When it comes to blogging, the number one question students ask me is “how long should my article be”? That question is quickly followed by these two: Is there an ideal blog post length that will get you to the top of SEO? And of course, how does the length of my articles fit into my SEO content strategy?
As the SVP with YourTangoExperts, I have taught writing for years and every class there is at least one person who is truly stuck about length as if knowing the “ideal length of an article” would give them some greater insight into how SEO and Google work.
In an effort to not waste your time (this may be a quick read for you) here’s my answer: as long as it takes to deliver on your headline. No longer, no shorter.
Now that answer doesn’t take into consideration best practices for writing, but it does give you what you need to know. If you’re writing an essay on how to bake a cherry pie, you should stick to the headline and deliver on that answer. That could take you 700 words. If you get off-topic and decide to write about the best ingredients for the crust or the filling, then it could take you more words.
Great writing starts with a well-thought-out headline. From there, the ideal length of your article will reveal itself. Complex topics are longer, clear topics are shorter.
Digging in a bit deeper, the length of your article should reflect on what the reader is truly asking to know.
How Long Does Your Article Really Need To Be?
As a writer, the next layer to this question is about intention and what your headline offers your reader in their search for answers. When someone uses a search engine to find answers, they enter this experience with a set of questions in their mind. In our example about cherry pies, the reader may be a novice to baking or a 6-time Baking Industry Awards winner. You won’t have this information when you write your article. Therefore, you have to make your best guess as to how smart, informed, and prepared your reader is to utilize your article.
In other words, what do they really want when they search and find your article.
Understanding the intention behind your reader’s purpose for spending time with your article is the holy grail of SEO these days. When you know your ideal client, you can write to that person again and again and create a library of offerings for them to consume. This creates a loyal returning visitor who is the right target for your articles. It also tells you how long your articles should be.
Today, knowing the intention behind a person’s decision to visit your website is one of the most important pieces of an SEO puzzle. Merely having the right words on the page is not enough anymore. You must understand the needs of your readers so you can serve them. Only then will you have the true answer to how long your articles should be.
Here’s what else you need to know.
3 Key Considerations Before Deciding On Your Blogging Strategy
Along with intent, the right words matter. As does the right placement of them in your articles. When SEO is done right, you have a business strategy that takes into consideration the bigger picture of your business. Who are you interested in attracting to your website? What are they looking for in terms of information or products? What role do you play in their lives? And, how can you build a trusted, loyal following on your website so people have great information at every stage of the buying process?
Remember that some of the visitors on your website will be ready to buy, but others are just doing research. They are looking for information to understand their circumstances and when done right, the articles they read today will bring them back to your website in the future when they are ready to become customers.
If you only write to your buyers, you will always feel trapped in the advertising/marketing loop. This is the experience of scarcity that many people talk about when it comes to a marketing strategy. Your marketing woes are never over because as soon as your advertising budget runs out, so do your leads.
You can eliminate this kind of experience by creating an SEO strategy that works for today and plants seeds for the future. How do you do this? By knowing your client’s buying habits and cycles.
Reader’s Attention Span
Let’s face it, we get bored easily. Very few people are willing to give lots of extra time to articles that are either redundant or cover topics they already know about. We want NEW information. We want interesting details. We want to connect the dots between things we know and things we need to know.
One of the biggest challenges to any writer is to be interesting. In other words, “if you want people to be interested in you, you must be interesting.” Gulp. How do you accomplish this?
You start by knowing your audience as we said above and then, you write pieces that increase their knowledge base. Research your topic and read what other writers have shared on the issue. Then, ask yourself, what can you add to the mix? What does your expertise bring to bear on the topic that’s new, different, or insightful?
When you settle on the contribution you want to make, the article framework will start to come into view, and that ultimately gives you a sense of how long your article needs to be to adequately cover the topic.
Does that make sense?
By being more attached to the topic you want to cover instead of the “word count” you will deliver a better product to your reader. And that is essential to keep people attuned to your article so they read it from the top to the bottom.
Few Extra Facts About Blog Post Length From Sites We Trust
Sometimes, the details help, so here is what a few trusted sites have to say about the ideal blog post length from their research.
According to HubSpot:
- The ideal blog post length to generate leads is 2,500 words.
- The ideal blog post length for SEO is 2,100-2,400 words.
- The ideal blog post length for a listicle is 2,300-2,600 words.
- The ideal blog post length for a pillar page (core content for Yoast user) is 4,000 words. Here’s an example of this kind of post.
- And finally, the ideal blog post length for a “how-to” blog is 1,700 and 2,100 words.
According to Medium:
- The ideal time it takes to read an article is 7 minutes (that translates into roughly 1600 words)
Lots of details for sure. What you should take away from this discussion is that the ideal length for your blog posts is subjective for sure. It depends on your audience, your topic, your SEO goals, and your expertise.
Take some time to explore topics that resonate with your readers so you can build out strategies to write articles that keep readers coming back for more.
Need help with your marketing strategy? Reach out for a private consultation with our team today.