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Does Word Count Really Matter For SEO Content?

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Does Word Count Really Matter For SEO Content?


In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), the top strategies for copywriting are continually shifting as we adjust to Google’s algorithm updates.

You may have come across digital marketing experts who offer guidance on how to improve your place in the search rankings by following their recommendations for word count range.

There have been multiple debates around whether word count matters in SEO, and it’s time to get to the bottom of it.

Is Word Count A Ranking Factor?

Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that word count is not a ranking factor for the search algorithm.

Specifically, he states that “just blindly adding text to a page doesn’t make it better.”

Rather than looking at the number of words on a page, Google’s algorithms look for relevant, original, and high-quality content.

Why Long-Form Content Tends To Rank Higher

Despite Google’s confirmation that word count doesn’t directly affect rank, you can still find plenty of articles and keyword tools that suggest longer word counts.

So, why do tools like Yoast and Clearscope provide recommended word counts if the numbers on the page don’t directly impact rank?

There are a few reasons a higher word count may improve your ranking indirectly.

Some of these tools are basing word count recommendations on competitive analysis.

Writing longer content makes it easier for Google’s algorithm to figure out what your page is about.

Well-written comprehensive pieces also position you as an authority on the topic and enable you to rank for long-tail keyword variants.

How To Determine The Right Word Count For Your Content

There’s no rule of thumb to follow in terms of the word limit for SEO.

Instead, you can look at your keyword research, competition, and past performance to determine your content’s best word count range.

Start With Your Keyword Strategy

You may create a new piece of content with a single target keyword in mind.

But a study by Ahrefs found longer content is more likely to rank in the top 10 for multiple keywords.

By increasing the length of your article, you can cover your primary topic from various angles, which means you can rank for more keywords.

In particular, longer articles have a higher chance of ranking for long-tail variations of your primary keyword, with lower competition and higher conversion rates.

For example, long-tail variants of “Microsoft Word” might include “Microsoft Word for Mac” and “Microsoft Word resume template.”

Screenshot from search for [Microsoft Word], Google, March 2022

So if you’ve identified long-tail keywords that you want to target, consider increasing your word count to address those more specific queries.

Check Out The Competition

You can also use word count as a benchmark metric when comparing your content to the competition.

Many keyword research and content optimization tools provide the word count of the top-performing articles for any given keyword.

Clearscope grade summary graph with content grade, word count, and readabilityScreenshot from Clearscope.io, March 2022

If you don’t know how long an article should be, looking at the word count of the current top performers is a good place to start.

Pay Attention To Search Intent

In addition to looking at what the competition is doing, you should always pay attention to the search intent associated with your target keyword.

Intent will help define what makes content useful and relevant to the user.

In other words, think about what your target audience wants when they type a keyword into the search bar.

If they want comprehensive information, you might aim to meet or exceed your competitors’ word count.

Conversely, you might choose to create shorter content that gets to the point faster for keywords where the audience wants quick answers.

As it relates to word count, search intent can help you decide whether you want to follow the competition’s lead or differentiate your content through length.

Review Your Performance

Finally, you can look at your past performance to discover what content length works best for you.

Review your SEO performance regularly and see if trends arise.

Is there a word count sweet spot where you tend to rank higher?

Or maybe you have some shorter articles that aren’t ranking as high as you’d like.

In that case, try going back to your keyword research and figuring out how you can lengthen the content with more useful and relevant information.

Additional Factors That Affect Your Ranking

You can use word count to enhance your keyword research and competitive strategy, but it’s not going to be the ultimate deciding factor for search algorithms.

If you want to improve your SEO performance, here are some additional writing tips to consider:

Content Structure

Google looks at structural elements, such as heading tags, as a way to better understand your content and send the right users to your page.

Formatting your content with a clear, logical structure to your content also improves readability and usefulness for the people searching on Google.

table of contentsImage created by author, March 2022

Instead of just stuffing your heading tags with keywords, think about the best experience for your reader.

Use headings to break up large chunks of text and make it easy for someone to find the information they want.

Quality Of Information

Information quality remains a top determining factor for search engine results page (SERP) rankings.

In other words, adding a bunch of fluff to increase your total word count won’t help you.

According to Google, the search algorithm prioritizes reliable information and pages that “demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness on a given topic.”

Back up statements and claims with links to relevant external data sources to improve your content quality.

You should also ensure your content is original by doing plagiarism checks and avoiding duplicate content on your domain.

Visual Support And Imagery

Images and other visual support can help you demonstrate relevance to your target keyword, another primary factor the algorithm uses.

For example, if you’re targeting the keyword “Harry Potter,” Google will look for relevance signals such as pictures of the character or video clips related to the books or movies.

Adding media can improve the user experience by breaking up large blocks of text and catering to visual learners.

High-quality original images also enable you to rank in Google Images.

Optimize For Special Content Blocks

Google continues to make its SERP pages more intuitive and browseable through special content types and featured snippets.

These content resource blocks appear at the top of SERP pages and often give users a quick answer to their queries.

SERP results for “best places to live in the US.Screenshot from search for [best places to live in the us], Google, March 2022

Optimizing your content for featured snippets can elevate your content to position zero, above all other results.

Around 70% of all featured snippets are paragraph types, which could be an excellent place to start experimenting.

Aim to answer the keyword question using 50-250 characters.

Final Thoughts: Why Is Word Count Important For SEO Strategy?

Optimizing content for SEO isn’t as simple as running through a checklist of keyword mentions and article length.

Ultimately, you have to understand the audience of each keyword and publish the content that best serves their needs.

Word count won’t be the factor that pushes your content to the top, but it can help you define what’s “relevant and useful” for a particular keyword.

Use the writing advice and questions above to find your optimal word count starting point, but keep in mind that all your words should provide value to your readers.

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Featured Image: Wall to wall/Shutterstock





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12 Powerful Email Marketing Tips You Need to Know

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12 Powerful Email Marketing Tips You Need to Know

There is no doubt that email marketing is effective. But how many times have you sat down to begin an email marketing project and immediately felt overwhelmed?

Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start, especially when working with a newer brand.

The good thing is that email marketing has never been easier, thanks to automation tools and innovative ways to deliver emails directly into subscribers’ inboxes.

If you don’t know where to begin or want to improve your current workflow, this article is for you.

So now, let’s look at some simple steps you can follow to ensure you’re using email marketing wisely.

Where To Begin With Email Marketing

So, you’re planning your email marketing strategy for your client. Where do you begin? Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  • Keep your emails short and sweet. People get tired of reading long emails, so keep yours between 60 to 200 words.
  • People love visuals, especially in email marketing, so include images of your products or services.
  • Social proof helps convince readers that your offer is legitimate and worth their time. This includes sharing links or information in your emails from experts in the industry, positive testimonials, or influencers using the brand.
  • People want to know where to go next after reading your content. And since emails are usually opened on mobile devices, you need to provide a clear CTA at the end of each email. Whether it’s to a product page or recent content produced on the website.
  • Email marketing works best when you send regular emails. But even once a week isn’t enough. Studies show that people respond better to frequent emails than infrequent ones.

Now, let’s discuss the top 12 email marketing components for your strategy:

1. Create Optimized Lead Magnets

So, how do you get people to actually subscribe to your email listing? An effective lead magnet.

A lead magnet is usually the first thing visitors see when they land on a brand’s website. It gets them to click through and read more about a brand, so it needs to be eye-catching and compelling.

And if you don’t optimize your lead magnets for conversion, a brand could lose out on potential leads.

So, how do you make sure your lead magnets convert?

Your lead magnet should grab visitors’ attention right away. That means making it interesting, unique, and relevant to the business.

For example, you can use an incentive like a freebie or discount code to entice people to take action. You could also give away a free report or ebook in exchange for their name and email address.

Your lead magnet could also be the first email they receive, which can be a part of your welcome series (which I’ll talk about briefly).

It entices the users to keep receiving emails, so they don’t immediately unsubscribe after they receive a discount code or something similar.

2. Segment Your Subscribers

You’ve probably heard the term “subscriber segmentation.” It refers to a way of grouping your subscribers into groups based on their interests and behavior so that you can send them more relevant content, offers, and other messages.

This is an integral part of email marketing because it allows you to target your audience with personalized emails.

You can also use this technique to create multiple versions of your emails, such as a welcome email, a thank you email, and a follow-up email.

Segmenting your subscribers can help build trust and long-term interest for a brand because it presents them with information or offers they actually want to receive.

3. Craft A Welcome Series 

Welcome emails are usually sent automatically to new subscribers when they sign up, purchase a product, or make an account.

When creating a welcome series, you need to consider where the customer is in their journey with a brand. So, it’s beneficial to space the emails out over a set period of time and create each one with a specific intention.

A welcome series is a great way to keep potential customers engaged after they sign up. Especially since they receive emails from companies almost daily.

Some examples include: “Welcome! We hope you like our product” or “Your account has been activated.”

You can also send welcome emails to existing customers who haven’t logged in for a while.

For example, if someone signs up and doesn’t use the service for three months, you could send an email saying, “Hey, we noticed that you signed up recently. Would you be interested in using our service?”

This type of marketing is very effective because it’s personalized and targeted. It shows that you’re not sending out mass emails but rather ones specifically tailored to specific customers.

These emails are also a great way to help build trust with your customers and get them used to receiving emails from you.

4. Implement Automation

So now, you’ve done the work to craft an email series. Next, it’s time to automate their delivery, so you don’t have to send them out each time you need to, according to your schedule.

Automation in email marketing is easy to do using tools like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, and Convertkit.

These types of programs allow you to create automated emails based on triggers, such as when someone opens your email, clicks on a link, or purchases something from you.

This way, you no longer need to manually send out those emails, which can alleviate some stress when you’re dealing with a multitude of different subscribers.

5. Design Mobile-Friendly Emails

As I mentioned earlier, most people use their phones to check their emails, so making them mobile-friendly is crucial.

The email should be optimized for mobile phones if it promotes sales or discounts. For example, any sales information or product pictures should be easily viewed on their mobile device.

And users should be able to click on the promotion, link, or image and give them the option to view the brand’s site in their preferred browser on their phone.

The key elements to consider when designing mobile-friendly emails include:

  • Placing important links at the top of the page rather than down below.
  • Keeping graphics small.
  • Using text only where appropriate.
  • Optimizing images.
  • And testing different sizes of fonts and margins.

6. Personalize Your Emails

Even though the average person receives numerous unsolicited emails daily, sending personalized messages to potential leads is proven to boost response rates.

Personalizing your emails makes them feel less like spam. Plus, it gives your subscribers a sense of connection to you.

The key to successful email marketing is knowing exactly who you want to send emails and which messages resonate best with each group of recipients.

Once you know what works and what doesn’t, you can tailor your messages specifically to your audience and keep them coming back for more.

First, choose a subject line that clearly states what you will say in your email. This will help readers decide whether or not to click through your email.

Next, include a call to action, such as asking subscribers to check out a new product or sign up for a free trial.

Finally, customize each individual message by adding links to pages on your site where interested parties can read more information.

Get creative and do your research for the industry. For example, does adding emojis help to personalize the email, or is that a no-no for that specific industry?

7. A/B Test Email Content

The A/B testing of email content is a great way to improve your open rate. It’s also an excellent way to get more people on board with a product or service.

But it can be challenging to figure out what works best for you and your audience.

A/B testing helps marketers decide what works best for their business. For example, when designing email campaigns, it’s often necessary to split-test different versions of emails to determine which one performs better.

You can also test different subject lines. Subject lines are one of the most important parts of any email. They’ll help determine whether someone opens your message or not. It’s what hooks the subscriber to learn more.

The best way to test different variations of emails is to use A/B email testing software. This allows you to compare two versions side by side while showing only one version to half of your users at any given moment so that they don’t realize they’re receiving two different messages.

Most email automation platforms can also conduct A/B testing for your emails. And A/B testing isn’t just beneficial for email. For example, it’s important to test copy and content on a brand’s website, so A/B testing will come in handy in more ways than one.

8. Find The Best Timing

The best time to send emails to customers depends on several factors – such as when they last visited your website, what action they took while on your site, whether they completed any transactions, and more.

One way to determine which times work best for email campaigns is by using Google Analytics. You can use the Goal conversion section to view bounce rate, exit pages, and other data related to goal completion.

You should also consider other factors and incorporate them when you send emails based on people’s schedules. For example, you can see lower open rates on holidays, late into the evening, as well as Monday morning and Friday evenings.

9. Scrub Your List Of Non-Opens

It’s essential to manage your subscriber list. When you click “send” on your newsletter, your list contains all subscribers who did not open the email. If you see that certain people are ignoring all your emails, you might want to delete them from your list.

To delete them from your list, you need to go to the unsubscribe page, then select remove and confirm. This process may be repeated until all your non-opens are removed.

You don’t want to overload people who have already purchased or are no longer interested in the brand, so you don’t create a negative relationship with them.

Incorporating one of the email management tools to help you eliminate the consistent non-opens can help you manage your subscribers and decrease time spent on this repetitive task.

10. Include A Real Reply Email Address

This is one of the best ways to keep customers coming back for more. Users may want to send any follow-up emails directly to their spam folder if you don’t include an actual reply address.

But when you put your email address in the footer, they know exactly where to go. If a person has questions, they can email the brand’s team.

Again, this also helps build trust with the brand. They know they are communicating with real people who selected these emails for them versus being spammed with nonrelevant or generic content for the masses.

11. Experiment With Lead Generation Ads

The goal of lead generation ads is to reach people who may be interested in buying from the brand.

They usually appear at the top of the page, where they are visible for longer periods of time than other types of ads.

This means people tend to click on them more often than ads below the fold. So, as long as you don’t use these ads too frequently, you should be able to generate leads.

12. Utilize Email Analytics To Improve Campaigns

One way to utilize email analytics to improve campaigns is to check the bounce rate, opens, clicks, and unsubscribes for your emails. Then use that information to enhance your current efforts.

This includes sending emails at different times throughout the week, testing subject lines, changing up the call to action, and testing creative variations.

If you’re still struggling, try experimenting with lead magnets, such as free ebooks, white papers, and webinars.

These allow you to capture leads from those interested in learning about new topics. In addition, measuring results lets you know which emails work and which ones don’t.

You should also compare these variables (such as open rates) to industry metrics. For example, what’s the percentage of bounce rates for the industry you’re working with?

If you aren’t measuring results, you won’t have much data to base future decisions for your next email marketing campaign.

Final Takeaways

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to promote your online store, build relationships with customers, and generate sales.

The final step in this process is to put all these pieces together into an effective strategy. This means coming up with creative and effective ways to construct emails and email series.

It also means being able to measure the results of each tactic so that you can continue to improve your efforts going forward.

Leveraging email metrics and incorporating A/B testing can help build relationships with subscribers by presenting them with the information they want to read.

With a little bit of effort and creativity, you can use email marketing to increase a brand’s sales and help create long-term customers.

More Resources:


Featured Image: 13_Phunkod/Shutterstock

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