Length equals quality in content marketing, does it? The ideal blog post length
To answer this question. No, length doesn’t necessarily equal quality. But, could be length an indicator of quality in a good blog post? Perhaps.
In the last years, there has been a shift to longer content. One good example is when, in 2017, Twitter finally gave in and rewarded us with 240 characters.
The social media company double how many characters users could fit into a tweet. This was the signal of how much people have to say now.
But before we start writing compulsively, let’s look at what content quality means.
What is quality content and why it boosts your marketing strategy?
I guess the concept of quality in content marketing could be reduced to a pseudo-democratic process.
I recently had an interesting conversation with my boss about how in schools they teach kids to be selective when researching for homework using Google.
While this was true some years ago, the reality is that it’s not possible to be so assertive about it anymore. Or at least, without risking to be wrong.
Google’s new update rewards quality. This means better content will rank higher.
But is this enough to trust the first results on a Google search? Well, it’s at least what most people consider the best result.
That is why it is pseudo-democratic. By clicking, reading, and linking to it, they all agree that piece of content is what they were searching for.
In the last few years, we’ve seen a correlation between the length of the article and the quality. This became official of the last Google update.
This is not exact, nor is perfect, but we’ve got to learn to live with it.
Why longer content is better
Many correlate length with putting more into it, more research, and -but not necessarily more in depth.
So, the more words, the better. Now I can see several copywriters furiously typing to get the first positions.
Size, or in this case, length matters. However, it only matters as long as what you write is good.
Google prefers longer, more comprehensive content. So, you’d better add those few missing arguments to your article that you thought your readers could live without.
Think of content as an oral exam. They give you time, so you can use it wisely.
Your examiner or grader wants your dissertation being clear-cut with timing, but at the same time full of interesting content. No less and no more than necessary.
They should recommend you to stop if you run out or augments or you don’t have anything else to say.
But you believe that time is short and the more you have, the more interesting information you could bring on the table, don’t you?
So, the same happens with content. We tend to believe that longer is better as there are more opportunities to contain the answer to the reader’s problem.
Moz studied the likability of a post to get link due to their length. They proved that longer posts ended up getting more links.
Also, longer texts are divided into sections by paragraphs and headlines. This makes them suitable for scanning.
You might not read the full article, but key points where the answer to your question lies. Headlines and paragraphs help you find it.
And what is the ideal length for a good quality post
I would frankly say, as much as you can write that makes sense. I already explained that fluff is your enemy, and Google prefers quality over quantity.
However, if you want a number so you can get an idea of what your article should be, take a look at this study done by Orbit Media.
They give you a number for everything: email subject lines, meta descriptions, tweets, domain names, among others. And for blog posts they recommend 1,500 words.
Is this absolute truth? No. But it will help you if you don’t know where to stop.
My advice is that you focus on the quality instead of what it seems to be the perfect length.
Also, have you considered the device? Perhaps a big chunk of your traffic comes from mobile.
Try to adapt your paragraphs so they don’t look like big impossible blocks of text.
How do you create long content that also provides quality?
There are many ways of creating good, long content. To do so, your goal should be making the internet a better place.
But, here you have some few tips that might help you.
Cut out the fluff of your content
Above all, research, read, and the write. Once done, read what you wrote again and remove what is not necessary.
Sometimes, when writing we insert sentences and paragraphs that don’t add any value. Avoid populating your post with fluff.
If you write short, keep it short but still talk about the topic in depth.
I know copywriters whose style is long but works very well because it creates a good flow in the text. So, they’ll never include nonsensical content whatsoever.
As opposed to saying of “size -or length in this case- matters”, you can start using “it’s not the size of the boat but the motion in the ocean”.
Try to write long but prune your text like it was a bush and if you can’t write more, don’t do it. Rules are to be broken.
Look at what your competitors write and try to improve
This is a really good start when you don’t know what to write.
It’s also beneficial because doing a good, old competitor analysis never hurt anyone. Don’t you know how? I have your back with this resource from Ahrefs.
So, now you have an excuse to start doing it. You can look at where they get their links from, the keywords they rank for, and, therefore their content.
And once you read those posts from your competitors, think what else you could’ve done. Write down and a couple of ideas and try to improve it.
Winner winner chicken dinner. You will have new content for your web and, in theory, better than your competitors.
Write about what others search, not what others write
This is totally the opposite to look at your competitors. Here you must go blind and adopt a new strategy.
Instead of focusing on the topics that your competitors write about, look at alternative searches.
If you scroll to the bottom when doing a Google search, you can use the related search feature.
By doing this, you will get similar results or topics that you didn’t think about. Now you will have more content juice for your site.
So, try to write the most out your new content ideas.
Use a top-down strategy for your content
This is in line with what your competitor analysis. When you see a post that you like but you feel they’re missing something, you can write about that missing thing.
Pick a concrete topic rather than a broad one, or try to narrow down a big topic by going directly to the core.
You can start from the scratch and divide that big topic into four or five different chunks.
By doing this you will have very content-specific articles. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make them short.
Try to squeeze and get every little drop of good content out them.
Include the opinion of experts to add quality
I don’t want to discourage you but put that keyboard down. When I say expert, I don’t mean “go, send an email to Neil Patel”.
Whoever has been the field of the topic you’re writing about is a valuable source of information.
How can you get their voices in your content? Quotes, excerpts of interviews, or transcriptions.
This is good for two reasons. The first one is that they will enrich your post, adding some that perhaps you didn’t one.
The second reason to have the voice of experts in your content is that they might link to your article.
Optimize your own content to give it quality
The last but best tip you’ll have today. You can create new articles, but why to invest time when you have others that need to be revamped.
Go through them with a critical mind. Try to add more only if it makes sense.
Sometimes, it’s just about updating the information. Perhaps you are talking about statistics from 2014 but you are in 2018.
That happened many moons and I’m sure someone came with new information. Try to include it, too.
Also, with the distance of time, we tend to see things differently. Do you agree with what you wrote years ago? Bear this in mind.
And what happens with SEO?
You may wonder. It’s still there. In fact, you are playing with the rules Google wants to play with.
So, you are applying the ultimate SEO tactics to get your content rank higher.
But I know you are questioning this new way and how you will use headlines and keywords.
For starters, stuffing your content with the same keywords was never a good digital marketing strategy. It may have worked in the past, but a long time ago this stopped being a principle to follow.
Remember: you are writing for people first. Search engines come later.
You can still make sure your main headline, your title and meta description include the keyword. Yet, now you are free to use a more natural tone.
SEO is not about using the right words in your text anymore. It implies a more holistic approach where backlinks, page load speed, and device play an important.
But when it comes to length, think of your blog post as jeans, if they don’t give a bit more don’t try to stretch them. Find professional help.
I can help you with ideas or tools to create or repurpose your content, so you can boost your digital marketing strategy.
You don’t solely depend on quantity but on quality. So, if you like writing as much as I do, it is a great time to be alive.