When it comes to writing blog content, you want to be mindful of your word count.
Yes – size matters.
That is, it matters if you want to improve your chances of getting seen by search engines, such as Google.
Ranking higher in Google searches means you better your chances of more people finding you and doing business with you.
While there is no cookie cutter, one-size-fits all length for every business owner who is creating blog content, there are some guidelines that generally apply.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding how long your blog posts should be…
Your blog needs to be at least 300 words long
This one is non-negotiable.
In order for Google to even acknowledge your content, your blog post needs to be at least 300 words long.
300 words is a minimum requirement, but if you’re just starting out with business blogging, it’s an easy target to shoot for.
Dwell time matters… a lot
In the Dark Ages of the Internet (like… pre-2010) all you needed to do in order to rank high in a Google search was write 300 words, and pack your blog post with as many key words and back links as possible.
Those days are dead and gone.
Nowadays (welcome to the future), Google is way more intelligent.
You can’t just trick people into clicking on your blog anymore.
You have to provide value.
If your content is not worthwhile – even if you write 3,000 words – people are going to quickly click away.
And Google and other search engines are going to notice this, and decide you don’t deserve to rank high in searches.
“The content HAS to be good,” says Franco Valentino of Narrative SEO. “I advocate the IDEA framework: Industry leading, Data driven, Educational, and Amusing. It’s the right thing to do.”
In other words, don’t try to hack Google. Instead, hack your audience.
You will get better SEO writing blogs that are over 1,000 words long
That said, you will likely rank higher in search engine searches if you write blog posts that are around 1,000 words long.
On a practical level, Google and other search engines acknowledge longer posts as they present more key words and phrases, and with greater frequency.
They also boast longer dwell times.
Google really loves blog articles that run around 2,500 words
If you really want to appease Google, you’ll write even longer, and more in-depth blog posts.
Google prefers posts that run around 2,500 to 3,000 words, but before you get any ideas posting a lot of long-winded fluff pieces, I remind you that providing value with an interest in increasing dwell time is most important.
Consider your ROI (Return On Investment)
On a more practical level, consider how much of an investment would be required in order to create longer blog posts.
Long, 2,500 word posts that are consistently high quality throughout and offer tons of value, are harder to write.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be ruthless with how you spend your resources. Longer posts require more investment – they take more time, energy, focus, and money to create.
So, if you go to great lengths to create monster-long posts and are only getting marginally better results than when you invest a whole lot less in shorter, 1,000 word posts, you might realize that you’d get better return on your investment (ROI) with the shorter posts.
Consider your post frequency
As business owners, our resources are finite.
When you’re investing a lot into the production of your blog posts, you might discover that you’ll need to publish blog posts less often.
If this sounds like you, the question now becomes, “Is it better to post longer posts and post less often, or is it better to publish shorter posts more often?”
I personally lean more towards the school of thought where it’s better to publish shorter, and publish more often.
Publishing about once a week is good amount – it keeps you engaged with your audience without overwhelming them.
So, aim to produce a 1,000 word blog post once a week.
If you want to reap the benefits of publishing longer posts, you can throw in a monster 2,500-3,000 word post once in a while. Then, you can benefit from the best of all worlds.
Audiences tend to like posts that are around 1,600 words long
Statistically, people would rather read posts that are about 1,600 words long, which translates to about a 7-minute dwell time (BufferApp).
This is important because while Google likes the longer 2,500 word posts, that doesn’t mean people like reading them.
So, keeping their attention for 2,500 words or more is especially challenging.
Although, it’s worth noting that this might vary from audience to audience – some audiences might prefer longer, in-depth articles.
Bottom line, it’s crucial for you to know who your audience is and what they prefer.
If you’re going to write long posts, make them awesome and easy to read
All killer, no filler.
Write in short paragraphs, so that there is lot of white space in your blog space.
Include attractive graphics.
Break things up with headings and subheadings.
Be creative and conversational in your writing style, so it feels like you’re just having a casual talk with your target audience.
Know your audience, and speak to them in a voice that resonates well with them while maintaining your professionalism.
Blog length is an important consideration when you are creating content, but it doesn’t outweigh the importance of providing value to your audience. Your blog posts should run at least 300 words if they are to be acknowledged by Google, and even have a chance at ranking in searches. A blog post that is 1,000 words long will have a better chance of being picked up by search engines, but will need to provide high value, because dwell time is key. Longer posts that are 2,500 to 3,000 words long are highly ranked by Google, but these can be difficult to create at consistently high quality, so it is important for entrepreneurs to gage their return on investment and how writing longer posts affects their ability to post more frequently. Keep in mind that most audiences would rather read posts that are about 1,600 words long, and will only stick around if you are providing tons of value. You can make longer posts more readable by breaking up your paragraphs, and including lots of headings and subheadings, as well as incorporating images.