Ah, the age-old question: how long should a blog post be? As the popularity of blogging nears its 30th-ish anniversary, you’d think we would have settled on an answer by now. The trouble is, the answer keeps changing as trends in online content whiz by us without a thought to due-process.
But the results—at least for now—do appear to be in.
Longer posts are the way of the industry.
Trends In Blog Post Length
As SEO best practices evolve, so does the state of online content. It used to be enough to merely blog consistently. But now the online sphere is a much more crowded space as everyone and their dog produces content (obviously). To be heard over the noise of weekly, even daily blog posts, companies are turning towards a new strategy: publishing longer content less frequently but promoting it much more aggressively.
As the Orbit Media Studios’s recent study revealed, the average length of blog posts is increasing, tipping more and more in the favor of longer form content. Currently, the average length of a blog post is about 1,050 words. This trend favoring longer blog posts is, in part, due to the belief that a longer length is reflective of higher-quality content.
But our story does not end here. Longer does not always mean better. To determine the best length for your blog post, we need to think more narrowly and strategically. The length of your blog posts come down to your audience and your content goals.
Your Audience, Your Goals
There are numerous possible priorities when creating and publishing online content. But the HubSpot State of Inbound survey of 2016 compiled the tippy-top priorities and goals across thousands of businesses.
- Grow SEO/organic search presence
- Actual creation of blog content
- Blog post distribution/amplification
- Long-form blog content (i.e. longer posts, white papers, and ebooks)
- Multimedia blog content
- Converting contacts/leads to customers
Depending on your industry and your product or service, your audience will be looking for different types of content—from the depth of research to the format of the content itself. Your audience—what they are looking for and how—will determine how long a typical blog post should be for you.
Here at Verblio (formerly BlogMutt), we understand that the length of your content will depend on your audience and goals. That’s why we’ve allowed for different content strategies through our content length categories.
Your Blog Post Length & What It Means
To guide our customers, we’ve divided content plans into 4 length categories:
- The 250+ word blog
- The 600+ word blog
- The 900+ word blog
- And the 1200+ word blog
Each post length helps you meet certain content goals.
250+ & 600+ Words: Easier to Produce, Easier to Read
Our shorter blog lengths are encompassed by the 250+ word and 600+ word levels. At these shorter lengths, blog posts are generally easier and faster to produce. This allows companies to publish frequently with less of a time investment. The frequency of blogging is important and can make an especially significant impact to businesses in less competitive industries that haven’t quite embraced the digital age. These shorter posts answer the ‘actual creation of blog content’ priority and can help fill a new website quickly and even create an opportunity to gain a competitive edge in industries where online content creation is not yet a priority.
Blog posts in the 250+ word range can be thought of as micro-blogging—easier and faster to produce, but don’t pack a strong SEO punch. However, posts on the shorter side tend to be highly skimmable. Having quick, easy reads may be important if your target audience for that content is early on in the buyer’s journey. These readers are looking for small nuggets of information and less interested in in-depth, researched thought pieces.
Keep in mind, however, that the shorter your content, the harder it will be to reap SEO benefits. A 600-word post will offer the minimum of SEO benefit. This length can be great for companies that have recently committed to a blogging strategy. These posts are short enough to produce consistently, but unlike shorter lengths, they can start making an SEO impact and stay competitive in the space. If produced frequently enough, the 600-word post can begin carving an online reputation for your company.
But if the SEO game is your top priority, it’s time to consider longer content.
900+ & 1200+ Words: SEO Heavyweights & Thought Leadership
It’s at our 900+ and 1200+ word levels that you’ll really start seeing the SEO impact of content marketing. As mentioned earlier, the trend favoring longer content is crucially related to the SEO benefits that longer blog posts enjoy over shorter pieces. According to Kevin Espiritu of serpIQ, longer content ranks higher more frequently on Google. But why are organic search rankings so tied to long form content?
- Longer pieces can utilize keyword phrases more frequently and more naturally. Since there’s more room, blog posts can emphasize the keyword in several, unique iterations and phrasal synonyms. This is less possible at shorter lengths since the post will become over-stuffed with keywords quite quickly and compromise readability.
- Auto-generated content is more difficult for a bot to produce in longer pieces. Google penalizes auto-generated material. Thus, longer content gets an SEO boost since its in-depth approach makes it less likely to be auto-generated.
- Also, these pieces tend to have more quality outbound links. Again, with space to explore a concept, you can reference and expand on several well-regarded resources. Brian Dean’s article on the top 200 ranking factors explores these above factors and others in depth. (See what we just did there?)
- Finally, Buzzsumo, among other sites, have shown that longer pieces get shared more frequently. This shows that longer content more effectively answers the amplification and distribution goal.
With space to explore a concept in depth, long form content gives itself to thought leadership pieces. At the 900+ word level, content producers can begin to target a more in-depth blogging strategy. Starting with this length, you have the space to be more industry specific, targeting a smaller audience further along in the funnel. If you’re looking to provide thought leadership to a specific and knowledgeable readership, you’ll need the space to take a deep-dive of research, expand on multiple reputable sources, and potentially tie this into your own company’s solution.
Finally, long form content—at 1200+ words—has the significant advantage of being a lead generation tool. While its longer format also continues improving on SEO and thought leadership potential, long form pieces allow you to create foundational sections for valuable gated content, like ebooks or white papers. These resources provide enough value for visitors to trade their information for knowledge, and eventually even give them enough confidence in your company and solution to turn from lead into customer.
Investing In the Right Content at the Right Length
So now you’re armed with all the information on how different post lengths can leverage your content strategy. But maybe some of you are still craving more direction on where to start. Well, if you’re beginning this journey and trying to make a name for your company online, consider publishing around 8 times a month (twice per week) at a 600+ word level. A plan like this one allows for efficient production of content and packs enough of an SEO punch to actually start building that domain authority.
Creating and committing to content marketing is a smart long-term strategy. Publishing consistent, quality content attracts visitors to your website, creates more educated and loyal leads and customers, and builds your reputation online. However, creating this content—especially longer, more in-depth pieces—takes time. Time that you most likely do not have.
At Verblio, we want to empower your content strategy and remove the compromise between publishing frequency and quality. Our crowd of freelance writers give you a cost-effective way to scale your content, allowing you to publish in-depth material at a consistent frequency. With over 3,000 writers, our breadth of expertise can speak to almost any industry or topic. Our platform allows you to build relationships with writers who best understand your business and content goals. These writers can aid the idea-generation process, filling up your content calendar with fresh ideas at no cost to your internal team or extra fee on our platform. We can get in-depth at our higher word levels and nail your niche with experience and location matching. We’ll also get you other forms of content to supplement your blogging strategy. And most importantly, we can free you up to focus on all the other important pieces of growing your business.
If you’re ready to learn how outsourced blog writing can help grow your business, look no further. We’ve got you covered with these 7 most frequently asked questions about outsourced blog writing.
You can also contact us if you’re ready to pick your word length and get started today.