Over 200 factors are believed to make up Google’s algorithm used to rank content. Research has shown there is a correlation between article length and search engine ranking positions. Statistics have indicated that longer posts have a greater chance of being shared across social media channels, as well as generating links for your content. Post length isn’t something new to take into account, back in 2012 the ideal article length was thought to be 500-700 words. In the last couple of years this has increased greatly, and in 2017 is predicted to be 2500+ words as the upwards trend continues. It is a combination of two factors that leads to long form content being advantageous, the actual article length, but crucially the effects that a longer article has on other ranking factors.
There are a number of reasons why this may be the case. It is considered that longer blog posts are an indicator of how in depth the content is, and also how likely it is that the post will provide the information and answers that visitors are looking for on the subject the article relates to. It is also thought by some to be an indicator of how knowledgeable the author is about the subject they are writing about.
It may sound obvious, but the other element that boosts a post with a higher word count is that it has more content. You can target particular keywords with your blog posts but the more content there is in a post, then the more potential there is for ranking for other keywords or search queries that relate to your content, some that you may not have considered. It is also linked to the trend for us using longer search term queries, rather than the one or two words that people used to search for.
So should you make sure all your blog posts are 2500 words long? Not if it means filling your posts with rubbish that people will not want to read. The statistics are trends, and you should always write your content for humans not crawler bots. No matter how long your post, if it is lacking in quality content it will not get shared across social channels, no matter how many words it contains. Another consideration is that although longer posts are potentially more successful in terms of ranking and sharing, the research is based on averages. Just because your post is 1000 words long doesn’t mean it will not achieve a good page ranking for keywords, or get shared across social media. The statistics act as a guide, but as always quality content is the key. If you can say what you want to say in 400 words then say it, 400 straight to the point words are better that 2500 words of waffle that nobody will ever read.
The format of your posts is also going to determine post length to a large extent, if for example you are posting an infographic then you are never going to achieve a high word count. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post it, there are many other advantages that an infographic post has, such as highlighting particular subjects and having an impact on your visitor beyond text alone. One top tip if your are posting an infographic is to post content contained within the graphic as text underneath it, so you are covering all the bases.
Time is another important consideration, you shouldn’t look at one SEO factor in isolation to your overall marketing efforts. Longer blog posts can take a considerable amount of time to research and write, so you need to balance this against other factors. It depends on the nature of your blog and if you have a team of people adding content or just yourself. If writing a 2500 article results in you only being able to produce one article a month, you need to consider if it would be more beneficial to balance this by shortening the content and producing more blog posts that cover a number of subjects.
In the end it should always be about quality content, write for a human audience to provide engaging, useful, relevant information, but have SEO considerations in mind. It has been proven many times over a number of years, that any content produced just with rankings in mind rather than quality, can be penalised by search engines in a matter of moments, as the giants like Google constantly update their algorithms.