With so much content out there, it can be difficult to figure out what to write about and how to write it. What is the optimal length? What points do I need to include? What style is most engaging? It can all be difficult and sometimes leaves us frozen in analysis paralysis where we can’t move forward. Unfortunately, the answer to many of these questions, as with all SEO factor-based questions is, it depends. It tends to depend on the topic and your audience. However, we do get studies from time to time that help give us a window into what is working. With all studies, you need to be careful at taking metrics that apply to all websites and applying them to your specific situation, but they can give you ideas and guidance to get you started. With all SEO there is a high variance for general metrics like word count or type or article. One industry may require more details than another. Content explaining how to hard boil an egg would be shorter than explaining a detailed engineering process. The main goal always is to be useful and engaging to your audience in as efficient a way as possible.
Content Efficiency for SEO and Users
Small business owners are often frightened to hear that the average length of a top-ranking page is over 2,000 words. They then begin throwing in fluff to their content just to make it longer. The fact is that this number is drastically lengthened by the many news articles that factor into the equation. These are long-form articles. Most small business content doesn’t need to be that long. It just needs to cover the topic in a useful way that helps the user in an efficient manner. That may include adding video, or a helpful infographic that engages the user. It definitely includes making your content digestible. Users want their questions answered, but they don’t want to have to read it all to find it. Make it clear with headings where each major information point lies on your page. The goal is not to make your content long. The goal is to make it thorough, useful, and engaging.
Content Topics and Feel
Search Engine Journal recently published a great study on the content that generates links. The headline speaks to “shorter” content-generating links, referring to less than 700 words. For many small businesses, 700 words feels long. It is probably a good length to aim for actually but see above about not being too hung up on specific word counts. I will let you read the study for details, but one of the more interesting aspects I found from the study was which types of content are shared or engaged with the most, and even the emotional reactions (from social media) of the different types of articles. For example, an angry sports post complaining about a team vs a positive story. Again, keep in mind that these leaders may change by industry or topic, but below, from the study, are the top 5 types of content that generate links to your pages.
- How-to article
- General article
- List/general article
People love to learn. Teach them how to do something. I know in the SEO world clients often don’t want to do these things once they learn how hard it is. That is when they hire us. Giving away knowledge is a great way to build trust and reputation. Be generous and create valuable content with information gain that helps your users. Give us a call if you need help!