There are nearly as many “How to Blog” posts as there are professional content writers. An effective blog post is not concerned with word count. The average blog post length is 300-5000 plus words. There are great blog posts on every end of that spectrum.
At Valve+Meter, we encourage our writers and anyone starting to create a blog to disregard how many words you use. Instead, embrace the idea of telling a clear and concise message.
The Case for Short Blog Posts
Shorter blog posts are common for very specific answers like frequently asked questions (FAQs), news updates, quick tips, lists, quotes, opinion pieces, personal stories, and public service announcements. Short form content must be exact so your ideal audience finds the value of your blog. Writers posts can create a lasting impression and help build your credibility.
Why Create a Longer Post for a Simple Question?
Not all blog posts are written for human audiences. Many websites focus on Google and other search engines as the primary target. While that may sound a bit cynical, most organic traffic to websites discover blog posts through search engines. Longer posts can include keywords that help search engine crawlers. When searching for specific ideas, answers, or inspiration users enter terms and queries into search engines.
Shorter posts often do not appear in search engine results because the algorithm finds other sources with more authority and credibility. When you write longer content you have an opportunity to include the same keyword phrase and variations of that phrase a few times throughout the blog post. Professional blog posts that are optimized for strong keywords can increase overall traffic to your website. This often means the ideal blog length is a longer post.
The Case for Long Form Blog Posts
Long form posts are typically over 1,500 words in length. This approach may take the form of detailed analysis, comprehensive guides, or in-depth explorations of a particular topic. Some common examples of long form blog posts include ultimate guides, case studies, research papers, how to guides, thought leadership, product reviews, personal essays, and lifestyle guides.
The question of how long should a blog be is complicated when word count says nothing. Long blog posts that are poorly structured and aimless in intent can frustrate the user experience and discourage visitors from spending time on your site. So creating a longer post just to gain better visibility in search results is not an effective strategy.
Long form blog posts can be an effective way to provide value to your readers by offering them in-depth and comprehensive content on a particular topic. How to blog posts, crafting, recipes, and home improvement guides are all long form content that is engaging and relevant.
Blogs are an integral part of any website and whether you are writing long form content or a quick answer in short posts, you must always value your audience with high quality content that is well-written and organized. If used effectively, the length of your blog post is less important than your structure and overall message.
How Your Topic May Dictate Blog Length
Content marketing constantly talks about writing an amazing blog. The reality in search engine optimization (SEO) is structure and technical best practices can help your blog whether it is short form, average length or a long form epic. The marketing professionals at Valve+Meter Performance Marketing regularly perform SEO audits of websites with high quality content that is not earning organic traffic.
In short, Google does not recognize an ideal blog post length. Search algorithms reward structure, authority, and credibility. In the end, let your topic guide your strategy. If Google does not recognize best practices, the ideal is the following topics when it comes to the ideal blog post length. Your website traffic will not transform because you post one amazing blog. Like all your marketing, you will need to write blog posts that resonate with your ideal audience and build a strong library of blog posts to earn search visibility.
Creating a Blog Calendar
It’s a good idea to thoroughly research blog topics and prioritize them in a calendar. You can schedule a time to start writing blog posts at regular intervals, or if you’re in a good flow, you can write many blog posts at once. Schedule them on your website to be published at regular intervals.
Stay regular on your blog writing. It’s good to write longer blog posts at an interval of 2 blogs a month. If you want to write more than that, go nuts, but don’t burn yourself out and revert to writing scattered articles. Your blog calendar should act as a topic cluster or hub and spoke. Choose a primary topic for your first blog then create a series of blog posts that connect to that topic.
A blog calendar can start or culminate in a pillar post. In the simplest terms a pillar post connects all of your blogs on a similar topic into a central blog post. These typically are long posts and the most important pages within your blogs. By linking all of your other blogs to the pillar post you are more likely to gain search visibility for this blog. A pillar post also provides an anchor for other short form content that may not generate a lot of organic traffic but is still relevant and valuable for your ideal audience.
Structuring Your Blog
When you start writing with intent, you are likely to create a number of pillar pages and long posts. No one wants to read thousands of words without some variety. No matter how well written the content is there are best practices to structuring your blog posts.
There are 7 keys to all successful blogs:
- Why Does Blog Post Length Matter?
- The Ideal Blog Post Length
- Keyword Research
- Topic Research
- Internal Linking
- Optimizing Old Blog Posts
Every blog and webpage on your site should utilize an exact heading structure. Headings are like dividing content into chapters. This can make long-form blog posts more enjoyable to read and help readers search for the specific answers they’re looking for within a blog post.
The title of your blog post or web page should always be an H1 heading. It’s the biggest heading on the page. As you break your content down into sections, you’ll use several H2 headings, and if you break sections down even further, you may use H3 or H4 headings.
Headings help search engines understand what your blog post is about and allow readers to skim through your post and refer back to sections that are most relevant and helpful to them.
Photographs, illustrations, infographics, technographics and other forms of visual storytelling are powerful additions to any blog post. Breaking up words with visuals helps readers engage with your website longer. You can also increase efficiency with great visuals. The ideal blog post length may shrink when you consider the power of visual storytelling. A great chart or graph can help to rank well in organic search engine results for images. While many blog posts aim to win the native results in search, you should not overlook the organic traffic you can earn from image searches and video search.
The perfect blog post is a combination of intention, relevance, and use of keywords. Keyword research helps identify the most relevant words and phrases to use within your blog post. There are many keyword research tools that can help you find topics to write about that pertain to your industry as well as the amount of traffic they bring in.
If a keyword has many variations you may need to use a long form content strategy to fully optimize the page. The optimal blog post length is a combination of a specific word count and sprinkling enough relevant keywords throughout. Another method is to create a series of short form blogs that each utilize a variation of the keywords. Determining the style of your own blog should be determined by your subject matter and what you discover within keyword research.
The more specific your keywords are, the better quality traffic you can expect to receive. For instance, writing “ideal blog post lengths” is a more specific keyword phrase than just how to write a blog.” The broad term blog is highly competitive and may attract visitors that are not relevant. The more specific keyword phrase is more likely to engage with an ideal audience of individuals and businesses looking to improve blog strategy and SEO performance.
Writing longer blog posts on very specific keyword phrases might seem like a difficult task. However, once you identify your target keyword, you can allow your natural curiosity to guide your process. For instance, you can enter “perfect blog post length” into Google and quickly discover 4-5 headers to guide your writing process.
Google provides a number of alternative searches that can serve as inspiration. You can also use the People Also Ask and Featured Snippet to help you outline.
You can also expand on these ideas in future blogs. What might be a paragraph or section about “best SEO practices for list blog posts” could become a blog of its own in the future.
Performing a competitive analysis of other companies and websites within your industry is a great way to choose blog topics. Not only will this give you a good idea about what kind of posts are ranking within your space, but it will also get the creative juices flowing and help you develop strong ideas and keywords that you can apply to your own blog posts.
To gain a high volume of organic traffic to your website, it’s not enough to just meet an ideal blog post length; you should also include internal links. This is a key component of your blog content calendar. Internal linking helps to pass authority and credibility from one blog post to another. Search engines see internal links as relationships within your website structure. When a number of short form blogs point to one long form blog, Google understands that this is the most important blog within the topic cluster.
A strong network of sub-pages and blog posts help your pillar pages stand out. A pillar page features your unique brand message, calls to action, and is most likely to convert visitors to contact you directly. While shorter blogs may feature more popular keywords, internally linking can help your prominent pages increase the search visibility of your branded content.
Think of your website as a house. The roof of your house is your website’s home page. The walls are your service or pillar pages. They support your website and give people an understanding of what you are. But every building needs a strong foundation to provide support, and blog posts are that foundation. The stronger your foundation, the stronger your walls and roof are. Internal linking will keep your website whole.
Why Does Blog Post Length Matter?
Search engines look for keywords that match what readers search for and recommend blogs from there. Algorithms are far more sophisticated than ever before. With every update to the algorithm, Google reiterates that people focused content will always be rewarded. This means you should never ask how long blog posts should be as your primary reason to start writing.
Your blog post should show that you’re an expert in your field. Blogs don’t just answer readers’ questions; they also need to earn their trust. Keep your blog posts relevant to the topic. If you write longer blog posts, it doesn’t mean that they’re quality posts or will rank higher. Blog posts need to engage with your audience. The length of a single blog post matters but even more important is the depth of content across your website. Longer blog posts that are written on irrelevant topics or ones that do not keep readers engaged, will not rank as high on search engines.
The Perfect Blog Post Length
The ideal length of a blog post is subjective and can vary depending on the topic, niche, and audience. However, here are some general guidelines:
- 500-750 Words: This is a good length for a quick update or news post.
- 1,000-1,500 Words: This length is ideal for most blog posts as it allows you to cover a topic in-depth while still making it easy to read.
- 2,000+ Words: This length is ideal for comprehensive guides, long-form content, or research-based articles.
But remember, the average word count of your blog post isn’t enough to drive traffic to your site alone. There are many applications that compare your specific topic with competitors in your area. The average word count on these guidelines can be helpful as well and worth investing time and resources to gain experience with writing blogs..
Optimizing Blog Posts with Fresh Content
The ideal blog post in 2014 might be just a bit outdated. The beauty of a website is that it can always be changed. Using keyword research tools, you may discover that an outdated blog just needs to be revived with new information, better graphics, and maybe scrub that date off the title.
You should never build a website and then leave it untouched. Search engines like to see that new content is being updated and changed. When you change current content on your website to improve the blog length, target better keywords, or add headings and links, this is called search engine optimization. Make sure to add a revision date so search engines understand you need your content indexed.
Read through any current blog posts you have and conduct some keyword research to see if your blog post is driving organic search traffic for that keyword. If it isn’t, maybe there is a better keyword to find your target audience. You can also use tools like Surfer to search the internet to see what other keywords blog posts around that topic are using.
Use your natural curiosity again. Are there questions that pop to mind when reading that blog that go unanswered? Expand on them.
Other important aspects of blog post optimization include adding internal and external links, adding relevant images and videos, and adding a helpful meta description.