I’m not the first to make a bee-line for word count and I’m sure I won’t be the last, yet still the argument rages on about how long content should be.
In fact, it’s most definitely the number one question I get asked at any talk I do, and if I was the betting kind of man I’d probably have made my fortune from how many times I get asked. But here I am on my soap box once again batting down the question of – “How many words should my blog post be”?
Unfortunately, before I can give you the answer, you need to understand where this ridiculous analogy has come from in the first place.
When Google’s Panda update was implemented in 2011 it began to punish websites with thin content, and by that it means useless uninformative drivel that in no way shape or form is helping the searcher.
From this dramatic change digital marketers seemed to set up two camps. Some started to play school teacher setting out guidelines that content should be a minimum of 300 words. Whilst others went to the other extreme entirely, declaring that only those with thousands of words would be looked upon in favour by google. But how much content would ever be enough for them? We’d end up in a black hole of words that are never ending.
But there is NO MAGIC NUMBER.
There I said it.
If you’re setting yourself a word count, then you need to stop and look at what you’re doing.
It is true that long copy generally outperforms short copy, and some research has found that the average word count of top ranked searches is around 2,416 words.
But you need to remember the person reading the content in the first place and not the number. By setting yourself a word count you’ve dismissed their needs entirely and may as well be writing for a robot, because when did you last look an article and say, “hold on a minute, this is only 500 words, I’m not reading this?” – probably never!
You’ll be glad to know that in Content Marketing, it’s the one place where size doesn’t matter. Your article should be well researched with data to back it up, credible resources, explanatory, well structured and answer the question you set out in the first place.
It doesn’t matter if you write 400 or 4,000 words, if you can say everything you need to, then that’s all that truly matters. Writing for the sake of optimising your website, is the wrong reason to write. And whilst you may have secured your audience through other areas, when they get to you they won’t be staying for long.
You may argue that people don’t have time to read those 2,000 words you wrote, but If it’s well structured and easy to scan through, you will soon find that your content performs better than if it was just a few hundred words.
So in answer to your question, your blog post can many as many words as it needs to be, as long as you’re writing quality content that is going to be useful and engage with the audience.