When it comes to digital marketing, the content remains king. That’s been true for years, and while some of the specifics in best practices may shift for content creation, it’s still critical that you have a nice mix of blog posts, resource pages, infographics, and videos, at a minimum.
Along with a combination of different types of content, you have to figure out how to balance shorter content pieces with long-form content.
With that in mind, below, we’ll go into the great debate — how long should a blog post ideally be in 2021?
We’ll also discuss some of the things to know when comparing short- and long-form content.
Why Does Word Count Matter?
First, why is word count so relevant in terms of SEO?
One reason is that Google wants content that’s comprehensive, in-depth, answers questions, and provides relevant value to readers.
Also, when you have a higher word count, you’re giving Google more of an opportunity to know what your content is about.
The more context Google can read on your site, the more easily it’s going to be able to rank your pages.
With a higher word count, Google also recognizes your credibility of writing in-depth articles.
If you’re going to write a blog post that’s only 200 to 400 words long, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s not going to rank, but it’s just not generally the kind of “meaty” content that’s going to be as valuable and shareable.
- Once you get to the point where your posts are around 1,000 words, this can be better in terms of length.
- Anything from 1,500 to 2,000 words tends to be those articles that most frequently get top spots in Google and other search engines, and they can help you get organic traffic. They also tend to be useful as reference links.
Consider Your Audience
While blog posts of 2,000 words and greater can rank well, that doesn’t mean that all of your posts have to be that long. Remember your audience first and foremost. If you’re writing on a subject that just doesn’t warrant that many words, keep your post shorter.
It’s better to have it stay on the shorter side than be full of filler and fluff content.
Every word that you type and then publish needs to be relevant and it needs to be to the point.
You want to be concise, and you want your content to be in the best interest of your audience above anything else.
If you’re writing solely for search engines, it’s going to show and then ultimately backfire.
It can be tricky to publish longer-form content, but a good way to make it work is to use supplemental keywords and long-tail keywords that fit in along with the main keyword you’re trying to rank for.
They’re related keywords, and they allow you to get into the topic in a more in-depth way.
The closely related keyword approach can help drive your content and fuel your creativity when you might otherwise feel like you’d run out of steam on a particular post.
One way to find supplemental keywords is to use a keyword tool that will provide you with related questions. You can use these related questions, which are things that people are searching for to then develop more sections in your blog.
When you add related keywords, then you’re integrating more content that your audience is likely to be interested in, which helps your bounce rates too.
The Benefits of Long-Form Content
Beyond the fact that Google potentially prefers longer content, there are other benefits as well. These include:
- Longer content will increase the amount of time users spend on a page. Longform content, according to research from Neil Patel, leads to people spending 40% longer on a page on average, and they look at 25% more pages overall.
- Longer content is likely to get more social media shares, including on Facebook and Twitter.
- You can position yourself as an authority when you provide in-depth content and go beyond the surface.
- With longer content, you have more opportunities to create your own unique voice that differentiates you and helps with the development of your brand.
- In some cases, long-form content can help close deals.
Ideal Types of Longform Content
While you can be creative and do things that work for you, some examples of times when it’s great to use long-form content include:
- Listicles are a type of blog post whereas, you might guess, there are lists. This can include a list of facts, a list of products, a list of tips, or anything that’s done in list form. When you’re creating a listicle article, try to have anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500 words.
- How-to blogs are popular because they let you show your expertise, they solve a problem for your reader so they’re valuable, and you can usually make these pretty long without being repetitive. With how-to blogs, stay concise, and break up your content. Make sure you use plenty of bulleted lists within the content. If you can add graphics or videos to illustrate your points, even better.
- A pillar page is one that covers topics broadly, and from there, you might do shorter and more specific posts that are related to the pillar. Pillar pages are very comprehensive, use reputable sources, and cover topics very comprehensively.
So what are the key takeaways from this?
First, you should ideally aim to have at least 1,500 words in your posts whenever possible from an SEO standpoint. You still need to stay concise and make sure that everything you include in a post is relevant.
Not all of your posts have to be 2,000 words or more. Reserve these if you have a topic that you want to broadly cover.
There may be a few situations where based on your audience and the content itself, you write articles that are fewer than 1,000 words, but these are relatively limited and it’s unlikely there should be a time when you have anything less than 500 words in a post.