30-day blog article challenge results
5 Minutes, 48 Seconds
Written By John Marx
Over the past 30-days, I challenged myself to write some very short (500-1,000 words or less) blog articles. This goes against many that say you should make your articles from 2,000-3,000 words for optimal search engine optimization. This 30-blog article exercise had a challenge and two hidden objectives that I didn’t tell anyone. The challenge was the topics were chosen by others and randomly selected by one of our computer programs. The second was what would happen search engine optimization wise writing 30 blog articles in 30-days. The final and third reason was to stress test some blog functionality being we now have several influencers in multiple industries using our blogging system specifically for increased SEO. Let’s take a look at what happened, what worked, what was improved, and talk about a few gems that were not expected during this entire process.
30-blog articles in 30-days
Many may not realize but I wake up every day at 4am (well this you probably know if you’ve read some of my blog articles). I write ten articles per week and typically only post one or two of them. This made the challenge not as much of a challenge as one might think. I did find it challenging though. Some days I read the subject and thought “really you want me to write about that?”. I did though and am happy I did.
I did cheat though. I kept the same blog image format for every day in the 30-day challenge. I only changed the background and the text. I kept the text on the image from one to three words (mostly). This allowed me to focus on the challenge and not spend 5-10 minutes (or more) looking for an image related to the subject. This actually had a side effect I wasn’t counting on (this isn’t the surprise though).
An intentional item on the 30-articles was that I would not add a call-to-action to any of them beyond just writing the article. I wanted them to be as short, sweet, and to the point as possible.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results
Our SEO results searching for the same words has gone up compared to where it was 30-days ago. I made certain beyond the new articles no changes happened to the website to keep it as consistent as possible. The results were for both locations I mentioned as well as areas we wanted to grow but didn’t talk about (this was a surprise).
Core SEO numbers that I found the most interesting:
- 40.9% increase in number of visitors to the site
- 43.1% increase in the number of sessions
- 3.9% drop in the overall bounce rate
- 40.4% increase in the time people were on the site
- Mobile visitors went up 6.3%, tablets went up 1.4%, and desktop users went down 7.7%
- Our conversion goal through our sales funnel increased 34.14%
- This is set as reading blogs, going through a certain set of pages, performing specific actions, and spending a certain amount of time on the site.
Blog system results
Overall our system went through several enhancements to make data entry a bit easier. These changes were:
- Saving now gives a reading and speaking time, shows the image that is related to the blog and a link to preview the article.
- Our tagging system changed from being checkboxes to type and go which sped up data entry as well as eliminated accidental duplicate tags.
- I write in Microsoft Word and the new “Paste from Microsoft Word” is truly awesome. Before the HTML wasn’t condensed, left some Word remnants and now is minified and a lot cleaner HTML5 code.
- The editor was made larger so that on the desktop (or mobile – I hated on mobile but I like full-size keyboards).
- We fully incorporated the latest Google recommended best practices and went form 9 out of 10 for our core system for SEO to a solid 10 out of 10.
When we submitted we sent to Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and manually submitted to the search engines. Organically (search engines) performed the best for the lead source and then from Facebook. Twitter was actually the lowest when it came to new users.
Surprises in the results
We had several surprises in our results that were not expected:
- Our readers went up by 400%
- The time people spent on the site doubled
- The number of pages that people went to more than doubled
- We added two clients during the challenge (usually one every other month) from our blog articles
- The location of readers is mainly in the Western and Southern states and not around our Northwest Indiana / Valparaiso Indiana location
- Posting every blog article also on LinkedIn made my viewership drop. I changed this after the first week and found that twice a week worked to get the largest number of readers.
- Our “About Us” section was the second highest increase in new pages being read
- Although everything was up when you take that information out we spent some time doing some data mining of over 300 blog articles. Writing two articles a month makes for some great SEO results while weekly gets the search engines more excited to come back to your site.
- Twitter brought in the lowest leads but we added over 20 new Twitter followers each week which was a 50% increase.
- With LinkedIn writing on their platform (which is what we did) performed better than writing a link externally (what we normally do)
- I use Grammarly as I write and I have to be getting better as my “grammar errors” dropped by 8% compared to the month before based on the emails Grammarly sends.
- Agile marketing, not regular marketing, was the most read article. I wasn’t expecting that but glad it was being that is the type of marketing we do.
- Our most read article (Agile marketing) was most read by those on the West coast.
Writing articles that are shorter tend to help our SEO better than those that are longer. We always saw keeping articles around 1,000 words performed the best across our 50+ industries we are in. Clients have also stated they appreciate short and sweet compared to longer. Always listen to your customers!
Consistency greatly helps achieve results. Writing articles daily is truly “insane” and not for the light-hearted. Writing once per week and the team writing once per week is still what we are going to aim for as this is what are data mining shows as the best rate for us and our national push. Based on our data mining this is also the perfect number for us to hit.
Having time set aside was key to the success of this challenge. I know I could easily do the challenge for any length that I need to. Being disciplined and having a list of topics also helped as coming up with 30 topics would have been as much of a challenge.
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