350, 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000… all of these numbers have been thrown at us when it comes to creating blog content. Some sources say shorter blogs are better because your audience doesn’t have time to read. Other sources say longer blogs are ideal because they build credibility, authority and SERPs. Finally, there are still more sources that claim shorter is better because it does everything a long blog does in a short, sweet package. So, which is it?
OK, so lately I’ve seen “shorter is better” circulating around on the Internet. While we DO have only 33 seconds to grab attention on a home page, a long-form blog over 2,000 words will actually get you noticed in search engine rankings. If you have a really good, poignant message in 100 words, but Google never ranks it—good luck Charley! Getting found is most important, and you can’t get found with a blog less than 500 words.
Since Google dropped the Hummingbird patch, there’s been a new secret ingredient to getting noticed on the Internet: longer content equals higher rankings. Google indicated that content totaling 2,000 words versus 500 or less will rank higher on search engines. We here at Express Writers were skeptical at first. After all, up until this tidbit of information was released the rule of thumb was “less is more.”
We conducted our own case study in an effort to test this new secret ingredient out. We switched from writing 300 to 600 word blogs to publishing 1,500 to 2,000 word blogs. We made the switch in mid-November 2013. We posted our new lengthier blogs daily. Each post included at least one, sometimes two, stock images. We followed our usual search engine optimization techniques and shared each post socially. By mid-December 2013, we watched in excitement as our rankings took a huge leap upwards! Before switching to lengthier blogs, we had 7 keywords in the top 3 rankings on Goggle. After switching, we had 35 top keywords in the top 3 rankings on Google!
So, is shorter content better for blogging? Based on our study, we say this belief is a myth.
When it comes to content length, we receive tons of input from all sorts of sources. Unfortunately, some of what we hear may sound great, but is really a myth waiting to be debunked. Let’s consider three:
QuickSprout.com published an article about long copy effects on rankings and the truths of content. They covered three truths that are inescapable when it comes to blog content:
Lengthy content is also on the rise due to a notable change in user search engine queries. According to Hitwise, 8-word search queries have increased in use by 34,000 percent. People are far less likely to enter a keyword of 2 to 3 words into a search engine query. More and more users are using long tail keywords, or keywords that are anywhere from 4 to 8 words in length. The longer your content is, the more words you use and the more likely you are to rank when a person uses a long tail keyword.
Over the years, we have been conditioned to think that less is more and shorter ads sell more. While this might well have been true twenty years ago, today we live in a customer driven time where the customer’s want for knowledge outweighs our want to keep things short, sweet and simple.
BusinessInsider.com published an article covering just why short copy doesn’t sell more. They gave five “most common” reasons to support the notion that shorter blog content sells more; let’s take a look at how easy it is to debunk these five anti-truths:
While these five reasons could be used to support the argument that shorter content is better, they can just as easily be used to show how people are willing and eager to read longer, meatier content. The truth is people want quality. They want to know what’s in it for them. They want solutions to the problems they face today. And they aren’t afraid to tackle some moderate reading if it will benefit them.
So, is shorter better for blog content? Based on what readers and research are saying, no. This is a myth, not a truth. Your audience is interested in lengthier content, and lengthier content will get you noticed in all the right ways. A 1,500 to 2,000 word blog is more of a challenge to create, but it’s worth every ounce of blood and sweat. It’ll get your noticed, build your credibility, reflect your authority and accomplish the ultimate business goal: increasing sales conversions.