Part of your inbound marketing strategy will, of course, involve blogging. Everyone’s does. Writing informal but informative articles for your audience is a very important piece in the jigsaw. We recently shared some of the latest B2B blogging tips, tactics and trends with you. In that piece, we briefly touched upon the subject of how long should a blog post be. And that’s something we’d like to go into a bit more detail about here.
So, how long should a blog post be?
Let’s start off by being upfront with you. We’re not going to tell you exactly how long a blog should be. There’s no cut out and keep answer here, we’re afraid (sorry about that). It all depends on the purpose of the piece, what it’s about, who it’s aimed at and lots of other factors besides. But one key early takeaway we can give you is this – from an SEO perspective, the longer the better (no laughing at the back…).
The stats show that there’s currently a real trend for longer blog posts. Every year, the average business blog grows in size. In fact, blogs are now a whopping 19% longer than this time last year. Three years ago, the average corporate blog came in at a shade over 800 words. A year later it was nearer 900. Now? It’s closer to 1,150 words per blog post. This increase makes sense. It seems that search engines are rewarding longer articles now.
Pre-2010, in a world before Google Panda, SEO-savvy bloggers weren’t too fussed by how long their blog posts were. So long as they had stuffed their blog copy full of keywords and squeezed in as many links as possible, there was a pretty good chance that their blog would rank well. But after the Panda roll out, it didn’t take long for everyone to realise that cheating was now a thing of the past. The only way to create an effective blog that search engines looked upon favourably was to publish well-written content. Great news for readers, less so for lazy marketers.
Length is often rewarded, but don’t get too bogged down with your word count. A relevant, original and interesting blog should now be your goal every time you sit down to write one. Producing a unique post that people will enjoy is much more important than hitting some arbitrary amount of words. Don’t pad out succinct writing for the sake of it. If you write something that’s 500 words and it conveys exactly what you need it to, it’s punchy and concise, leave it. Fluffing it out to hit 1,000 or 1,200 words will more than likely dilute its impact. But that’s not to say that length isn’t something worth considering.
SEO experts Yoast say that you need to be hitting at least 300 words to perform well organically. They point to some stats that prove that blog posts with a minimum of 1,000 words outperform those under 1,000 words.
Longer blogs seem, on the face of it, to be real time killers, but they needn’t be. In fact, an involved and unrushed 1,000 words of copy will naturally feature all sorts of keywords and terms, saving you the time and effort of keyword stuffing or rewording your content for SEO (at the potential expense of readability).
Worried about not having the time to write these longer pieces? Don’t be! The latest SEO research suggests that frequency of posting is less important than most people think. So, the bottom line here? It’s all about quality not quantity. Don’t bang out three blog posts a week just for the sake of it. Especially if they’re brief and not particularly well thought through. Save your time, thoughts, ideas and effort for one brilliant monthly piece of incisive thought leadership.
Always think of your audience when considering how long your blog post should be. If your analytics and research suggests that weighty pieces which take 15 minutes to read are a turn-off to your visitors, avoid them. Simple.
Sometimes it makes sense to really drill down into a subject, carry out exhaustive research and totally nail a wonderful, thought-provoking article thousands of words long. And sometimes, a blog is useful to just air a quick thought.
If you are optimisation-focussed, get your word count hitting four figures. But if you’re more relaxed about SEO and see blogging more as a communication tool, don’t get too caught up in counting every little word.