StayOnSearch

Blogs aren’t Books: So Stop Writing Like They Are!

Mason Stoller February 8, 2012

So why do you keep writing massive walls of text??

Blogs have a whole lot more to offer than just walls of text, and quite frankly, it is hard to read!  Computers are a lot different than that old paperweight you call a book.  And, they read differently too.  The whole monitor thing puts quite a different spin on the user interaction during reading.

90% of online visitors only browse headlines, images, and titles.

The average internet browser does not look at descriptions, author names, meta data, excerpts, short stories, nada, just headlines.

But not only are titles an issue with blogging, overall content writing needs to be properly adjusted for your online viewers.  Blog posts should be well written and offer some serious text based reading, but it has to be broken up.  Online visitors to your blog are going to quickly scan your titles, images, and other easily read items first.  Some of the best ways to make sure that your bounce rate lowers, is to add easy to read features in each post or page.

Internet browsers want their information now, so they browse titles and headlines to look for words and phrases that catch their attention quickly.  Now, this doesn’t mean you have to always have a hook in your title, but emotional out reach can help you.

How to write better titles:

  1. Know your audience – who is looking for your content, try to create a phrase that will draw them in
  2. Keep it short and to the point – run on titles are a pain, many social media sites fit short titles the best as well
  3. Less is often more – no need to max out titles, descriptions, or any info spot
  4. Images and Video help!

Blog writing tips:

  • Use easy to read features like bullet points, lists, quotes, etc
  • Make key phrases & ideas bold, italicized, underlined
  • Blend in images and video as your post runs on, this helps break the information and keep your readers interested
  • Don’t write longer than 5 or 6 sentences without a break, spacing helps the reader move through the words and concepts
  • Change font size to emphasize and point out specifics

These simple tips will help you create a more readable and enjoyable blog for your readers.  No more walls of text that scare away newcomers and browsers, instead you’ll have media rich, useful posts where first time visitors can instantly engage with your ideas and concepts.  The main points and areas are outlined with text breaks, font changes, images, and such, greatly helping improve your connection with a reader.

Now that you know how to blog well, make sure to blog often!

Google has recently released an algorithm change known as the “freshness” update. The change takes time indicators into consideration when ranking search results. (ie. date, time, year the post was made.) This will allow Google to find the most relevant content regarding current events and breaking news. The idea is to improve the user experience for anyone using the Google search engine. It is a valiant concept, but it has great implications for bloggers if they intend on ranking on the first page for any competitive search term.   Now this is assuming your website already has all the correct search engine optimization in place.

Effects of the “freshness” update:

  • 35% of all searches will be effected by the freshness update. Any search term that could be construed as time sensitive will be effected by the change.
  • 10% of search results will feel the effects. Search terms and search results are two different entities that should not be confused. Multiple search terms  can often bring up the same search results.
  • To maintain strong rankings sites now require daily updates.
  • New content ranks better than older webpages or blog posts.
  • Old contextual backlinks do not carry as much link juice as time progresses.
  • Online marketing is more time sensitive than ever before.

The changes are ensuring a better search engine for future users. The algorithm has definitely not seen the last changes it will under go before the end of 2011. Google averages over 500 adjustments every year so things can still change. What is known, is that three types of search queries that have been effected.

  1. Search terms that have time sensitivity inferred like news and current events. When Google search users type “occupy wall street movement” into the search bar, they expect to see the most up to date information possible. With the recent changes Google can achieve this goal better.
  2. Search queries that occur in a timely manner. For instance, if someone types “solar eclipse”, Google assumes they want information about the next solar eclipse, not an event that occurred 5 years ago.
  3. Search terms that necessitate time associated results. When people search for product reviews they rarely ever specify fresh results. It is implied that the user wants the latest review.

What have we learned?

There are two basic rules for blogging. If there is anything I want readers to take away from this article it is as follows:

  1. Write for your blog, not a book.
  2. Post regularly or fail to be relevant in the eyes of Google.

 

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