Long Form Content: The Ideal Blog Post Length
While long-form content tends to have higher overall rankings than short-form content, it’s not the only consideration to keep in mind when planning blog post length.
Is Long-form Content Important For Digital Marketing Strategy?
Well, the short and long answer is absolutely. When you’re updating your blog, there are many different types of posts you might create. Perhaps you’re doing a review of a new product or a comparison of a few products. Maybe you’re sharing tips on how to do a task more efficiently. You may also add other types of content, such as tutorials, how-to guides, best practices or answering a question you’ve received about the niche in which you’re an expert. There’s an art to mixing up the types of content in your blog in order to make it appealing and fresh to visitors. When planning your content, don’t overlook its length. Deciding between short-form content and long-form content is more of a science. Short-form content is 1,000 words or less, while long-form content is 2,000 words or more.
You might use short form to answer a simple question from a reader or to share an update about a project. For example, if you’re a knitwear pattern designer, you might want a blog post about why merino wool is a good choice for hand-knit mittens. This could easily be answered in 1,000 words or less in a short-form blog post. If you’ve recently updated one of your key patterns with a wider range of sizes, a short-form piece of content delivers the news to readers without overwhelming them in too many details.
Long-form content is the way to go when you want to go in-depth on a subject. In the example of the knitwear designer’s blog, this might be a post about the qualities of merino wool. Long-form content is used for whitepapers, e-books and instructional guides. It allows you to highlight your expertise in the subject matter. Long-form content is a must in your long-term marketing strategy.
Why Is Long-Form Content Important?
There are four key purposes for using long-form content in a comprehensive marketing strategy. These include search engine optimization (SEO), more shares of your blog posts on social media, more conversions of readers into customers and establishment of you and your blog for thought leadership and authority. Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas and delve into why this comprehensive content is so important.
A longer blog post gives you more opportunities to optimize the content for search engine crawlers. When serpIQ conducted a study of the top 10 ranking pages for different keywords across thousands of niches, it found that the ideal blog length for SEO was more than 2,000 words. The top-ranked page for each keyword had an average content length of about 2,450 words. Although that study was conducted way back in 2012, the general premise still holds true. Google likes long-form content, and the ideal blog post length appears to be around 2,400 words, give or take a hundred or two.
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You’ll get more conversions when the average blog post length is 2,000 words or longer. A Hubspot study from 2020 about the average blog post length and best lead generation and conversion rates found that blog posts of 2,600 to 2,700 words generated the most leads and conversions. This is another important reason why your company needs to invest in long-form content. Converting links into leads and visits into conversions helps you make the most of your marketing investment.
Thought Leadership / Authority
Long-form content gives you an opportunity to demonstrate that your blog is the domain authority for the niche. With the ideal article length of 2,000 words or more, you’re able to delve into a subject and show off your expertise. If you’re a small business owner who manufactures decorative items made from hand-poured resin, you can convey your authority in this niche with blog posts that get at the heart of your process, technique, quality control and more. Establishing yourself as the authority or leader in the subject sets you up for more visibility, a higher level of trust and improved name recognition.
How Long Should Content Be for SEO?
In 2020, Backlinko performed an analysis of 11.8 million Google searches. The purpose of the study was to look at what played the biggest role in search engine ranking. The researchers looked at SEO and word count, backlinks, content and page speed. The researchers made several key findings.
First, they discovered that page loading speed played no role in the page’s ranking. Second, they determined that pages with more backlinks have better rankings than those with few or none. Because more than 94% of pages don’t have any backlinks, they performed a sub-analysis of pages that did have backlinks. On average, the page with the number one SERP had 3.8 times more backlinks than those in positions two through 10.
Backlinko also took a look at the ideal article length. Their analysis showed that the average word count of the first-page search result was 1,447 words. The researchers broke down the average length of the content and sorted it by ranking and found that the longer pages had higher rankings than the pages with short-form content.
The researchers took a look at why the average word count of the number one page had dropped from 2,450 words in the 2012 study to 1,447 words in the 2020 study. They found that long-form content does a better job at supporting more backlinks. Because the average word count of the top 10 results for any given keyword was evenly distributed, the researchers were able to demonstrate that it’s the backlinks in long-form content that give it the edge.
Planning the Length of Your Content
For years, there’s been a saying in content marketing that “content is king.” This means that content reigns over keywords and links, and this is fact, not opinion. The quality of the blog post is more important than the quantity of words in the post. Comprehensive content helps you reach your goal of explaining a concept, product features or answering questions. Before you decide what the length of a blog post should be, consider the content goal. If you want to teach, inform, inspire or introduce, these concepts are well-matched to long-form content, explains Neil Patel. If your goal is to update, trigger an action or tease a product or service, short-form content may be the right choice.
Also consider user intent matching. When a person searches for a keyword or key phrase, what’s the intent of their search? Someone searching for “pad Thai Columbus” probably doesn’t want your tutorial on how to make pad Thai. They’re looking for a local restaurant that offers it. If you’re that restaurant owner, using the key phrase “pad Thai Columbus” in a blog post could be a wise choice, especially if you include backlinks to your online ordering page, menu and home page. You might create content around what sets your pad Thai in Columbus apart, the ingredients you use, where your ingredients come from, who prepares the pad Thai at your restaurant and some ideal beverage pairings to enjoy with a meal of pad Thai.
Finally, your blog post should answer all of the relevant questions around the subject without leaving anything out or adding extraneous information. When someone conducts a search, they want nothing more and nothing less than an answer to their question. If your blog post can provide it, you’ll have a better chance at achieving the top ranking for that keyword or phrase. This is true whether it takes you 200 words or 2,000 words to answer that question.
There Is No Ideal Blog Post Length
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to blog post lengths. Providing value in each word, including quality backlinks and creating an ideal user experience with your layout, design, colors and mix of images, video and words are also key to attaining that desirable first-page ranking on Google. For most blogs, including some long-form content as well as some shorter posts will keep your readers interested and motivated to return, and you’ll also enjoy the benefits of a better ranking from the Google crawler.
Trying to find that sweet spot for content length in your blog posts? Contact Textbroker today!