics. Yoast and All-In-One (AIO) SEO are two of the most popular.

Below is a screenshot of an AIO SEO analysis of a WordPress blog post:

Screenshot from AIO SEO, July 2021

As you can see, this alerted the writer that more transitional words were needed to achieve good SEO readability. Tools like this can help keep you on track.

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In order to successfully use transition words in your content:

Know the transition words and phrases

You know Google loves transitional words, but if you don’t know what they are, you’ll have a hard time using them successfully to boost your SEO.

This problem tends to affect non-native speakers a lot more than native speakers, but even if you’re writing in your native language, a reminder might be helpful.

Go through a list of transition words and think about how their meanings may change depending on the context.

Understand the relationships between separate ideas, thoughts and actions

When writing, you should have at least a basic understanding of how the points in your topic fit together.

If you have a hard time with this, do your research and read the content of other authors to analyze how they linked their ideas to the transitions.

Writing outlines for your projects can also help you visualize the structure of your content.

Know how transition words should be correctly applied in context

You may have noticed that some of the same transition words were listed in multiple categories above. This is because the same word can have several meanings.

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It all depends on the relationship between the fulfilled thoughts. Pay attention to your context and make sure you choose the transition that best suits the relationship you are trying to establish.

To take with

The successful use of transitional words and phrases is just a small way to support the quality of the content and give your rankings a boost. The improvement in readability itself is a compelling argument for using transitions.

If you are not yet comfortable with transition words, practice, practice, practice! Soon they will be second nature.

More resources:


Featured Image: Inspirational / Shutterstock


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