To answer that question, you first have to determine your purpose.
Conventional wisdom once said a blog post must be 200 words to be noticed by Google and the other search engines. Then it went to 300 – then 400 or 500. Most warned against getting any more long-winded because people stop reading.
And now… Tammy Emineth, the SEO guru who posts on Active Rain, says 1,000 words are necessary. She suggests that it’s better to write a long, content-rich post once every few days than to write short blurbs every day.
The reason why is that Google likes long posts, AND tests are showing that long posts are shared more frequently than short posts. And of course, Google notices that sharing activity and ranks your site higher for it.
Bob Bly, in his monthly roundup of marketing tidbits, said that according to his sources, the ideal length for a blog post written specifically to optimize search engine rankings is 1,500 words.
But let’s think about this for a minute.
We want to attract the search engines. But do we want to write ONLY for search engines?
We think it would be nice if our readers felt like they’d gained enough knowledge from us to make it worth sharing our content.
But we also want them to simply enjoy stopping by our blogs every now and then to have a little back and forth conversation about some topic.
I don’t think everything we write needs to be profound, enlightening, or educational, as long as everything we write is interesting.
I can’t speak for anyone but me, but when I’m confronted with a post that’s 1,000 or 1,500 words long, and when that post contains information that I might want to learn and use, I’m apt to set it aside to read later – when I have more time. And we all know what happens to “later.” Quite often it never arrives.
So – I wouldn’t question the people who spend their days doing split tests between long copy and short copy. If they say long copy is better for SEO, I expect that’s true.
At the same time, I believe we have to write for our current friends and followers. We have to give them reasons to keep coming back to see what’s new. And for many of them, I think that means giving them an “easy read” for those times when they’re taking a short break or just feel like being social.
Some days we want to be educated. Other days we want to be entertained.
So perhaps our blogs need to offer both choices.
Image courtesy of franky242 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net