So maybe you are blogging (you should be!) but are not quite sure if it’s getting the traction you want. I am offering a series of tips for blogging for your private practice website, whether you are a therapist, attorney, chiropractor or physician. In this post we will discuss word count. Woohoo!
“What’s the best length for blog posts” is a question frequently asked by therapists interested in adding content to their website. If we’re going to take the time to blog, we want to optimize its value, right? Recent research says the optimal post is now 600 words in length, and here’s why:
In August, a new Search Metrics Study came out with SEO ranking factors and correlation with high ranks. (See the full study, here: http://www.searchmetrics.com/knowledge-base/ranking-factors-us-2013/) While just as recently as last year, “word count in text” correlated negatively with good ranking, that finding has changed considerably in 2013. The number of words on a page is considered to be a very important factor in search engine ranking. Detailed charts presented in the study results show that pages ranking in the top portions have a higher word count than websites positioned at the lower end of search engine results pages (SERPs). This means that, in 2012, long posts received a negative ranking, but now, as Google continues to refine it’s attempt to provide a “good search experience” for it’s users, the opposite is true. Long posts are king in the new ranking data.
Other charts listed in the Search Metrics Study show that, with the exception of “brand name” websites (which can command the top two posts with fewer words per page), pages with around 600 words in length tend to rank best, with the rank dropping as the word count goes down. In addition, posts of the 600-word length are found to link well.
My own research with a client in California mirrors this finding. This psychologist’s website had 305 total blog posts at the time of my investigation. Of this number, 298 were short (around 75 to 100 words) abstract summaries. Seven of the posts he’d written were longer, in the 400- to 1300-word range. In analyzing the data collected over one month’s time, I noted that the traffic driven by the blog posts generated 380 visits.
This means that 380 people came in search of something. The short posts, which comprised 98% of the traffic, drove 188 of the visits (49%). In comparison, the long posts, comprising only 2% of the total, drove 192 of the visits (51%). This noteworthy statistic from my own research reinforced the findings of the Search Metrics Study given above, regarding the value of long posts. A bunch of small posts on this psychologist’s site brought in half the traffic, with the few long posts generating the other half.
While there is obviously plenty of research evidence to support writing long blogs and adding more content to your website, writing posts of any length is better than nothing. Do anything, even just 200 words, to start with. As you get more comfortable, you can identify questions that you know your potential clients have, and you can explore these questions more deeply on your blog.
As mentioned in this recent post, 3 Important Reasons Why Your Private Practice Website Needs a Blog, you’ll want to make sure that you’re blogging to serve clients, to stand out amongst your peers, and to attract more potential clients to your site.
In a future post, I’ll spend some time showing you how to determine what you can blog about, so that your time blogging really pays off. Until then, please enter a comment below to let me know what your experience has been with blogging up until this point in your private practice marketing journey. What has worked for you? What have you struggled with?
Watch this space for more tips for blogging for your private practice website.