The complete content conundrum

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When creating written content, SEO experts all agree that we need to create complete content. Our content should offer all information relative to the topic and or the keyword(s).

But perhaps we need to keep in mind the full content conundrum, or problem.

Rand Fishkin talked about complete or comprehensive content during a Moz White Board Friday.

Rand’s points included;

  • It has to solve a problem or answer a question by providing comprehensive, accurate, exceptional information or resources. 

An example that Rand used is how an article about New York should include Brooklyn.

This effort to provide the most comprehensive information possible means we have a lot of very long information-rich content and articles posted.

This should be a good thing. But it’s not always the best.

The complete content conundrum;

  • Comprehensive or complete content is actually content that feeds Google and the other search engines information for them to offer, therefore stealing what could have been a click through to your site.
  • Complete content doesn’t build communities as well as content explicitly directed to your clients and customers.
  • Complete content can come across as too stiff and devoid of a human voice.
  • Full content can be TOO LONG and filled with stuff that doesn’t answer the searcher’s question. This situation means that your site visitors have to scroll through a lot of information that they don’t want to find the information they do want.
  • Sadly, complete content is sometimes just the same information repeated over and over or in just a slightly different way.

I’m not knocking the value that complete content offers in SEO, but remember people prefer reading posts that directly answer their question and sounds like it was written by a real, approachable, human.

Maybe it’s time to relax and just write. Mix it up a bit, I bet your readers will love it!

4 thoughts on “The complete content conundrum”

  1. Interesting thought Amanda. I tend to believe it all depends on both the type of writing one’s doing and what they’re writing about.

    For instance, if I’m writing about something I want people to learn how to do because I had to do a lot of research in different places to find the complete answer I needed, I write a step by step accounting of how to do something, without leaving anything out. It ends up being as complete as it needed to be, and sometimes it leads to an article that’s not as long as my normal posts… which is strange. lol

    As another for instance, if I’m doing my version of a list post and I’m addressing fewer than 10 points/idea/steps, etc, I don’t stick to writing only one paragraph about the item, I write as much as I feel the need to write without going totally overboard. In the cases where I addressed 31 points and 55 points I gave myself some leeway… otherwise no one would have read either article because I’d still be writing them. 😀

  2. Hi Amanda,

    Interesting points you have here. However, I agree with you in part that complete content may contain already covered information, and also that users have to just srcoll through lots of data. But you agree that Google and other search engines love complete content. They drive targeted organic traffic. That is why you hear and read about content cluster and stuff. These type of materials have lots of details to feed the reader. So the best way to create such content is to use subheading to breakup your post and also use a table of contents to direct users to the section that most appeal to them.
    For example, a few weeks ago, I submitted my work to a client. It was a 1,400-word article. But the editors pleaded with me to add a section that was meant to be there due to the content length we agreed on. But then, I decided to go them what they want and I went for 2,500-word.
    Do you know that the sections I added later were the most commented on the blog? Yes, readers use the table of contents to go directly to the section of the post that interests them the most.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • That’s so interesting Moss that your added section seemed to interest people the most. I agree that subheadings are very helpful and I’m very glad to see more and more people use indexes. At this point I think it’s mostly professional writers and some bloggers that are using indexes and I would encourage all businesses to jump onboard.
      Thanks for dropping by, Moss.

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