When people think of using blog content to help rank websites, they usually tend to focus on keywords and long-tail phrases, alt tags and the like. This is great and these are significant techniques that will help your page rank. However, there are a lot of factors to consider, and one that is misunderstood and often overlooked is the length of the blog post. You’ve probably wondered what makes for the ideal blog post length, so here’s the answer.
Both Sides of the Argument
Website and blog content matters, because it helps your site rank with search engines and it enables customers and potential customers to learn more about your business. In order for your site to rank, you need to implement SEO techniques and strategies; however, SEO rules are changing all the time as search engines evolve, and it’s hard to keep up.
Not that long ago, the common practice was to keep blog posts in the range of 250 – 500 words. The prevailing thought was to keep the word count short and to the point, so readers could quickly get through the posts. More recently, blog posts tend to be longer and run over 2,000 words or even up to 4,000 words or more. The notion is the longer the post, the more opportunity to use keywords and long-tail phrases and the greater the odds of ranking a page.
Understanding Your Needs
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to determining the ideal blog post length. Each business or brand has different needs and different competition. You need a customized approach that takes all of these factors, plus a bunch of other things, into consideration. Furthermore, your needs will change over time, so your strategy needs to evolve, too.
Evaluate Your Competition
Do some searches using your keywords to get the lay of the land. You want to figure out what content is ranking for your keywords, and how you can compete with this existing content. The trend lately is moving towards longer blog posts. You want to make sure you are providing value in the form of sizable posts, but you don’t want to rely exclusively on long blog posts.
You Do You
It’s important to understand what your competition is doing, but that doesn’t mean you should mimic their strategy. It is possible to overdo it when creating content, and more does not automatically mean better. If you notice your competitors have lots of long-winded posts, but you think you can cover the same topic and keywords in a much shorter and brief fashion, then go for it. Short content is prime material for Google’s featured snippet, so in some instances, it is possible to rank while keeping it brief.
The Value of Quality Content
Search engines pay attention to how many people visit your site, but they also track how long each person stays. People will stick around for good content. Quality content that is interesting and provides value encourages people to keep reading and spend more time on your site. Quality content of any length provides value, but long-form quality content provides several perks, including:
- Most of the blog posts out there are short, so featuring long posts will help you stand out from your competition.
- Long-form blog posts establish your brand as an authority in your field. If you are able to crank out 2,000 words or more on a single topic, than that is a clear indication you know what you are talking about.
- Long blog posts are prime to receive backlinks, which will help expand your incoming traffic and can help boost your ranking.
Get to the Point
Really long articles that contain 2,000 or more words can provide lots of great information, but they may turn off some readers and cause them to leave before they reach the end of the post. Losing readers means they spend less time on your site and miss out on your call to action, which means you are losing valuable engagement. Continually posting long blog articles may earn you a reputation and can cause some readers to think twice before reading future posts.
When to Go Long
If your readers respond well to lengthy posts, then it is in your best interest to continue writing long-form posts. Positive responses include comments, likes, shares and readers taking you up on your call to action. If your long-form posts rank with search engines, that is another very compelling reason to keep at it.
Strategies to Create Quality Content at Any Length
It’s important to find a balance between engagement and length. You don’t want to sacrifice compelling content for length, but you can rein in the length using some simple techniques:
- Streamline long articles using clear and succinct language.
- Use bullet points to quickly and easily list information.
- Use graphs, charts, infographics, video and other forms of media to relay information.
- Break large topics into a series of several smaller articles. The benefit here is twofold: readers will be more likely to get through content in manageable serving sizes, and you can add a bunch of links to connect each post in the series.
Effective Strategy to Determine Ideal Blog Post Length
The total word count of a blog post matters to a degree, but ultimately, posts need to answer questions and provide useful information to both readers and search engine algorithms. The most recent trend is to write longer posts anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 words. If you are just starting out and you need to establish content on your site, long-form posts will stay on trend and help you establish a presence. Although, long posts are not always necessary, so mixing things up with shorter posts will also be beneficial.
Long blog posts take more time to write and edit. When committing to featuring long-form blog posts, give yourself plenty of time to do it right. Do you have questions about how to figure out the ideal blog post length? Do you need help creating your content? Reach out and I’ll help you navigate your way! Later this week, I’m going to explain how often you should post to your blog. Stay tuned to learn more!