This is a question I have asked and people have asked me when I teach The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course. I have Googled it and Googled it again. The answers are wide and varied.
The most definitive answers are outdated, because Google changes their algorithms 500-600 times a year. Some changes are minor and some are game changers.
One of the biggest changes was when content trumped SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Changing the algorithms meant that SEO was no longer the most important consideration. You need frequently-updated, good-quality, original content to rank higher.
Your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is influenced by these algorithms. Previously all you had to do was ensure that your tags were well done and then you were fine. Now, content trumps the tags, but how much content?
In some of the articles, 250 words is considered too short, but again and again the experts state that content trumps word count. Seth Godin is brilliant at short posts – 200 words is a long post for him.
I decided to look at the lengths of articles that our readers enjoyed. Below is a table of our Writers Write Top 42 posts for 2014. I have included the word count and the number of views in 2014.
It is interesting to note that many of our top posts are infographics. (It is important to remember that these were once articles made up of words.) This tells you what kind of information readers are looking for.
The posts that aren’t infographics average around 500 words. Not one of our popular posts is over 1000 words. I prefer short posts. Most people start waffling or repeating information if they write too much.
Eight Tips For Writing Posts People Read
- Content is king. Find and identify topics that interest you.
- Simplify the content as much as possible. Use a visual form if you can. This site – Piktochart – allows you to create your own infographics.
- Use one topic per post. If you need to write more, rather write a series instead of making your post too long.
- Pack a punch with your writing. Use strong nouns and verbs.
- Cut the flab: reduce modifiers, qualifiers, adverbs, and adjectives.
- Use the inverted pyramid of media writing. We have a short attention span especially on the internet or in fiction speak: Don’t start with backstory.
- Read and follow as many successful blogs as you can. Take a look at their best posts and try to identify what worked.
- Make sure to tag keywords in your posts for SEO, but focus on as much new, good quality content as possible
In short, don’t focus on the length of your post. Focus on the quality of your content, that is until Google makes another change.
by Mia Botha
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