When a Blog Ceases to be a Blog

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As a blogger for our Beanstalk’s website, I spend a lot of time perusing other site’s blogs to keep current with industry happenings and to further my knowledge of SEO techniques. I have seen a growing trend in the wake of the Google Panda algorithm update where blogs are becoming increasingly longer and more verbose.

The Panda update from Google has challenged us all to ensure that we are producing unique and quality content on our websites and marketing materials. The importance and necessity of providing rich content both for rankings and to our readers cannot be understated. One could look at this paradigm shift and rationalize that more is better, and that churning out even more content is even better…right? On one hand you are providing your readers with great content and appeasing the Panda, but at what point does a blog cease to be a blog?

So the question is: How we define a “"blog?" and when does a blog become an article?

Long Paragraph

This is the definition of a blog as defined by Wikipedia:

"Most blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries.

A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual…"

It seems that many bloggers are losing sight of what a blog is and what it should be used for (something this writer is at fault for as well). A blog is a place where people can go to browse the headlines making news and grab the most pertinent details while sipping their morning coffee. They are able to interact with others and to distribute and share the story with others. Think of the front page on your local newspaper. Most people just want a quick headline and a few basic facts about the story. If we want more information, it should be no more than a click away.

Any article that is over 1000 words is probably not getting read and accounts for a large percentage of TLDRs in blog comments. Even if the content is awesome and provides some really great information, in our attention-span deprived world, this no longer serves the reader, but is only seeking to appease the mighty Panda.

Recent posts I have come across have been generating increasingly bloated posts ever since the release of the Panda. Some that I have come across are over 2500 words long with no less than 7 images! This is where I feel the definition of ‘what a blog post is’ breaks down. This should be an article; not a blog post. Articles are much better utilized for in depth analysis or topics that cannot be covered in a short blog post. People who are prepared to read an article have set their expectations, knowing that it will be a longer read and more intellectually intensive.

While to some this may seem like splitting hairs or bickering over semantics, I want to reiterate the fact that you are losing your readers by weighing them down with too much information where they do not want it. I appreciate that it is a difficult balance to appease the Panda and your readers, but ultimately your readers are who you should be writing for; not for your rankings. Keep your writing your great content and wowing us with your wonderful infographics, but write them as articles and not as blog posts.

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