If you want to gain more traffic, increase your visibility in Google and ultimately increase the profitability of your website (who doesn’t) then you need to think carefully about length. Specifically, you need to think about the length of your blog posts and you need to work hard to make sure that they’re not too long, or too short but just right.
So what is just right? And why does it even matter? Read on and we’ll look at what the perfect length for a blog post is and why you need to take notice.
It’s Official: Bigger is Better
Its official: bigger is better! To have content that will rank better and that will help you to build back links and more, longer content is the way to go.
This is based on solid research which has time and again demonstrated that longer articles and posts tend to sit higher up on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). You can actually see a graph plotting this correlation exactly at this link.
Why is this? Well the same article suggests that deeper, meatier articles (called ‘long form content’) tend to get more back links. An article that is 1,000 words long gets more backlinks than one that is 500 words, but one that is 3,000 words gets even more. And actually, there doesn’t seem to be an upper limit! Longer content tends to be more comprehensive and to thus provide an ‘overview’ or detailed introduction to a subject. This then makes it a great place for people to link to if they want to teach someone about that topic.
At the same time, Google has been discussing the value of long-form content for a while now. For starters, they’re actually featuring ‘in-depth posts’ right on their SERPs which should be a fairly obvious demonstration of the fact that they encourage this kind of content.
What’s more, long, meaty posts will be more likely to have more ‘long-tail keywords’. These are the kinds of keywords that you end up ranking for accidentally – things like ‘how do I flatten my hair first thing in the morning’. That’s a really long phrase and it’s likely that everyone will search for the same thing using slightly different wording. This makes it easy to rank as number one for that content but it also means that you won’t get much traffic from it. So it’s not worth getting on purpose but if you keep writing lots of long-form content you’ll acquire more and more of these long-tail keywords without even trying. You’ll end up with people coming to your site for all kinds of different phrases.
More to Consider
Google wants people to write detailed, lengthy content that can act as a valuable resource. Remember: Google wants to deliver value to its customers just like any business. And longer content is almost inherently going to provide more value.
But simply writing long posts isn’t enough. Of course it’s just as important that your content also be accurate so that it’s actually a useful resource. This is why Google is now checking your facts. That’s right; it uses something called the ‘knowledge vault’ and compares what you’re saying to the reality. If you have a couple of mistakes in your long post then this might not be the end of the world but if the entirety of your content is just plain ‘wrong’ then you’ll be in trouble. You can read more about this here.
Google also now likes content that links out to other sites. In other words, if you refer to a study or to an authority, then Google will see this as a positive thing because it means you’re again provide extra information and extra value to your readers.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that different articles call for different lengths. While you might like the idea of writing nothing but huge articles knowing now that they tend to rank better, this would be a mistake.
One of the reasons that 500 word articles no longer cut it is that they’re overdone. There was a time when every article was 500 words (because that was the limit on eZine articles) and as such, every site had this length content every time. It got to the point where 500 words for every post just shouted ‘internet marketer’ and was serving the webmasters more than the users.
Don’t make the same mistake with lengthy content. Write long posts when you can so that you are delivering the maximum possible value to your readers. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to write a shorter post from time to time when the situation demands. BuzzFeed has proven that short content can still work and is often well-suited to social sharing.
So, know that long content is a good thing but make sure you are always serving the post and the audience first when deciding how long any article is going to be.