Does Size Matter?
Probably about a year ago a well known and respected blogger started posting his results on the optimal number of words for blogs. He stated that for best results your blog needs to be l-o-n-g, 2,000 words or more. Then just recently I read a study conducted by one of the larger marketing automation providers that said it made no difference. Hmmm, contradictory? Does size matter?
The blogger was looking at how quickly his longer posts rose in the ranks of SEO. The marketing automation provider looked at 175,000 posts from all industries (B2B and B2C) and measured the amount of shares, likes and comments 500 word versus 2000 word blogs received.
Two Different Things; Two Different Audiences. What Are You After?
Yes, Google has stated that it pays more attention to a longer blog with it's new algorythm that relies less on keywords and more on substance. For SEO, size matters. But people don’t seem to care, as pointed out by the marketing automation study. The truth is that there are really two audiences blogs must satisfy.
So Which is Right? Does Size Matter?
Not really, if you’re writing consistently and constantly. What’s more important is the quality of your content. To post a blog just to post a blog is counterproductive to all of your efforts, whether for SEO purposes or for your “people” audience. Both will eventually abandon you. Keep in mind two simple guidelines and you won’t have to worry about size:
The Nature of Your Audience: Remember that you’re writing for people, and if you’re writing for people you need to ask, "What do they want to read?"
Some situations call for long blogs, particularly for complicated content. Some audiences, however, like to hear from you but they don’t need a book.
Your Content Mix: I find that when I write content with one eye on quality and one on the content map some will be long, some will be short - it just happens - and both audiences are satisfied. At the same time, mix up blogs in terms of visual versus written. Infographics, for example, take up quite a bit of space in a blog and have little accompanying text. Sometimes they therefore struggle to get to even 500 words but audiences love them.
You’re Done When You’re Done! This debate between long and short copy didn’t just begin within the last year. I’ve been a part of the debate for decades…all of the way back to when I exclusively wrote landing and sales pages. Some liked long copy, some liked short. But the best performing ones were the ones that were engaging - all the way through. Yes there are formulas for good blog writing, just like there are for any other content. But the best rule to keep in mind is to stop before it gets repetitive and boring, regardless of the number of words.