(This article is a 5 minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. How long a blog post should be
2. Whether you should write blog posts or do video blogs
3. How each of these formats will effect your SEO
You've decided that you want to use some type of content to connect with people. Now you're overwhelmed by a world of choice. What type of story do people want to read on vet websites? What should it be about? How long should my blogs be?
And then there's the question of format. Should you be writing, or making videos? Or both?
There are easy answers to these questions. But they aren't always the right answer.
The minimum length of a blog post for SEO
If you are writing blog posts to increase traffic to your website, the least you should be writing is 400 words per post. At less than 300 words, search engines may dismiss it as thin content, and not worth indexing. Going for a little more gives you a buffer.
And while video is popular among marketers, and will appeal to people, the format has limited impact on SEO. Search engine crawlers can't read videos. They have no way of working out what's in them. They can index them based on metadata, but for people to find the video in Google they still need to be using some very specific search terms. So they're not great for new people discovering you.
Having said all that, these answers can change based on your individual practice.
When does content work best?
Content works best when it's either educational, entertaining, or both. Just getting your head around that will give you a big jump on most veterinary content online. A lot of the veterinary content I see out there is built around diagnoses or just trying to push people into the clinic.
But research written into the informational, navigational and transactional nature of search engine results shows that 80 per cent of searches are for information only. Offering in-depth guides into treatments is jumping the gun. A lot of people just want to know how to look after their pug.
The major social media sites and search engines have published a lot of articles on what sort of content gets engagement. If your aim is to rank highly in search, or get lots of social shares, the current wisdom is the longer and more comprehensive, the better. Which makes sense. People share useful information, or funny stuff.
This works for video as well as written content. Videos that get shared are funny (cat videos), cute (cat videos), or useful, how-to type videos.
I haven't tried it, but I suspect a ‘how-to’ video on performing surgery on someone's pet may not get a lot of shares or likes. I might be wrong.
What is the easiest content to produce?
If you keep the goal of being either useful or entertaining in mind, then written content is much easier to produce. It's cheaper than video. You can offer a greater breadth and depth of information. And it's quicker to produce.
Video is more difficult and more expensive to produce, because it involves more people. But, if you produce something that is entertaining and teaches people something, it will get a lot of engagement. If you're prepared to invest in the minimum crew (a producer/director, a camera guy and an editor), there is no reason you can't make a great little web series.
If you do go down that route, you should also invest in getting full summaries or transcripts of each video. Those transcripts can be published on your site alongside the video, and they will be what gives you the SEO benefit.
In summary, blogs are easier to produce than video. The written words gets you better results in search engines than video does. Video is also much more expensive, but is easier to consume.
Whichever path you go down, always remember to include a summary or transcript which is at least four hundred words long. That way search engines can understand and index it properly.