Blog (truncated form of Weblog) is a webpage or website containing regularly updated write-ups called posts or articles or entries typically shown in descending chronological manner, i.e. the most recent write-up appears first. Blogs can be authored by a single person and can be multi author blog as well. Now a days, blogs contain photos, videos, audio (music and podcasts) etc. To increase the visitor engagement, modern blogs allow users to comment and give review on the posts, provides the ability to share the article links to popular social media networks as well.
There are lots of handy tools, website builder, online blogging platform (e.g. Blogger, Tumblr etc.), and CMS available to setup a blog. WordPress is a very good choice for beginners to setting up a blog quickly. It is an open source CMS vastly known for its simplicity and expandability. WordPress also provides lots of inbuilt SEO facility as well.
Blog is used as a medium by business marketers to influence inbound traffic and more customer conversion. Many people use blog to express their talent, as a daily diary, or just for casual write ups. Whatever the purpose is, one thing we should keep in mind, that the readers of the blog should not feel they are deceived. That’s why the content of a blog should be transparent, unique, and valuable to readers.
Google categorizes contents by something like Vital, Useful, Relevant, Slightly Relevant, Off-topic. So you need to follow some best practices to not to fall under lower categories which are less effective for SEO.
Here are some points we should keep in mind while creating online content.
#1 – Follow Google content guidelines
Follow google webmaster guidelines for creating online content. There is no substitute of this. As per google’s own language “help Google find, index, and rank your site.” And that can be achieved best by following their guidelines properly.
How long an article should be?
The simple answer is, there is no magic number behind this. You need to decide how well you can express your point of view in writing using least words. World is busy enough and reading a post with 2500+ words is time consuming. Moreover there can be different type of posts. It may be a daily blog which can contain a cooking recipe or weekend travel write-up or a get-together detail etc. So the length varies. It may be technical article defining some technology which require lots of explanation, info-graphic, code blocks etc. Thus require many more words to explain properly. A business post may be a merely 200 words of vision with 2-3 statistical imagery. So the thumb rule is:
- Make the title catchy and little bit descriptive
- Try to express your point of view efficiently using least possible words
- Style, format, purpose, and audience are the main factors to be considered for a post
If you desperately want a number, then you can consider 600 to 1500 words are very safe zone considering all aspects, i.e. writing time, reading time, proper to-the-point information etc.
Also as per statistics, longer the content, higher is the social sharing ratio.
Conclusion: don’t get sticky with the content length, rather create a useful content with required number of words. If readers find it useful, you will get back the links automatically to your post.
Inbound and Outbound links within the content:
Create proper outbound links to resourceful websites with anchor texts within your content. That helps the reader find additional and helpful information beside your own write-up and it also helps in SEO. You can also link to some of your own posts to reference some relevant phrases. Inbound/Outbound linking should be done very carefully using proper dofollow/nofollow guidelines.
Use of info-graphic:
Visual representations are always more effective than lines after lines of text. So it is a good idea to use some info-graphics along with you content. But as per google guidelines for image media files, proper alt tags etc. should be present. Otherwise info-graphics keeps the user interest on your page but it doesn’t help much with SEO aspect.
Use proper attributes for different media files:
Media is a very good way to illustrate the information better. Readers are more interested to audio, video, info-graphics, images, iframes etc. than only texts. So it is a good idea to use media in your content. But at the same time keep in mind, some basic and simple practices that helps google as well to understand what the media file is about. Use proper and meaningful alt and title tag attributes that describes the purpose of the media.
For business blogs, stick to your niche:
I’m kind of bi-weekly blogger. I generally get time to think and write about two articles on my niche per week. I have knowledge on web development and little bit of SEO. So I try to think and gather as much information as possible on a topic and create an article. Sometimes I do post my real life events like a family food party or a weekend outdoor experience etc. I think it is okay with the blogger like me. But for any type of business blogging sites, the topics of the posts should stick to the business niche. If you have an apple garden and you are a good apple manufacturer, you should not write about how to prepare a good mango juice :). Because that does not going to do any help to your own business? So the motive should be to stick to your business topics and provide valuable information or service offer to your readers.
Avoid un-authoritative guest posts:
The era of guest blogging has come to an end. You should not allow guest posts for only the purpose of link building. Guest posts are often written from the intention of earning money and back link building. So the value of the content is very less, not much informative, and many times spammy. If you need to allow guest posting, you should have a mechanism of manually reviewing them for meaningful content and free of spammy outbound links. There is a good post by Matt Cutts on this. Please listen to him very carefully in this video as well. This should really change your view on guest posting.
There are more editorial guidelines and blogging tips available all over the internet. I read many of them regularly to make my write-ups with more added value for my readers. I’ve tried to list some of those points and describe them as much as possible with my little knowledge. I just wanted to focus on the points that we can maintain very easily by being a little more cautious and liable towards our readers.
And finally, I always keep in mind as said by Google: “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.” and that should be enough to engage more peoples, as after all, everyone looks for good information online, that’s it!