Every day, 2 million blog posts are created.
This volume of content has a term: Content Shock. It happens when you realize you can’t possibly keep up. With so much content available on the web, how do you rank high on search engines and make sure your content is read?
The answer is simple: Find out what your audience is searching for and how you can help them—then answer their questions with your content.
Here are five ways to accomplish that:
1 . Write headlines that answer consumers’ top questions.
Eighty percent of readers will read only your headline, leading to increased traffic.
Don’t use clickbait titles. Instead, answer the intent behind what your audience is searching for. Your headline should address readers’ primary question, and the article should answer that question (along with related queries).
How do you know what questions consumers ask? Ask your sales team what questions they’re asked—and create a data base of those questions. You can also use websites like Quora to research common queries.
Search Google for potential questions you think consumers are asking, and scroll to the bottom of the search results to the “searches related” section for additional clues. For example, take a look at the related searches for “cloud vs. colocation.” You can see additional questions that are related, and content which answers those questions will rank higher.
2 . Write longer articles.
The more value your content provides, the better it can rank in the search engines. Longer pieces are more likely to answer consumers’ questions, which also increases social media shares, backlinks and call-to-action conversions (such as subscribing to your newsletter).
Aim for content that is more than 3,000 words. Marketing consultant and speaker Neil Patel writes blog posts that are more than 4,000 words, averages 100,000 visitors a month to his website.
Research from serpIQ reveals that the content in Google’s top 10 search each had more than 2,000 words. Additionally, Buzzsumo and OkDork found that the longer the blog articles, the more social media shares it gets—with a sweet spot of 3,000 to 10,000 words.
Longer blog articles also increase conversion rates. CrazyEgg increased their conversion rate by 363 percent by switching to a long-form page.
3 . Improve readability.
Google wants to help searches quickly find what they’re looking for, so create content that is easy to digest, scan and comprehend.
To figure out how well your content reads, use tools such as the readability score tool and Hemingway App. Google also analyzes the readability of your website so that it matches its searchers’ intent.
Your content should be at an 8th-grade reading level. This level can bring complex ideas to audiences who read at a lower reading level. More than just simple, your content must be interesting and compelling.
4. Add read time to your articles.
Show consumers how long blog articles are before they start reading. Adding read time increases engagement.
Articles on Fast Company, Medium and HubSpot all include read time. The New Yorker started the trend, reporting:
The more we know about something—including precisely how much time it will consume—the greater the chance we will commit to it.
To calculate estimated reading time in WordPress, use plugins or code snippets to automatically calculate it. You can also manually add it to your blog articles. Research varies but generally, a person reads from 200 to 250 words a minute. A 2,000-word blog post, it is an 8 to 10-minute read. Pick a word count (200 or 250 words) and use that to calculate your read time.