Some say 400. Others swear up and down that nirvana exists at 750 and under. And still more claim that 500 is the magic number. But, honestly, when it comes to dynamic and interesting blog writing, is there such a thing as the perfect length? As usual, it all depends on who you ask.
According to Ben Austin of SearchEnginePeople, bigger might just be better.
“According to tests carried out by many a blog, rankings improve when the length of the content is increased. Anecdotal evidence seems to support this too, and if you look at the length of most posts on the more successful blogs they tend to be slightly longer and average around 700-800 words,” Austin writes. “It makes sense that Google would reward that bit of extra length too – for one it suggests an article that provides more depth and detail rather than just breezing over the topic, and at the same time it punishes content farms that almost always have a word limit of around 300-500 words (with writers almost always providing the very minimum amount of text). Apart from anything else, more content means more potential to capture the long-tail keyphrase.”
Yet others, like Susan Gunelius, blogging guide for About.com, thinks super-long posts might hurt brands rather than help.
“Most people who read blogs don’t have a lot of time or patience to read thousands of words of content,” she says. “They’re looking for quick access to information or entertainment. Therefore, you should try to write succinctly and use headings to break up long blocks of text. Make sure your blog posts are scannable and consider breaking posts that reach the 1,000 word mark up into a series of posts (which is also a great way to encourage people to come back to your blog again to read more).”
Gunelius believes that under 600 is the magical blogging sweet spot.
Personally, we think the perfect blog post length truly depends on the brand and audience. Some industries (like legal blogs, technical support blogs and medical blogs) do just fine with longer posts, while others excel with shorter, easier-to-read entries. Since we’re in a highly-scannable news industry, we like to stay under 700 words, as do most marketing blogs. Analytics are really helpful in this matter, actually. By watching what blog posts get more hits, become viral or flop miserably, we can gauge which of our blogging practices are working and which ones aren’t — and this includes post length.
But when all is said and done, it isn’t so much about how much we say but how we say it. Well-written, smartly-planned and creative content always wins readers and helps our search engine results, regardless of how big our posts are.