The Three Types of Blog Posts – Show Horses, Draft Horses, and Kibble..

From an SEO perspective, there are only three types of blog posts. The secret to generating content at a productive rate is to always be aware of which one you are writing..

Here’s how I break up my posts:

  • Show Horses – The good stuff! Content that you want shared on social media and that you eagerly hope will generate quality backlinks. A Show Horse post requires a good concept and high quality writing. The topic should be something with broad interest to the Linkerati (SEO, building websites, running a business) and requires a certain amount of “polish” to really make them fly…
  • Work Horses – Covers a niche topic in reasonable depth, may be part of a larger string of related posts. These are generally SEO focused – oriented towards a specific set of keywords and/or containing well-crafted links to a second site. Expected to attract a modest amount of highly focused traffic (eg. tell me how to install library XYZ in python) who is a potential buying audience for affiliate items. Requires average writing and less polish than a show horse. Frequently ranks on their own pretty quickly but won’t attract much traffic – might attract some respect and/or links from insiders in your space if well written.
  • Kibble – Lowest quality posts, written to let Googlebot know that you’re still alive. Often a good source of “house links” with targeted anchor text within your site and to related properties. Since this site is about word game solvers and word games, we have several options for cranking this stuff out. New word game features and upgrades are a good source of kibble (like when we released our hanging with friends cheat and scramble cheat). This stuff can be generated using a template (at least at the conceptual level) so you can create it efficiently. This is the blog equivalent of a DJ playing a long song while they take a break.

Each of these requires a different level of investment to succeed:

  • Show Horse content frequently requires a couple of days to really optimize; this is where getting external perspective from a designer or SEO consultant can help. It should also be less than 10% – 20% of your total content – you generally don’t get more than 1 – 2 true Show Horse ideas per month.
  • Work Horse content will require more subject matter expertise than Show Horse content, since you’re generally going deeper on a topic and establishing authority. Since these posts will be generating search engine referals you should take steps to control your bounce rate. Avoid thin content and make sure the article contains enough related links to deter visitors from quickly returning to the seach index. On a similar note, invest the time to make sure the technical quality of this work is solid. On the positive side, it will (or should be) evergreen content which you will derive value from for many years.  I’ve found I can generally crank out a quality Work Horse article in about 2 – 3 hours. Bonus Tip: Recycle your old presentations into Work Horse articles; you’ve already done about 80% of the required work.
  • Finally, be ruthless in reducing the amount of time required to generate Kibble. The best Kibble is generated as a byproduct of your regular business activities.  My favorite source of kibble for this site is doing short (300 word) announcements after we release a new word game solver (for example, when we launched our words with friends helper) or tweak a feature. This usually can be cranked out in under 10 minutes. The other great source I’ve seen is data from software testing and usage reporting. I’ve taken output from a couple of the test programs behind the word game solver (here’s an example) and reformatted it into reference posts, doling it out 300 – 500 words at a time. Some of this stuff even ranks!

Know what you are trying to deliver – and invest accordingly..

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