The General Guideline
When it comes to SEO-optimized content, there are generally two categories that marketers and content creators should focus on: basic articles/blog posts and authoritative pieces. Each serves a distinct purpose and plays a unique role in your overall content strategy. Let’s delve deeper into these two types.
Basic Articles and Blog Posts
These are your 300-500 word articles that often serve as entry points to your website. They are designed to answer specific, often long-tail, questions that users might have. The objective here is to provide quick, easily digestible information. These articles are excellent for targeting less competitive keywords and can be produced in higher volumes due to their shorter length.
- Quick answers to specific questions
- Targeting long-tail keywords
- High-frequency posting
On the other end of the spectrum are authoritative pieces, which are in-depth articles often exceeding 1,000 words. These are designed to provide comprehensive coverage of a topic and are often backed by research, data, and expert opinions. They aim to be the definitive guide on a subject and are targeted at more competitive, high-volume keywords.
Comprehensive coverage of a topic
Targeting competitive, high-volume keywords
Establishing thought leadership
The Ideal Mix: Is There a Target Ratio?
The question of whether there should be a mix of these two types of content and what that mix should look like is contingent on various factors, including your industry, target audience, and overall business objectives. However, a balanced approach is often the most effective.
Why a Mix is Necessary
Having a mix of both basic and authoritative content allows you to cast a wider net in terms of keyword targeting and user intent. Basic articles can quickly rank for specific, long-tail keywords and drive initial traffic to your site. Authoritative pieces, on the other hand, help you compete for more generic, high-volume keywords and establish your site as an authority in your field.
The Ideal Ratio
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the ideal ratio between basic and authoritative content. However, a commonly recommended approach is a 70-30 or 60-40 split, favoring basic articles. This allows you to maintain a steady flow of new content (basic articles) while also dedicating time and resources to produce high-quality, authoritative pieces that can significantly impact your site’s SEO and brand reputation.
In summary, both basic articles and authoritative pieces have their place in a well-rounded SEO strategy. The ideal mix will depend on your specific circumstances but aiming for a balanced approach will generally yield the best results. By understanding the role and purpose of each type of content, you can more effectively allocate resources and plan your content calendar to achieve both short-term gains and long-term growth.
However, there are important caveats to consider:
Relevance Over Length
Longer does not necessarily mean better. Content should be as long as it needs to be to cover the subject comprehensively but no longer. Irrelevant or repetitive information can harm user engagement metrics like bounce rate and time on page, which can negatively impact rankings.
The ideal length also depends on user intent. If the user is looking for quick answers, a concise, 300-word article that directly addresses their query may perform better than a 2,000-word comprehensive guide.
Different industries have different norms. A technical or scientific article may naturally require more in-depth coverage than a lifestyle or entertainment piece.
With the increasing prevalence of mobile browsing, it’s also crucial to consider how your content appears on smaller screens. Long-form content can be overwhelming on mobile if not properly formatted.
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, aiming for a word count between 1,000 and 2,500 words for in-depth, authoritative pieces is a good rule of thumb. However, this should always be balanced with considerations of user intent, content quality, and industry norms. Remember, content should be as long as it needs to be to provide value to the reader, and not a word more.