Blogs and Words
I frequently look at other websites looking for new keywords. One site in particular interested me. It was pretty short and consisted of a bunch of quotes touting specific products. It did not appear to be 1,000 words long. But what it it did have was several dozen links arranged in no particular order. This site jumped between page one or two in google search results over the last few months. Today, it didn't appear in the top search results at all (page one or two). Is this the result of google algorithm changes? Don't know. From what I've read, something like 95% of people use only what they find on page one of google results. I do the same, though sometimes venture into page two. If I don't find what I am looking for, I run a new search.
(What defines page one of google nowadays anyway? They've got ads, "finds" and "stories".)
I have read that google likes articles at least 1,000 words long from a couple of different sources.
I am an avid photographer. When I want to buy a new piece of gear, I, of course, use the internet.
When I want to buy a new piece of gear (in this case, let's say a macro lens) I follow the following steps:
Step One: Decide on a cost range and see what's out there, looking for things in my price range. I visit the sites of a couple of companies I have been dealing with for a couple of years. From there, I pick a ccouple of lenses I am interested in (or, I look at catalogues I have received in the mail. I then decide on two or three products that suit my needs).
Step Two. I look at reviews. Typical sources of reviews are Amazon, major retailers, and sometimes the manufacturer itself. I look at negative reviews first. I also look at sites such as "The Luminous Landscape", which publishes all sorts of photography technical information.) I then look for patterns. There will always be "outliers", people who seemingly can't be pleased no matter what. I have found that people with negative reviews are more apt to publish their opinions than those with positive experiences . But if I see the same negative results across many different sites, I most likely will reject that product. I also review articles published by the photo magazines (Popular Photography, etc.). I then do the same with the positive results.
This, obviously, narrows the list of the products I am considering.
Step Three. I look at testing results. Many websites post sharpness and light transmission charts. At this point, I usually have one or two products that have made the grade.
Step Four: Budget. Base on my needs, I decide on the best product that suits my needs - budget included. (I have spent over $5,000 on a lens in the past). In this case, I decided on a 50 millimeter macro Sigma lens.
It turned out to be a great choice.
So what's my point? One thousand words is much of the time way too long for a simple product review - reviews like this are often filled with fluff that I don't care about. Check out a product catalog. Product descriptions are usually quite short and to the point (printing costs must be considered). Product charts and graphs can can provide far more useful information. Kyle is correct when he says your average cosumer will visit a site seven or so times before deciding to buy a product. I will review a site many times before comitting to a purchase (such as from a company I buy stuff from in New York).
I'd feel a heck of a lot better writing 1,000 wors on a product I can hold in my hand. I used to know a guy who ran a blog about watches.Watch manufacturers would frequently send him watches (which he got to keep) to review on his website.
So are we writing lots of words to please google or our customers? (When I was in college, I wanted to be a writer. One lesson I learned was don't use ten words when you can do the same with five.)
I have never bought a product online through an affiliate. Blog platforms (like WordPress) like to arrange things by date. This is pretty useless if you are looking for a specific product (nobody is going to sort through dozens of posts arranged by date looking for info on a specific product). I have a few ideas to work on this with my site, but they all require extra clicks, which is something to be avoided. I am trying to teach my visitors things I have learned, not just link through to sites (like Amazom) to buy things.
(If anybody knows how to arrange things in the sidebar alphabetically, please let me know - it will be appreciated).
Anyway, I'd love to hear your opinion on this.