As content marketing practitioners try to piece together the various factors that make a blog successful, one key component is blog length. Many aspects of blog writing are straightforward – articles should offer relevant content, be optimized and written with the audience in mind.
How long the blog should be is not as clear.
Some writers favor short and sweet posts, thinking that in today’s fast-paced society and especially online, people don’t want to take the time to read lengthy articles. Other writers prefer posting mid-sized 300- to 600-word articles, finding this length to be “just right” for their content and audience. Then there are bloggers who say long-form content (which could be anywhere from 800 to over 2,000 words) is the only way to go to get ranked higher on Google.
So who is right? Well, that depends.
SearchMetric’s 2014 SEO Ranking Factors and Rank Correlations study revealed that longer-form (as well as media-enriched) content can positively influence search rankings. Upon learning this, most bloggers would then assume that longer-form content is best. While it does provide some SEO benefits as discussed in this blog post, this, however, is not always the case. Why? Because in the end, it all comes down to quality.
Writing just for the sake of having a higher word count is never a good idea. An article with a lot of fluff, rather than useful information, won’t be considered quality content by Google and certainly not by your audience. Long-form content that offers in-depth information on a subject and keeps the reader interested to the very end, on the other hand, could perform very well on Google and is more likely to be shared on social media sites.
To determine what length your blog posts should be, ask yourself these three questions before putting fingers to keyboard:
What length would my audience prefer?
If you’re targeting people who are in need of quick, to-the-point answers, a lengthy post would cause them to exit out of your site and move on to another article. If you’re talking about complex instructions or explanations, readers expect complete coverage … which calls for longer content.
What length and style would allow me to get my point across and include all of the necessary information that my audience would want to know on the subject?
Sometimes, a 500-word post is all you need in order to be informative and helpful. Other times, you might have to dig deeper and use 1,000 words or more to cover a topic thoroughly. One good concept is to let content drive your word count; eliminate preconceived notions or rules about what is “always right.”
How frequently do I usually post blogs?
If you post a few times each week, longer-form content won’t seem overwhelming to you or the reader. And you’ll have more time to make sure each article contains quality information. If you’re posting often (example: daily) with quick, newsy bites, short and to-the-point does the trick.
If your target audience prefers lengthier blogs and you have enough information on a subject to write a 2,000-word blog post, then by all means, go for it. Longer posts can help boost rankings and social sharing when done well. Keep in mind, though, that shorter posts can be effective, too, especially when the subject and audience call for it.
All in all, writing in a style that allows you to create quality content for your audience is the best strategy you can follow. Be flexible and let the content drive its own length.
Twitter and Facebook: What is the perfect blog post length? The answer might surprise you.