How Long Should My Blog Posts Be?
The ideal blog post length.
It’s like a unicorn. While some insist that it exists, no one has seen it.
While some experts claim longer posts are far better for optimizing your site’s rank in organic search results, others proclaim that shorter is sweeter. Everyone’s theory is backed by research and touted as the new aspirational standard for content. How, then, are we supposed to cut through this noise to divine the great secret of the ideal blog post length?
There is another school of thought out there, and it promises to banish word-count angst once and for all. In fact, it shows that Length has actually taken a backseat in favor of its sophisticated cousin, Quality. As blogging expert Neil Patel has stated, length “only matters if your content is good.”
Although the current trends suggest longer posts fare better, some experts nonetheless insist that search engines are ranking posts based on quality and depth of topic rather than the frequency of keywords. In other words, search engines like Google will elevate content that is constructed with the end user in mind – quality content that is clear, well-written, and relevant.
Alternatively, “keyword stuffed” articles – those that intentionally repeat certain triggering words in an attempt to rise in organic search results – have actually been demoted by search engines. Not to mention, they are excruciating to read.
Of course, your keywords matter. And so does length. But they are just a very small part of the greater whole, a bigger picture that involves components like the clarity of your writing, the effective use of images and headers, and, above all, the content's relevancy and value to your audience.
In other words, don’t panic about length. Let your new mantra be this:
Say what you need to say, and let it be clear, concise, and valuable to your audience.
Renowned copywriter Ray Edwards has said that there is no such thing as too long, but there
such a thing as too boring. People read 1,000 page novels. Clearly, if your words offer value, people will read them. But have you ever opened your Facebook feed to find a disjointed and poorly-written political diatribe? You probably won’t make it through the first few sentences, no matter how long (or short!) it is.
When I was in private practice, I wrote a 1,000-word blog post that generated several out-of-state leads, but I also published a 700-word community engagement post that gained far more attention on social media. Length is not a law, but a general guidepost. Rather than fluffing and keyword-stuffing, aim to write better posts than your competitors. If you do this, you will gain more traffic, nurture more leads, and, most importantly, establish yourself as a trustworthy voice in your industry.
Algorithms will change. Expert opinions will change. Trends will change. But when you write with your audience in mind, you can never go wrong. Trying to chase an elusive ideal will end up frustrating you, but striving to serve your client base by offering them educational content that addresses their needs is always a worthy goal. After all, you aren't here to serve a search engine: you're here to share your expertise with your audience.
And that is far more powerful than a word count.