SEO Be Damned! Bid Farewell to the Long-Form Blog Post
Blogs have two purposes: 1) They are an important tool for sharing ideas, insights, tips, experiences, new products, and brand news with audiences who happen to care about what you do and also happen to find themselves on your website’s blog; and 2) Under the best of circumstances, they’re an SEO-fueled funnel to your website.
Quality vs. Quantity
It used to be considered best practice to write lengthy blogs stuffed with optimized keywords and to craft the content around those keywords. And in some ways, that hasn’t changed. Much. What has shifted are search engine algorithms (maddening) and people’s attention spans (short). I won’t get into the voodoo that is Google, but I will ask, literally, who has time to read 2,000 to 5,000 words on any given day? Not me. Not my clients. So balancing SEO with User Experience is a good idea.
Here’s an example:
Food bloggers who post a recipe that starts with visiting an organic farm in Upstate New York, then leads readers through the experience of picking lingonberries alongside their totally Instagrammable family, and then we’re on a journey through family traditions and where she bought the hand-crafted berry basket. Before we know it, we’re neck-deep in 3,500 words of self-absorbed storytelling before anyone has seen a single ingredient listed. But I digress…
What’s the sweet spot for meaningful, content-rich, and/or entertaining blog posts? It depends on your audience and the subject matter at hand. In my experience, 500–800 words is good, BUT, studies on traffic metrics don’t support that. Google (ditto for Bing) likes blog posts that are in the 1,900 to 2,000-word range. But, guess what? Readers don’t.
So like all things content-related, AMJ balances strategy with user experience. Because, at the end of the business day, the idea is to shorten the distance between someone reading a blog post and picking up the phone to call you about a project.
That’s why I’m increasingly a fan of microblog posts, 200 to 400-words that share a single insight with just enough details to make it informative and to pique interest.