One question a lot of SEOs are often asked by clients looking to effectively leverage a business blog is: “how long should a blog post be?”
Of course, there is no short answer (and thus, no short blog post in this instance), but there are some good pointers that could act as a guide for writing blog posts for business. In this post, I’ve looked at the different factors that you need to consider before you can understand how long a blog post should be.
It’s Quality, Not Quantity
Before you think of anything else, it’s important to remember that blog posts are all about quality and not filler. This has never been truer than it is today, in an age of SEO where low value, purposeless content is useless at best and detrimental at worst.
For this reason, before you even start planning a blog post, the questions you should ask yourself include:
- Who am I writing for?
- What value am I providing the reader?
- What question/s am I answering or solutions am I providing?
- What do I want my readers to do after reading my post? What are the goals?
- When you start asking these sorts of questions, you should start to realise that the length of your blog post is almost not relevant.
Blog Post Length Should Be Driven By Your Goals
When you really break down your blog post, you should be considering the actual goal or goals of the post. This will then help to almost dictate the necessary or appropriate length of your post.
For example, if you’re looking to provide readers with an answer to a simple question, where the answer itself is simple and non-complex, a shorter post is naturally more appropriate. While it is always worth going into a little more depth than a question and a short answer, you will likely not need hundreds of words.
In contrast, if your post is designed to act as a comprehensive resource on a subject or query, you will naturally need to explore it in more depth. In this instance, you may find your blog exceeds 1,000 words or even more.
For more information on goals check out our video below, or this post from @John_Waghorn: What’s Your Content Marketing Goal? Find Out Your Ideal Metric
So, What Is The Minimum Length Of A Blog Post?
In terms of a minimum word count, there is no hard-and-fast rule that can always be applied. However, if you cannot write around 300-500 words on a subject for a blog post, you have to consider whether the post will have any stand-alone value to users. Usually in this case, the reader would be better off with a post of that sort of length that provides them with at least what they’re looking to read or learn, and some unique embellishment or commentary to give context to the post.
In addition, it’s important to remember that although blog posts should be always primarily written for your audience, there are also search engines to consider to some extent. Useful, well-maintained blogs are a great way to show search engines that you provide a great user experience, and also give further context of what your business is all about, so unnaturally short blog posts will do you no favours in this regard.
The Google In-Depth Articles Update
In August 2013, Google announced the introduction of In-Depth Articles; their answer to providing better results to users who it felt were looking for a more comprehensive resource based on their search query.
In order for your blog post or resource to be eligible to show in this section, there are a number of technical factors to consider in addition to providing a great, in-depth piece of content, including Schema Article markup and pagination markup. This is all about making it clear to Google that you are providing an in-depth resource and making it easy for the crawler to navigate and interpret.
Great Posts Make A Great Blog
The key to creating a great blog with a solid readership is to create carefully constructed posts that set out to meet a specific user need; whether it’s to answer a question, provide a resource or even simply entertain.
If you can create great content that your audience enjoys reading, sharing and engaging with, the length of your post almost doesn’t matter. Just make sure you’re not “churning out” thin, low-quality content that doesn’t add value to users, and be strategic with the posts you put out.
So in summary, here are some key takeaways to keep in mind when writing your blog posts:
- Keep your audience in mind, write quality, engaging content and don’t let word count or post length drive your posts
- That said, try to ensure your posts are a minimum of around 300-500 words so that there is enough content to add value both to readers and for search engines
- Set clear goals to make sure you’re getting the best out of your content, and make it easy for readers to take any action you’re encouraging them to take
- Don’t be afraid to create long, comprehensive resources if it’s necessary and appropriate
- Consider Schema Article markup and pagination code to make it easy for search engines to navigate your content
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