Long-form blog posts seem to be recommended by most SEO experts these days. After all, according to a 2016 study by Backlinko, blog post lengths close to 2,000 words make up a high percentage of the top search results in Google.
However, like with most tips about blogging, that advice doesn't always fit.
Saying this may be a little contradictory – both by itself and to what some other bloggers say.
But, while epic 3,000+ word blog posts may have a better chance of ranking well on Google, three 1,000 word posts give you more chances of ranking well.
Additionally, while those three shorter blog posts may not rank as well as the long-form one, you can use the performance of those posts to determine what to focus on for your future content.
And of course, there is no guarantee the long-form or short-form posts will rank. So, especially as a beginner blogger, I recommend more blog posts over longer ones in most, but not all, cases.
More Content = More Chances of Ranking (Regardless of Blog Post Length)
Think about it like this. If you have one dart to throw at a dartboard, you would likely take extra time before throwing it to try and hit a bullseye.
And, depending on your skill level, you might get lucky and hit it, but you likely won’t.
However, if you take a bunch of darts and throw them at the dartboard, without taking that extra time, chances are you will have some darts come close to hitting the bullseye.
Yes, more than likely, most of them won’t be close. And you may not hit the bullseye. But you’ll have more chances of doing so.
Furthermore, as you become more experienced, the distribution of your darts are more likely to be closer and closer to the bullseye.
Blog Posts are Similar to Darts
Now, if you take a look at most blogs, you’ll find that a small number of articles drive a majority of the traffic to their website. And a majority of the posts have very little traffic.
So, the more posts you write, the more opportunity for one to catch on with your audience.
And, as with throwing darts, the more you write, the more experienced you'll be. And your blog writing will improve as well.
How to Determine Blog Post Length?
Getting your message across should determine your blog post length. Not meeting a certain word count.
Yes, as stated above, there are studies that blog posts around 2,000 words are in the top Google results. And if you want to get traffic, you need to be near the top.
But that means that some posts are much longer, and likely many more are much shorter.
Don’t get too caught up thinking you need to create long articles for every post.
First of all, 2,000 words isn't actually that much if you are covering something in detail. And most importantly, many other factors affect the rankings on Google.
Additionally, different types of posts require different lengths based on the topic.
If you have a recipe blog, your posts will be rather short.
But if you write about search engine optimization (SEO), you are more likely to have much longer, in-depth posts.
What are Longer Posts Good For?
While I don't recommend making long posts just to have long-form content, they do help in a few areas.
Help Google Understand Context
An in-depth article on a specific topic will show Google precisely what search intent it is answering.
However, when writing lengthy articles, you need to be careful that you stay on topic. Otherwise, Google (and your readers) may be confused about your topic.
Increase Readers Time on Your Site
If you write long, captivating articles, readers will tend to spend more time reading those posts.
However, keeping readers interested for a long time is a very difficult task.
Additionally, if your site has an excellent internal linking structure, short posts that are well-written, can also help keep readers on your website.
Chance to Rank for More Keywords
When you write an article, you typically write it around a single keyword.
However, Google and other search engines will also find related (Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI) keywords and long-tail keywords for your article, and you can rank for those as well.
According to an Ahrefs study, a single, top-ranked page can rank for hundreds or thousands, or even more, keywords.
Having a long blog post is going to have more opportunities to rank for additional keywords.
However, don't create longer posts for this alone. Create long-form content when appropriate for your message.
And use keywords where they fit naturally.
If it is excellent content, it will rank for more keywords by itself.
What are Short Posts Good For?
While there may be some drawbacks to shorter posts, there are some definite advantages.
Most people searching on-line want an answer to something. And some answers don't require much explanation.
If your post only requires a few hundred words to provide a detailed answer, that is good enough.
Don't try and make it longer just to add more words.
It will hurt your content and you will lose readers.
Your Content Schedule
Having shorter posts will help you maintain a consistent publishing schedule.
Having a consistent schedule can help your readers know what to expect from you.
If you prefer to have longer posts, then factor that into your schedule. But either way, try and keep it consistent.
Your Content Library
Along with publishing more often, shorter posts can help you build your content library.
Having more posts is more important as a new blogger if you want to have a decent number of posts on your site when starting a blog.
While longer posts can help you rank for more keywords, a more extensive content library can as well. Provided it is quality content.
Additionally, once you see a post ranking well, you can create more content related to that post or add additional content to the original post.
What About a Combination of Short and Long Posts?
An excellent strategy to consider is to create 3-5 long, cornerstone articles on your site to cover your core content. You then generate shorter, related posts linking back to those articles.
Using this method is a great way to establish a good site structure. A good site structure is helpful, not only for your users but for search engines crawling your site as well.
There are numerous recommendations about blog post length on the internet. While it can help your rankings, there are many other factors involved in Google search results.
Hopefully, your blog helps others solve their problems. If you do this consistently with quality content and promote your posts, you will rise in the rankings.
So, just focus on getting your message across, and don’t worry too much about blog post length.
What has been your experience with the length of your blog posts? Have you had more success with either longer or shorter posts? Please share in the comments below.