I am often asked by small businesses or attorneys about blog length, and how long the optimum blog post should be. This is an important question because many business owners believe that their pages and blog posts will rank well if they look attractive.
In reality, if a blog post is too short, it won’t rank well. Fashion may be obsessed with skinny models, but Google doesn’t have much time for skinny blog posts. That’s because the search engines assume under weight posts are starved of substance and less than useful to the consumer of information.
What’s the Minimum Length for a Blog Post?
A recent post by the SEO company Yoast states that blog posts should be at least 300 words. Many legal writing firms work to a minimum of 350 words, and that doesn’t include a call to action at the end of a post.
Long posts rank better than short posts with search engines, but there is an important caveat. You have to be a good writer who is imparting useful information. The search engines are fairly adept now at picking up on instances in which writers don’t have much to say but are stretching things out for the search engines.
It wasn’t always this way. When I started writing business and legal blogs more than six years ago, pepping copy with phrases such as “experienced Florida personal injury lawyers” could help you be found by someone who was searching for an injury lawyer in Florida. These days, writing for search engines r human beings is more likely to get you penalized.
Having a journalistic background helps immensely with blog writing. Being a journalist used to be all about what publication you worked for. Now every business needs to adopt journalistic techniques to punch their weight online. Given the rapid growth of blogging, social media and visual sites such as Instagram, we all have to run our small, in-house multi-media empires.
While good writing can help with those long blog posts, the search engines don’t like vast typographic forests like New York Times editorials. The internet likes the product to reflect the labelling. Google doesn’t want long articles that keep the reader guessing until the fourth paragraph. Reflect the headline and its key word in the first paragraph and say exactly what the article is about.
So, for instance, the key word or phrase for this article would be “blog length.” The phrase “blog length” should be used a number of times in the body of the text.
Make blogs considerably longer than 300 words if you can. A blog of 1,000 words is likely to score well with the search engines as long as it’s broken down. There is an even stronger case for blogs of more than 2,500 words.
The downside here is the sheer time they can take you to write and the challenge of keeping them eye-catching and interesting. Your site will also benefit from regularly posted blogs. However, churning out blogs of 2,500 words is considerably more time consuming and may impact the number of blogs you can post.
Text structure is key to keeping those long blogs readable. See this article from Yoast about text structure.
Readers (and thus search engines) are likely to reward you if you make lists. The advantage of numbering or bullet points include:
- They break up vast areas of text;
- People like lists;
- You can rank points in their order of importance;
- They are popular on social media when you share your blogs;
- It makes for a catchy headline to say you are imparting a list such as ‘Seven Secrets About Contested Divorces.”
When it comes to blogging length, I like to vary it up with a few longer blogs. The world of SEO is a rapidly changing one but as a general rule of thumb, you can’t go wrong with blogs of 400-500 words and web pages of at least 800 words.
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