I get this question from prospective clients all the time: How long should my blog posts be? Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long your blog posts should be, the last couple decades of search engine optimization, or SEO, have created some clear targets to aim for. Ultimately, choosing the best length for your blog posts depends on your highest-priority goal for the posts in question.
Short Blog Posts Draw More Comments
If you want to prioritize reader engagement, short and sweet posts are the best. Although experts disagree on exactly how long that is, there is a clear consensus that you should get right to the point — and invite your readers to do the same. As a general rule, “engagement” posts that are less than 300 words long will be much more likely to draw comments from your readers.
Oh the other hand, blog posts that short aren’t likely to get many social shares, and they probably won’t rank high in search engine results. In fact, if you write many blog posts of less than 200 words, you may even get penalized by search engines for hosting “thin” content. But you can balance that out by also writing content that’s designed for optimal SEO placement.
Write Longer Blog Posts for SEO Placement
When it comes to posts designed to appeal to search engines, 300 words is usually a hard minimum. But as a general rule, the longer the better in this department. Not only do longer posts give the search engines more contextual clues about what the post is about, but they’re also likely to have more long-tail keywords and to place well when people search for those terms.
Blogging trends confirm that theory. A survey of more than 1,000 bloggers found that the average blog post is about 1,050 words. Some even argue that 2,500 words is the ideal length for SEO blog posts. But of course, those length guidelines only apply if you can write well enough to keep a long post interesting to read and easy to digest. If you publish poorly written long posts, readers will bounce off your page quickly, hurting both your search rankings and your social reputation.
Mid-length Blog Posts Tend to Collect Shares
Speaking of social reputations, if you’re looking to maximize social shares and likes, the “magic number” for length is somewhere between the two extremes we just discussed.Posts that run roughly 750 words long tend to do very well in this department; they’re long enough to deliver information that readers really want, but short enough to digest fairly quickly.
Best Practices for Formatting Your Blog Posts
More than 80 percent of internet readers only skim through content — so if you want any chance of catching and holding their attention, you need to make your content easy to scan.
The easiest way of doing this is keeping sentences and paragraphs short, and breaking up blocks of text with headers and subheaders. This also gives your post an intrinsic structure that makes it easier for you to organize and easier for the reader to find the information they’re looking for.
Why Visuals Matter
All things visual are, increasingly, the language of the internet. Posts with images receive 650 percent higher engagement than posts without images, and posts with videos are three times as likely to be linked to than posts with text only. And if you’re focused on making your content scannable, images break up long blocks of text and give the readers valuable contextual clues at the same time.
Images don’t just get you more engagement, but they also multiply the amount of information readers will retain by more than six times over. And moving images are even better: By most estimates video is taking over the internet in terms of blog posts and social engagement, drawing a whopping three times more inbound links than posts without videos.