Navigating the world of online SEO marketing advice can often be frustrating. More often than not, the articles you come across can provide some pretty vague advice regarding how to improve your search engine optimisation strategy and get a better position in the search results.
But there’s nothing vaguer than the advice surrounding content marketing specifically. We know “content is king” and the foundation of any SEO strategy, but when we get to the practical side of things, it’s all a bit of a blur.
We’re told our content shouldn’t be too long, and it shouldn’t be too short. But what is “long” and “short” in terms of blog content? Is there even a frame that guarantees the success of your articles?
Unfortunately, the answer is far more complicated than we’d have liked.
Is There an Ideal Word Count for Blogs?
HubSpot recently looked into how long a piece of content should ideally be for optimal SEO results and took their own most-read content to find out some interesting facts.
First, based on an analysis of 50 of their most-read blog posts, the ideal blog post length should be between 2,100-2,400 words (the average word count of those 50 articles was 2,330 words). But, we shouldn’t give this figure much weight. Their individual blog posts lengths varied from 333 words to 5,581 words, so there is a lot of variation here.
Still, just for reference, let’s go through some of the information HubSpot found:
- 16 out of the top 50 articles were under 1,500 words;
- Ideal word count for lead generation seems to be 2,500 words;
- Pillar pages work best at around 4,000 words;
- Listicles should be around 2,300-2,600 words;
- How-to blog posts should be between 1,600 words and 2,000 words.
So, what conclusions can be drawn from this information?
It seems that the type of content in question matters a lot when it comes to the ideal word count. Pillar pages, which are also extensive forms of content where you need to go very in-depth on a subject to show off expertise work better as long form content, which makes sense when you think of it.
It’s difficult to prove you know everything about a subject in just 1,000 words, so for this particular form of content going longer seems to be better. Shorter content sometimes works, though Yoast suggests all content should be at least 300 words since anything less would likely suggest a superficial approach on a subject. Nevertheless, the concept of ideal post length seems to be non-existent.
What Do We Do with this?
If your goal is to create content to attract search engines and get a better rank, we would honestly not focus solely on how long or short the content is.
Longer content seems to rank better in search results than shorter content, but we have to take into consideration the topic at hand. In some cases, the chosen idea for a piece of content isn’t complex enough to warrant a 4,000-word article.
Instead, you’re much better off being strategic about how you create your content:
1. Performing Keyword Research
Search engines want to show their users relevant blog posts based on the keywords they type in the search bar. Keyword research is a way for you to learn about what and how your potential customers are searching for specific information, and then leverage those keywords within your own content.
It’s one of the best ways to find new blog posts ideas and a much more SEO-effective strategy than worrying about ideal blog post length.
2. Having Various Types of Content
There is no rule that your blog post should all fit into the 1,000-word category. If you base content length on the topic, and how in-depth the topic needs to be discussed, you will likely get a combination of shorter content and longer content on the same website.
Providing your customer base with a diverse selection of content could help you engage your audience better, and turn them into loyal readers.
3. Focus on Quality
High-quality content is really about a few characteristics:
Your readers need to feel like they can trust what you’re claiming in a blog post, and that trust isn’t just determined by the post length. You want to focus on researching the topic at hand, and provide your audience with useful information, and present it clearly.
The style of writing is your own, and there isn’t a golden recipe of which writing style is the best for SEO purposes, though it does need to be:
- Free of grammatical mistakes
- Concise and to the point
- With short sentences and simple words (unless you need to use industry words)
- Conversational, though even here you can have variations depending on the kind of audience you have or style you’d rather adopt.
4. Spread the Word
Longer content that leverages your targeted keyword based on strict SEO principles won’t be enough to get you in a better position in Google Search, at least not right away.
SEO is a long-term process that covers a lot more than the post length. You should also take matters into your own hands and promote the blog posts yourself to drive more traffic to your site.
The best strategy here is to share on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. If you write with your audience in mind and provide them with genuinely useful blog content, then you have the chance of being rewarded with likes, comments, and perhaps most importantly, shares.
A share on social media is valuable. For one thing, it’s a vote of confidence from your audience, who are using their own platform to spread your message, potentially reaching even more interested users. But Google and other search engines care about social links as well, since a lot of high-quality links are a sign of quality for any website.
Speaking of links…
5. Write for Other Blogs
This high-quality content we keep speaking of doesn’t have to be published on your blog only. Guest posting is another way to earn links, and showcase your brand and expertise to a new audience. This directly works to improve your SEO efforts and improve brand awareness.
If you are going to do this, it’s important to choose where you post. Search engines look for links on quality, high-authority websites as a ranking factor. Obscure blog sites that may even be insecure won’t help you reach your link building goal, so it’s a good idea to vet the site before you get in touch and strike a deal with them.
There is no ideal post length for SEO, no matter how hard we analyse all web pages in existence and run the numbers. Some articles perform extraordinarily well with 2,500 words, while others can do the same with 1,000 words or even less.
Content marketing, specifically the creation of content is not easy and in a lot of cases, the issue of whether the blog post is good for SEO or not can’t be predicted. You may go by the book and create the perfect piece of content that just doesn’t perform well, and that’s fine. Because your SEO results won’t be achieved through one post alone, but through an extensive strategy.
Do you need help with said strategy? Book a free 30-minute strategy session with a Search Engine Optimisation Expert at Australian Internet Advertising now to get started!