The line between blog and article writing used to be clear. A blog was short and pointed while an article was long and meaty. As audiences demand more informative, higher quality content, the elements of a blog vs. article have grown similar.
The need for quality has overtaken previously held to SEO techniques. In fact, long-form blog posts that mimic traditional article writing are growing more popular by the day. Blogging is, in a sense, infringing on the territory of article writing as copy reaches 2,000, 3,000, and even 4,000+ words in length.
How do online copywriters distinguish between blog and article writing? The more important question may be, should we?
A Look at Blog and Article Writing
Traditionally, blog posts are categorized as different from articles. In the world of online publishing, the territories occupied by these two writing types looked something like this:
Before search engine optimization or SEO began to evolve, articles were often static web pages used to build authority while blog posts were part of an ongoing, developing, and opinionated discussion. The blog vs. article difference is now not so clear. Readers crave meaty, in-depth, and factual content, and they look for it in blogs.
SEO and Writing Style Changes
For years SEO was about manipulating your placement or visibility via the categorization and sorting algorithms of search engines. The mechanical nature of algorithms resulted in atrocious content stuffed with keywords and void of relevant, reader-friendly information. Most click-throughs were a frustrating waste of time. If you used the Internet during the late 90s and early 2000s, you could likely share a story or two about the dawn of inaccurate clickbait and mechanical copy.
Today’s SEO is dramatically different. It’s causing an ongoing shift in digital copywriting standards.
Google is the most popular search engine. It’s the pacesetter in search engine optimization standards, and its algorithms have come a long way. Google promotes high-quality, relevant, informative, and engaging content with three major placement-determining algorithms:
- Panda: First released in February 2011, the Panda algorithm decreases the ranking of “low-quality” or “thin” sites. After numerous updates, it hit version 4.1 in 2014. In its simplest terms, Panda kills ranking for websites guilty of plagiarism and copyright infringement. It eats duplicate content for breakfast, decreasing the visibility of sites that serve it.
- Hummingbird: Perhaps my favorite algorithm, Hummingbird redefines search engine ranking and SEO. Much like the speed and accuracy of its real-life counterpart, this algorithm takes search engine query to a new level. It ends the practice of keyword stuffing and paves the way for natural, human-centered writing. It’s smart enough to extrapolate intent and present relevant and synonymous search results. Asher Elran published a terrific overview of Hummingbird via KISSmetrics if you’d like to learn more.
- Penguin: According to Wikipedia, Penguin was first announced on April 24, 2012. The algorithm decreases the ranking of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. It spelled the beginning of the end for black hat SEO, which likewise began weeding out sites oozing with low-quality content.
Each algorithm created by Google is a thread in a tapestry. The search engine giant is on a mission to deliver the best possible search experience to the end user, which means pointing them to great content. As a result, the quality of every website’s copy is now a crucial optimization factor.
Wanted: High-Quality, Long-Form Copy
Black hat SEO and outdated tactics created a monsoon of mediocre material and plain lousy content that inundates the Internet. The need for high-quality content has never been higher, and two tools at your disposal for creating it are blogs and articles.
As global audiences demand meatier content, the traditional blog post evolves.
No longer are blogs limited to short-form and opinionated writing. The most successful blogs, in terms of audience appeal and SEO, are long-form. Many are publishing posts of 2,000 to 2,500+ words. In essence, article writing elements are seeping into blog writing. Blog posts of 1,000 to 2,500 words — complete with meaty, factual information and engagement factor — are wildly successful. But that’s not to say short-form writing is out.
According to Forbes, shorter posts of around 200 words are still “perfectly acceptable if your blog has been created to sell a product [or] service.” Short posts are useful for readers with short attention spans or limited time.
Keep in mind that a growing number of readers and potential customers are seeking meatier material. They want engaging, fact-based, and informative content — the kind that assists them in arriving at their own opinions and conclusions.
The Truth About Blog vs. Article Writing
As we head into 2015, one crucial element must be kept in focus when writing a blog or an article: quality.
Blogs are becoming a more structured form of writing. They are looked to as an indicator of authority and a marker of expertise. High-quality blog writing that uses elements of traditional article writing can build a reputation – a good one!
What exactly is high-quality content? What factors contribute to it? Find out by reading 10 Elements of High-Quality Content.