There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
And coincidentally there’s also more than one way to write a blog too.
It really depends on what you plan to do with each blog article and what you hope to achieve.
In this blog post, we’re going to focus on the cheap and cheerful method of getting traffic for your blog posts.
Which is by ranking it in Google and capitalising on free organic traffic.
The short answer to how long your posts should be? As long as you can possibly make it whilst remaining relevant, helpful and insightful or entertaining.
But just writing about anything and everything in your blog isn’t going to magically get you that free traffic.
First, you need to plan your attack.
And the first move you want to make is deciding what it is exactly that you want to write about.
You need to know that people are actually asking the questions that you’re answering in your blog post.
Because if no one is searching in Google for your blog post, it may as well be invisible (for this approach, anyway).
First things first.
Don’t use your blog to target your main keywords.
I see a lot of companies over here making blog posts called “Website Design Perth” or “Why You Need A Website Designer Perth”.
It doesn’t work for ranking your website for main keywords and it doesn’t do anything on your blog to provide anything useful or make you look like an authority in your industry.
Your blog is an opportunity to capture searches that you normally couldn’t on the standard pages of your website.
Visa Solutions Australia have done extremely well in targeting search queries with their blog posts and not only capitalising on the free traffic that answering those questions have generating but it also results in booked appointments.
Just two of their examples is a write up for the search queries:
These two posts pull in a lot of traffic to the website.
And best of all, they pull in enquiries that result in appointments and work.
On top of that, all of the extra activity in Google’s search engine results page and the awesome user metrics that come with having a helpful and engaging blog has done wonders for their overall rankings site-wide.
There are countless questions about your industry/trade being asked in Google every single day and for many of those search queries, there aren’t many good guides/articles for people to find. That’s an opportunity for you to fill that void.
I’ve made content work for the Doyle Digital website too.
If you look at this Last 30 days snapshot of my Organic traffic, you can see that more people land on blog posts than they do on my homepage, SEO page and AdWords page combined.
You’ll notice that all of this content is attracting people to my website because it actually helps people out and answers the questions that they asked through their Google search.
I was recently working on my Best Position In AdWords post, trying to make it a bit longer to boost its on-page value and its rankings in Google.
I thought to myself “I wonder if most people know how to do this”.
Then I thought “How many people even ask this question?”
And that’s when I turned to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner.
At least 70 searches per month for the exact search query of “how long should a blog post be”.
And there’s likely to be heaps more for very similar searches that I can rank for at the same time.
So now I know what I want to write about, let’s see how I need to go about writing it so I can crack that sweet first page on Google for that term.
Let’s see who I’m up against for this target then!
The reason this step is important is because from here, you learn what the benchmark for a good ranking post/article is and what you need to do to provide something better.
Whilst some industries will compete just fine with 300-400 word blog posts (like in our example before), this whole SEO industry is fairly competitive as you could imagine.
So I suspect the competition is going to be a bit stiff and will require a fair bit of effort on my part.
Okay then! We’ll do a quick search for “how long should blog posts be” in Google and check out the top four websites for this exercise.
Yoast has around 660 words for their position 1 listing.
The Write Practice has roughly a whopping 1,200 words for their 2nd place listing.
Sword And The Script has about 1,150 words for their 3rd place listing.
Forbes is coming in at around 1,100 words too.
You can see the similarities here with the exception of Yoast, which is ranking first despite only having half of the word count as the other 3 listings.
The thing is, Yoast is a hugely popular SEO tool for WordPress and has a monster backlink profile.
If I want to compete, I’m either going to have to match the backlink profile of Yoast, or I have to smash that ~1,200 word count.
So I’ll aim to make this blog post around 1,600 words in order to have a really good crack at one of those tops spots.
I don’t know about you, but I think the word count route is going to be far easier, cheaper and more effective for a solo operator like myself.
Of course, I’m oversimplifying a whole bunch of ranking factors in Google and quality of SEO copywriting over sheer quantity, but I don’t want to stray too far off the “how long should a blog post be” topic 🙂
Because this is about my industry and I know what I’m talking about.
And chances are, you have the same level of knowledge about your own industry and are capable of writing equally long blog posts.
It can be painful at first, but it’s always best to write these blog posts yourself or at least put the meaningful insights down and then let a copywriter elaborate to get the word count up for you.
Because expecting a copywriter to do eve an average write up on “How To Install A TV Antenna” when s/he has never installed an antenna before in their life is just unrealistic.
Because average content, no matter how well written isn’t going to get your backlinks, shares, business or even decent time on site.
So give some value away.
Think of it like this.
People pay you for your skills and expertise and because they don’t have the time to do or learn what you do.
So giving golden information in your blog isn’t going to lose you any business.
Its like how anyone can paint their own home, it’s hardly the most complex thing on the planet.
Yet painters, like our friends at Allure Painting, still seem to business and making a good living from it too.
The people who are going to do things themselves are going to do it themselves.
If they’re going to search for how they should do something, then they may as well learn it from your website so that you at least gain something from it.
Even this information that you’re reading right now is me giving away knowledge for free.
(You’re welcome, by the way).
What do I get out of this?
Well, you’re still here, reading my post and improving the user metrics on my website.
It really doesn’t matter.
I know everyone has read that “Google loves fresh content” somewhere at least once.
I even get some marketing managers arguing with me about this.
But how often do you Google something and a post or article from years ago still towers over the newer and “fresher” posts?
Even when we scoped out the competition for this blog post – notice how Yoast’s post from August, 2016 towered above all the other listings that were written earlier in 2017?
And the article from Forbes was published all the way back in 2014, yet it still holds its own in the top half of page one for that key phrase.
The point here is that the content is what matters.
So however long it takes you to put out something that’s well though out, properly laid out and contains information that search users will actually care about and value – that’s how often you should post.
It’s way better to have just one of these mammoth 1,000+ word posts that actually does something for your website than having ten 300 word posts that you’ve put on every Friday without fail.
Remember that Google is a search engine with an aim to serve up the most useful and relevant piece of information in regard to you search query – not the most recent.
Well, I’m hoping that you found this article through a search in Google, so you’ll know that answer for yourself.
But for those who have come through other sources, here’s a quick report for where this post currently sits for a couple of competitive keywords.
How Long Should Blog Posts Be:
How Long Should Blog Posts Be For SEO:
Considering that my domain strength isn’t anywhere near those above or close beneath, even, I’ve achieved a pretty good result here just from having 1,600+ words.
Of course, it does help that the content here is informative and useful.
If content is unhelpful and Google sees search users jumping straight back to the SERPs from your site, it’s a sign to demote your article.