Here it is Saturday, and I’m not motivated by any news out there, so how do I fill space? I know! I’ll put up a bunch of stuff you already know in listicle format so it seems catchy and new. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, a “listicle” is exactly what it sounds like: a list with just enough words around it to make it look like an article instead of a complete waste of time. Bonus points if you’ve done a slideshow for additional pageviews. And to make sure I have good SEO I need to have the keyword “listicle” at the beginning of my title and the title in my first paragraph, so here is a listicle about the top 5 reasons the listicle needs to go away:
I haven’t lost my marbles- this post is an experiment. It’s written in a manner that satisfies every Google SEO requirement I can find. I’d have put this at the top but it would have ruined the SEO I’m working so hard to achieve.
Here’s where I insert a headline with the focus keyword listicle for no other reason than it improves SEO
5. There just aren’t 12 reasons to visit the Holiday Inn Express in Topeka. There isn’t a reason to review it in the first place when TripAdvisor does the trick 90% of the time. Even if there’s a compelling reason to stay (or not stay) at a 3 star hotel, I guarantee you a list including items like “outdoor pool” and “waffle maker” is testing your readers’ patience.
4. Just because you CAN write 800 words doesn’t mean you SHOULD. This one is a beef with Google. Google search ranks posts with more than 800 words higher than posts with less because it considers them higher “quality”. I guess diarrhea of the mouth is coveted by Google. All normal editing rules get thrown out the window if you want good SEO. I prefer writing shorter posts with a valuable tidbit or two but get more traction by tossing them all in a salad with listicle dressing.
3. Listicles are prime candidates for clickbait headlines. How many “you won’t BELIEVE #3!” will your readers tolerate before you lose all credibility? If my Facebook feed is any indication, quite a few! But that doesn’t make it right. I WILL believe #3 because it’s just as inane as the rest. Please. Stop.
2. Listicles are lazy writing. I know bloggers are supposed to have editorial calendars, but if you truly aren’t inspired to say anything, why are you at your keyboard? Get out into the world and do something worth writing about! Your readers will appreciate one good post more than two crap ones. Ditto for splitting up what should be one post into a series of listicles just to get more content. How many parts can a weekend trip report have? I’ve seen some with more than 20! Organize your thoughts, tell a story, then wrap it up!
1. Readers are smarter than SEO gives them credit. Really. They are. Are YOU so vacuous that the transparent tricks in this listicle post (like having the word “listicle” 10 times in 800 words) make for enjoyable reading? I’m hopeful that you’re not because I just used the term “vacuous” and if you are that transparent you have no idea what “vacuous”means.
But here’s the thing: in the short term listicles work. Some readers apparently want to know the rankings of bathrooms in Rapid City. If no one clicked, the listicle would go away faster than Gangham Style. Remember Psy? Wonder whatever happened to him…
Readers, I implore you to stop reading listicles that are insulting your intelligence. Every once in a while a list makes sense but the format is now so overplayed it’s impossible to know the difference. Ditto for obviously clickbait headlines, meaningless hotel reviews and 800 words where 200 would suffice. Posts like that are written just to satisfy SEO, but in actuality they fill space and waste time.
I sat through an entire hour a few months ago with “experts” who instructed me to write in exactly the manner this post is written. Google only creates rankings out of what the company thinks readers want. If readers demand more fulfilling content, than Google will rank it accordingly- word counts or other tricks be darned.
Finally, I made it! I can end this post now, because I’ve hit 800 words and this post has every SEO greenlight. Because we all know great SEO makes great reading. Thanks, Google. (Outbound link to website with high authority, check.)
Any blogging memes annoy you? Please share in the comments (and yes, I know asking stupid questions at the end of every post to increase engagement is one of the “top blogging tips” but I’m genuinely curious).
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