inbound marketing, content marketing, post quantity vs post quality

Content Marketing Question: Effect of Quantity vs Quality on Organic Traffic

Why The Question is Fundamentally Flawed

I personally do not understand why people feel this is a valid question.

The fact of the matter is, publishing 3 short posts each day as compared to one longer post has an incredibly positive effect on your site’s SEO.

Publishing More Often Helps Enormously

I know this first hand. The article I reference above is when Bill Belew taught a class at Interntional Technological University in downtown San Jose, CA and different students were given different assignments. Bill and I were working together at the time and I acted in a technical support capacity. I helped with the setups of the WordPress websites and I configured the Google Analytics for the sites.

Some students were instructed to publish one post per day with a length of 600 to 750 words. Others were instructed to publish three posts per day with a length of 200 to 250 words. Each student was assigned the same number of words each day, just divided between different numbers of posts.

The students who published 3 short posts per day had drastically more website visitors over the 16 weeks or so of the class as compared to the students who published 1 longer post each day.

Why The Idea That “Often” = “Low Quality”?

This is what makes the Quality vs Quantity fundamentally flawed.

First off, there are two aspects of “quality”: 1) From the perspective of the search engine spiders, and 2) From the perspective of people.

What a Quality Post Looks Like to a Search Engine

This SEO aspect of quality is extremely objective. There is no guesswork.

  1. It has an SEO friendly title that consists of 7 to 11 words where most of the words are likely to appear in a search engine query and no words are repeated.
  2. It has at least one image with a good caption (2 to 7 words), alt desc (2 to 5 comma separated keyword phrases, and a description (a short paragraph describing the image).
  3. It has at least one internal link, which is a link to another post on your website.
  4. It has at least one external link, which is a link to a webpage on another website.
  5. The keyword phrase you’re interested in ranking for occurs about twice per every 100 words of the post.

What a Quality Post Looks Like to a Person

There is an objective aspect to this, which I’ll describe below, but much of this is subjective, which is what makes the debate a moot point.

The Objective Aspects of Post Quality as Perceived by a Person

Specifically to address the fact that most of us do not read online per se, but rather we scan. For this reason you want your posts to be easy to scan. There are only a few basic rules to help you do this:

  1. Use section headings where each section heading provides a summary of what’s in the section.
  2. Use lots of white space. Paragraphs should be very short. Ideally no more than two sentences.
  3. Bold words in the text you consider to be important to make them easier to find.

The Subjective Aspects of Post Quality as Perceived by a Person

Again, this is what makes the debate stupid. One person may find a certain post fascinating while another thinks it’s stupid.

I once met a lady who in her youth was a logistics officer in the German Army during WWII. Technically she had to have been a Nazi, but when I met her she seemed very nice.

Her job was ensure that supplies got to where they were needed when they were needed.

She once made a big mistake with coffee. It was funny when she told me (40 years afterwards) but I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time.

The coffee that was destined for a German officer’s club went  to a French POW camp by mistake. The coffee that was destined for the French POW’s went to the German Officer’s club.

Both the German officers and the French POW’s complained about the coffee!

This story illustrates the subjective nature of quality. One soldier’s perfect morning brew is another soldier’s pig swill, and visa versa.

Did You Know Google Quantifies Subjective Quality?

It’s true. They hire human raters who manually rate search engine results.

Their instructions to the human raters is per Google the #1 criteria for a webpage to be considered high quality is it’s usefulness.

Not it’s length, not it’s prettiness, not it’s keyword phrase density, not how many social shares it has, but how useful is it to people searching online.

Can you make a webpage useful in 200 to 250 words? Absolutely.

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