For Humans & SEO
When consulting with clients about creating copy for a website, they usually ask for our best blog content tips. How long should a post be? How many times should a keyword appear? In this post I’ll share some real-world tips that will help you write first for your human audience and then search engine bots.
What’s The Ideal Length?
OK, I know I’m going to annoy you with my answer: it depends. Your blog content should focus on answering a question. If it takes 250 words to answer it, then that’s the ideal length. If it’s a meaty subject, you’ll need a longer post. For example, our blog posts range from anywhere between 200 to 2,000 words. Sometimes we break it up into multiple installments. Other times, the subject deserves more space. We suggest looking at your Google Analytics to study how your visitors are consuming your blog content. Are they sticking around, reading multiple pages? Or, are they reading one page and leaving? It also depends upon your sales cycle. If it’s a purchasing decision is more complex, expect your visitor to view more than one page.
Now, is there an optimal length for search engines? ExpressWriter conducted an experiment. They found that article of 2000 words or so tended to be ranked higher. With Google’s Hummingbird, blog content that shows you are offering quality information is rewarded. However, if you are trying to fill up a page to meet a quota, you’re missing the mark. My advice is to always write for your human audience. They pay the bills. Quality trumps quantity.
Scannable Blog Content
A page that’s full of text isn’t particularly inviting. To us an analogy, professional chefs say that you first feast with your eyes. Effective blog content does the same. Make it visually appealing with strategic use of sub-headlines, bullets and images. Entice your reader to stick around and read what you have to say. Show that you care by styling your post so it’s scannable and easy to consume. When you really hit the mark, folks with share it. And that’s online marketing gold.
How Many Times Should I Use a Keyword?
Again, I err to the human reader. Your blog content should sound natural. Remember, you’re talking to your target audience. If you sound like you’re keyword stuffing, it’s a turn-off. Search engine optimization has evolved and over-use won’t make points with your prospects or search algorithms.
Don’t Forget the Meta Data
Title tags and meta descriptions are what show up on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Well crafted meta data will entice a click. Tell your prospective visitor what they’ll receive when they click on your link. If you bait and switch, it’s annoying to your visitor and will most likely generate a bounce — a statistic that Google pays attention to.
How Long Does It Take To Write a Post?
According to Copyblogger, they spend 6 hours per post. They have the benefit of an editorial staff. I’ve found that these blog content practices can shorten the time it takes to write a quality post:
- Brainstorm topics in advance. Keep a running list of potential ideas.
- Organize sources of inspiration. For example, I use Feedly to quickly troll for ideas and resources to reference.
- Research your topic and make a robust outline.
- Keep writing and editing as separate activities. When you try to do both, it’s like driving with one foot on the gas petal and another on the brake. It’s frustrating and not efficient.
- Enlist someone else to proofread your blog content to catch typos and other errors.
- Establish a schedule you can stick to. It’s better to be consistently post once a month rather than sporadically. Search engine bots are machines. They are trying to learn how often you publish new blog content. By establishing a calendar, you are building a habit around content creation.
- Write blog posts that answer questions you get from prospects. What better way to synthesize your thoughts by getting it down succinctly on a webpage. Then, you can refer back to it when that prospect doesn’t remember your answers.
Do you have a killer blog content tip? Do share!
How can we help?
Trying to figure out the best keywords for your blog? Need help with your website’s White Hat SEO infrastructure?
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