A week or so ago, a client sent me a link to an article which he thought I’d find interesting. It revisits the conundrum of how long a blog post should be, which is something many marketers (this client included) struggle with as they look to maximize their opportunities.
This client likes to play devil’s advocate and challenge me, which I actually appreciate, because it’s always helpful to dig deeper and explore topics from multiple viewpoints. The post he sent through examines the results of a study, which ultimately indicate that longer posts (1,500 – 2,500 words minimum) see better ranking in online search engines, generate more engagement, and subsequently see greater ROI.
But while the general data may show that is the case, length is not the only thing you need to consider in effective blogging.
Yes, longer posts do well, but only if those additional words are also relevant.
Bigger is Not Always Better
Here's the key rule worth noting - creating content that serves your audience, and makes every word count, is the way to earn respect and win customers.
Gaming the system by writing long posts for the sake of reaching an ideal word count might facilitate favorable search engine ranking, but readers will tune out if you don’t provide quality and value.
What good is having your content found if people don’t find it interesting or useful?
Too many business owners believe that there is - or should be - an end-all-be-all success formula for blogging. But it’s not that simple. Blogging can’t be distilled down to a set of calculated tactics that will deliver certain results - instead, it has to be part of an overarching strategy, which takes more into account than a specific word-count goal or headline optimization.
Relevance = Connection
With my business blog, the only “rule” I've ever followed is to make my posts interesting, relevant and real. And that approach has served me well.
I encourage business owners not to get hung up on making their posts voluminous simply because that’s what they think Google wants to see - instead, focus on blogging in a holistic sense, as a platform for creating content which serves your audience’s needs, answers their questions, and builds trust.
Why add 500 or more words to a post when they’re not adding value? That’s pointless, and it can ultimately harm your brand’s credibility and professional reputation.
In fact, even the aforementioned post which advocates longer articles notes that long-form content does a disservice to readers if it falls short on quality:
“…blowing up a topic that you can cover in 200 words to 2,000 won’t increase the value for your audience.”
“…you need the writing skills to sustain longer blog posts and make them valuable. Otherwise, they might scare off your audience rather than draw them in.”
“…write as much as necessary to bring your point across.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The Perfect Post Length
In essence, a definitive 'perfect' blog post length simply doesn't exist. Your posts should be as long as they need to be to communicate what needs to be said.
By all means, crank out a 1,000+ word blog post if you need that many words to accurately explain the topic, and satisfy your readers’ need for information, but you should never make volume a higher priority than value.
More in-depth, informative, long-form posts can definitely help boost your authority on a certain topic, and search rank. But it's your audience your ultimately working to appeal to to, not algorithms. Keep that in mind as you go about creating content.