Ah Pek asks – ‘I have started a new blog, and I will be doing a series of articles that are quite lengthy. I have divided it into a few parts. Is it advisable to post it as a regular entry with titles that says XXX Part 1 and so on or would it be better to put all the parts in a single page with a dedicated title? Which option will be better from a SEO point of view?’
Let me attempt to outline some of the advantages and disadvantages of Long Posts vs Series of Posts.
The Pros and Cons of Long Posts
As you suggest – one of the options at your disposal is to simply write one long post. The beauty of doing this is that your readers get all the information on a topic in one uninterrupted post that they don’t need to keep coming back to over time. For reader satisfaction alone a long post can be great.
The problem with long posts is that unless you’re an incredibly gifted writer – many of your readers won’t get to the end of a long post. Studies into how people read online have shown that they respond better to short sharp pieces (although I do find readers respond well when I write long pieces too).
Another problem with long comprehensive posts is that they can actually drain you of ideas that could sustain your blog for a longer period of time. For example instead of writing one long post with 30 tips in it you alternatively could have written 30 shorter posts with 1 tip in each over a full month. I’ve seen a few bloggers launch with incredibly comprehensive posts that cover almost every aspect of their niche. Those posts can do very well with readers an on sites like Digg – but the next day the blogger can often be left wondering if there’s anything on their topic left to write.
The Pros and Cons of a Series
The advantages of a series of posts include:
- more posts to sustain you over time (see the 1 post with 30 tips or 30 posts with 1 tip example above)
- more focused posts help SEO (search engines are better able to accurately assess what a post is about when they have one topic instead of many)
- interlinked posts help SEO (search engines like an interlinked website)
- frequent posting helps SEO (if you have the choice between one post a month or 30 from an SEO perspective I’d go for 30 as search engines like a frequently updated site)
- a series can build momentum (regular posts that build on one another on a daily basis can create anticipation among readers)
- a series can build page impressions (if you’re interested in monetizing a blog with CPM ads then a series can be good as reader will click from one post to the next)
- a series can help motivate a blogger write a longer piece of work (the idea of writing a 30 point post can be pretty daunting – but setting yourself the goal to write a short post each day for a month (or shorter period) can be much more achievable).
Of course the downside of a series is that some of your readers will simply prefer to read all your content in one place at one time and could become frustrated with a ‘bitsy’ series.
Another negative of a series is that it can sidetrack your whole blog. For example – stopping normal posting just to write upon one smaller aspect of your topic for a month could disillusion readers who want you to cover a wider array of topics.
Another Option – do Both
Why make it a choice between a series and a longer post? How about doing both?
One of the approaches that I’ve experimented with a number of times is running a series and then combining all the parts into one post. For example when I wrote my Search Engine Optimization tips for bloggers I wrote it as a series initially but then combined it together into one longer post which I now link to from my top menus.
I find that some readers really appreciated this.
Some might worry that this causes duplicate content problems on your blog – but I don’t think you’d be penalized for it if it was an occasional thing and if you wrote a new introduction for the post (you’d probably also delete some of the connecting introductions to each individual post which would change it too).
For more information on how I generally construct a series of posts on a blog check out 10 Steps to Writing a Successful Series on Your Blog.