One big post?

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Hello BuSo! Lately I haven't been so active, after some memebers here smacked some sense into me and I started working harder.

Now I was just writing an article and I came to the conclusion that I could split it in multiple articles. However, this article is an "ultimate guide" type of article so I would not necessarily split it.

To illustrate, I will use two example:

Example 1:
Keyword: bench press
Article idea: The Ultimate Guide to Bench Press

And the structure of the article would be something like:
  • Bench press benefits
  • Bench press muscles worked
  • Bench press form
  • Bench press progressions
  • Bench press weak links
  • etc
Example 2:
Keyword: paleo diet
Article idea: The ultimate guide to the paleo diet

And the structure of the article would be something like:
  • Paleo diet benefits
  • Paleo diet recipes
  • Paleo diet rules
  • Paleo diet vs keto
  • etc

All these could fit in a single "ultimate guide" to bench press or paleo diet and would actually be relevant. After all, it's an ultimate guide.

However, they could just as well be standalone articles; those keywords have low-ish competition and good traffic.

My idea was to include them in my ultimate guide, but to actually hold back a little. So instead of writing - say - all of the benefits of doing a bench press, I would write 2-3 benefits and briefly describe each. Then I would write a more in-depth article and link to that. However, I believe that would diminish the quality of the ultimate guide article.

How would you go about this?
 
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I think both methods have pros and cons and ultimately comes down to personal preference and what you're trying to do.

For something like bench pressing this would be an example of a monster one big post. I have this post bookmarked and use it as a reference all the time, I'm sure it pulls huge quantities of links and traffic but honestly, I'd never land at the top of the page and read the full post.

My idea was to include them in my ultimate guide, but to actually hold back a little. So instead of writing - say - all of the benefits of doing a bench press, I would write 2-3 benefits and briefly describe each. Then I would write a more in-depth article and link to that. However, I believe that would diminish the quality of the ultimate guide article.

To me, building a site is about getting a user to go down a rabbit hole on the topic and this is exactly how I plan to do it. One "authority" post that covers the whole topic and then link off to deep dive into different sections before getting a user to see my pitch for a product.

To use the StrongLifts example I'd have a post titled "The Ultimate Guide to Bench Press" with each section covered in 100-200 words.

Each section would then link into a deeper dive into the topic, which might be "The Ultimate Guide To Bench Press Grip". This would then dive down into "How To Use The Bench Press Bulldog Grip".

The benefits of this are:
  • Establish credibility through being specific with your content (feels like you're writing the book on bench pressing)
  • More opportunity to link up through tiers of supporting content
  • More opportunity to push product with specific messaging
  • More opportunity for collecting email addresses
  • More opportunity for longtails
 
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I think both methods have pros and cons and ultimately comes down to personal preference and what you're trying to do.

For something like bench pressing this would be an example of a monster one big post. I have this post bookmarked and use it as a reference all the time, I'm sure it pulls huge quantities of links and traffic but honestly, I'd never land at the top of the page and read the full post.



To me, building a site is about getting a user to go down a rabbit hole on the topic and this is exactly how I plan to do it. One "authority" post that covers the whole topic and then link off to deep dive into different sections before getting a user to see my pitch for a product.

To use the StrongLifts example I'd have a post titled "The Ultimate Guide to Bench Press" with each section covered in 100-200 words.

Each section would then link into a deeper dive into the topic, which might be "The Ultimate Guide To Bench Press Grip". This would then dive down into "How To Use The Bench Press Bulldog Grip".

The benefits of this are:
  • Establish credibility through being specific with your content (feels like you're writing the book on bench pressing)
  • More opportunity to link up through tiers of supporting content
  • More opportunity to push product with specific messaging
  • More opportunity for collecting email addresses
  • More opportunity for longtails

Oh yeah. I remember being taken aback by one of his articles - the StrongLift 5x5 - which is 41k words long. I also remember him pulling something like 50k traffic with that one article, if I can recall correctly.

So I guess you approach is closer to creating a resource page which is very specific for a topic, rather than an ultimate guide article. Is that correct? It does make sense but I assume the ranking capability of that one page is not that great, right?
 
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That depends - at a certain point length isn't going to help you improve rankings as much as links. A small part of that 50k will be ranking for the head and the bulk will be made up of longtails which you'd probably pick up with seperate articles.

My view would be that you need to write just enough for the main page to convey authority, get external links to that page to rank for the head term then use separate posts to create internal relevancy and mop up longtails for the sub-topic if that makes sense.
 
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If you want to rank for all the keywords you will probably have to split the article.
The easy way to know the right way IMO is to google the top10 for each keyword.
Google will tell you what it wants to see and if you don't fit in the top10 you won't rank.
2021 is so much about the search intent.

And yes, this is probably the right way from my experience:
My idea was to include them in my ultimate guide, but to actually hold back a little. So instead of writing - say - all of the benefits of doing a bench press, I would write 2-3 benefits and briefly describe each. Then I would write a more in-depth article and link to that. However, I believe that would diminish the quality of the ultimate guide article.

You will probably be able to get some links to the ultimate guide and it will powerup the linked pages.
 

Ryuzaki

お前はもう死んでいる
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Big "ultimate guide" posts will generally be much easier to get links to naturally and artificially. It may one day out-compete the big dogs and rank for the short-tail keyword too, but I wouldn't set out to make that the goal. I'm in complete agreement with @NorthernMonkey.

These types of big posts are for links and exposure, and not necessarily money unless you slap a bunch of ads on these low-buying-intent, high-traffic pages. Ranking for short-tail, high volume keywords isn't the holy grail people make it out to be. It's often a big fat let down.

Something like "bench press" is going to have a mixture of intent between eCommerce, information, how-to, and video. The chances for you to rank are slashed already simply because there's fewer slots in the top 10 for your intent. And the searcher doesn't even know what his own intent is yet.

And intent is the exact same reason creating posts for each sub-topic is a good idea. The tighter the intent is to the query, the infinitely better chance you have of ranking.

If I search something like "Should I put an arch in my back when bench pressing?" Do you think an ultimate guide will be found any where in the top 10? I'm betting it's all shorter articles aimed directly at the intent of the question:
  1. Why You Actually Should Arch Your Back While You Bench
  2. People also ask: "is arching your back while benching cheating?" + More
  3. The Bench Press Arch — Is it Safe and Effective?
  4. Videos: Bench Press Form (Arch or No Arch?) + More
  5. The Painful Truth About Arching Your Back When Bench
  6. Expert Answers: Arched Backs and Bench Pressing
  7. The Bench Press Arch (How To Do It, Benefits, Is It Safe
  8. The Bench Press Arch: 4 Reasons Why You SHOULD Use It
  9. Fake Strength: Stop Arching the Bench Press
  10. Should you arch your back during barbell bench press?
This is what @janky proposed to do, and look how right he is.

If you want to rank, you need to satisfy search query intent, first and foremost. Next, you need at least decent on-page. Then you finish it off with links, and that's assuming you have your technical SEO together (speed, indexation, etc.). This game is way more simple than it appears from the outside once you understand those basic principles and can stop yourself from making it any more complex than that.
 
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Within the past 6 months in my niche I've written both long-form (1500+ word articles) as well as 400 word "quick hit" question-answer styled articles.

The long ones haven't done anything. I'm struck by how much I spent on them and how little they've actually accomplished. Hopefully they come around long-term? Perhaps many (myself included) make the mistake of **assuming** that these long articles are going to bring in a plethora of long-tail queries. The problem could be that other more authoritative long articles are ALREADY capitalizing on that traffic. When Google has long-tail queries without posts that exactly match the keyword intent, they probably just default to some big authority page in the space. So not much is to be gained early by this big category page strategy. The "edge" as a smaller/younger site is to provide that exact, laser-focused content on albeit smaller keywords. Category pages can be made "to have" but that authority and traffic must be built over time.

The question-answer styled articles have shown ability to rank easier as well as easier to write up.

As a searcher myself, I am disappointed when I search a specific query and am handed a giant category article (that I basically need to spend 5 mins reading through to find the detail I really want).

I agree with the other posts saying having the category-level article is good, but I think users these days want the laser-targeted question/answer content more. SEO is always changing. Direct answers over big post length authority could just be the new algorithmic trend.
 
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Gotcha! Thank you all for replying. Honestly, I was starting to feel overwhelmed because I felt like I have to write the ins and outs of all topics I wrote about. That is how I ended up with over 120k words at 30 articles - some of which are sitting at 8k words.

Funny enough, since I was tacklinkg big terms and doing no link building, none of the behemoth articles ranked, not even for long tail keywords.

Yet some of the smaller ones did for the main term. Lesson learned.
 

Ben

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Thanks for sharing! Depending on the keyword, sometimes Google prefers to show shorter articles if they determine the user is seeking quick info as opposed to a detailed guide.