Blogging should be a massive part of any digital marketing strategy. The primary goal being getting more traffic to your website. So when I convince my clients to commit some time to creating content weekly I often get asked ‘how long should my blog posts be?’. So is there some magic number you should be aiming for?
My response is always that you shouldn’t focus on the blog length. What’s important is the quality of the content you are creating. If you start out writing your content for search engines you have already lost. What everyone seeks (including the search engines) is authentic, valuable information that is not only read, but is so good it’s shared. So you can imagine the disastrous effect if you are stuffing your articles with pointless filler paragraphs that make no sense or add little value just to achieve a certain word count. When your goal is to provide value for the user, the word count will naturally follow.
Search engines do love longer content
Yes, search engines do seem to rank longer content more than short content. That doesn’t mean short content can’t rank at all, but it might be a harder journey.
According to Yoast of the famous SEO plugin for WordPress, you articles should be a minimum of three hundred words. The theory is that the longer your articles, the more likely you are to repeat your topic keywords, giving Google a stronger sense of what your article is about (without having to stuff the keywords in every sentence). You’re also more likely to rank for longer terms that you discuss in your article. But don’t be too hung up on three hundred. It’s not some cut off point that Google has advertised.
So longer is better, right?
A longer article might help with keyword frequency and helping Google identify what your article is about, but it’s not the be all and end all. A lot of people don’t like to read long articles. They might hate reading, be impatient or just not have the time. If the length of your article is scaring people away, your average time on the page might drop, your bounce rate might rise, share-ability declines and rankings drop away anyway.
How to get the right balance
The balance is to always write for the user. If the content warrants being long because the user will appreciate your in depth look into a topic, do so. If the content is a light, snappy piece and doesn’t need to be padded out with waffle, do so. User attention is what ultimately drives the success of your articles, not the number of words on the page.