The question is simple but the answer to it isn't. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing prefer long-form articles. We are talking about at least 1,500 to somewhere around 3,000 words. Some bloggers even willing to write beyond 5,000 words or so. Bloggers are writing solely just for the sake of the search engines, and no longer meant for human. They religiously follow each and every instructions to satisfy the SEO guidelines. All in the name of ranking. All in the name of discoverability. I can tell you now, the blogging world is going nuts lately.
Why are they doing this in the first place? The reason is very simple, they want their blogs or websites to be ranked the highest and positioned on the first or second page of the search engine results. They want people who search for information on Google, Yahoo or Bing, notice their presence there and eventually click at the websites for the needed information. And, they want to ensure that their website is ranked higher than competitors. There is no doubt, the search engine's algorithm or some call it as a crawler will spider crawl and sniff more words, more sentences, more paragraphs and index as many of them as possible back to the server for keeping tab. And there is no doubt too that the brands' chances of getting discovered is high and people may find them easily when searched for something that is within their core competencies.
But to write for the sake of algorithm only is completely wrong. This is my personal opinion. It's similar to a situation when you're studying hard to graduate in Law because your mother wants you to be a lawyer, but inside you're dying to become a professional ballet dancer, or a Shaolin Master. If you're strong, then you may pull this through. But most people aren't as strong as you are.
So how do you write for human then? I’d like to share how you should do it. My method may look simple, but it is effective. By following this method, your content will automatically be optimised for those search engines without having to worry too much on those SEO list of things to comply when writing. But before I share the how-to, let’s take a look at how the search engine ranking works.
First, search engine will keep tab on how many times you’re using certain words when you write. In each of the blog you wrote, they will crawl and check on your words. When they found out that you use a lot of social media, content, digital marketing, SEO, search engine and other words that are belong to the marketing industry or subject for example, these search engines know that you are within that subject or industry. They shall keep tab of this information.
Second, the level of authority you’re at on the subject. In other words, if more people find your article useful they will keep coming back for more. They love your content so much until they make your website as their regular reference point by backlinking their own blogs back to your website. For any reference they want to make when writing something, they will refer it to your website. If more and more people are doing this to your website, then your level of authority on that subject or industry shall rank up high very significantly.
So, by taking these into consideration these are how you should approach your writing from now on.
Title. I don’t simply write just about any titles for all my blogs just like that. Never. Instead I will Google first several options of topic I am going to write. I will check the outcome list that come out from the search done. After I carefully go through all of them on Page 1 and Page 2, I then copy the best title available there that is the nearest to the topic I want to write. In other words, I will copy the title found then tweak it a bit. This will ensure that my blog will have the same or higher chance of getting a high rank on Google as that already-rank-high original title there.
First paragraph. This will be your executive summary, and don’t write anything else. Load up all the keywords that you wish to put in here, especially those words that can portray you as an authority of the subject you're on.
Content must be sincerely beneficial. One of the best ways to make people come back for more is to share your knowledge sincerely about something you’re very good at. Write something that make people think that you are very sincere and not holding anything back. They will know your intention, so you must be very careful here. That’s why when you see people upload some content on the web, the audience can smell that these people are trying to hardsell products or sincerely sharing something for education purposes.
Regular and consistent writing. Your writing must not be regular or consistent, but regular AND consistent. If you write a blog once a week, then keep it that way. If you write twice or three times a week, then work hard to be consistent. It’s not about being discipline but to satisfy the expectation of your audience. Imagine when they are expecting you to release a new article on certain timing but you don't. You are hurting their feelings without realising it. Will they come back to your website after that?
Screw those long-form writing, just make sure it’s not too short though. Almost all my blogs are within the range of 700 to 1,200 words only, dependent on mood. To me 500 words story is too short to make it dramatic.
People hate textbooks, so write a story. People will avoid reading blogs that remind them on textbook. Talking concepts and theories all the time won't work either. The best is to write about your experience, use-cases and case studies that you came across before. Use simple English, fluctuation of voice tone and write as if you are talking to another person. Remember to insert emotional elements in your writing.
Backlink your other articles with one another. One of the ways to make people buy something from you is by keeping them in the shop for as long as possible. Similar to online, you just need to keep those visitors to remain in your website for as long as you possibly can. Build a number of backlinks on each of your article that could bring them to another article for further reading. Then to another article and another. Trust me, it’ll work. They will stay. The caveat is your writing quality is freaking good and attractive to them of course.
Stay authentic. Your story and the way you write must be unique and original. People will know whether the piece you’re writing there is a copy-paste work or otherwise. By staying authentic, people will see you as you and not as a shadow of someone else.
Conclude something relatable to the audience, trigger their emotion to act. The final paragraph is extremely important. Offer a masterpiece of advice to the audience, something they can take home. It could be a moral of the story, steps to be taken that you can propose or at least a word of wisdom to ponder.
You know, people is pretty much equivalent to human physically yet not many know how to be human. Let alone stay as one. If you can remain humble and run your daily life as decent human being filled with common sense, people will love you for what you are. The same goes for your writing. By staying human when you approach your writing, rest assured that people will love what you write. They will acknowledge that your insights do make sense and may help them improving their personal or professional life in certain ways. Your simplification will touch their heart. And it’ll create a lasting impact on you. All because these stories you wrote are easily relatable to them, and they can feel you completely.