There are many myths in SEO. One of my least favourite is that 300 words is the optimal length of a blog post. This is simply not true.
This particular myth was propagated by SEO agencies, looking to slot their 3 magic keyword-rich anchor text links into vessels of mass-produced content that had some semblance of meaning or value.
All they were actually doing was link building with the least amount of effort at a time when this particular tactic worked (or at least it worked better than it does now).
Somehow, this became the done thing. People who don’t necessarily have an interest in SEO, but are involved in creating content for digital media tend to have the opinion that this is an optimal length for their blog posts. This is rubbish – I’ll tell you why.
How long should a blog post be?
I’ve just searched in Google the above phrase. Here are the top 5 results, and how many words are in each post:
1) 334 words
2) 885 words
3) 576 words
4) 460 words
5) 3,191 words
Not that it matters, but the average word count is 815.
What does this tell us about how long a blog post should be? It doesn’t matter. All that does matter is whether or not the post is interesting, engaging and valuable to the reader.
Write a 2-word blog post like Michael Martinez – it still ranks. Write a 5,270-word post like Viper Chill (you’ll need to set an afternoon aside for this, but it’s worth it) – his blogs rank and get tonnes of social action. The truth is, if it’s good I’ll read it and I’ll share it, and so will your audience.
Creating value in blog posts
I hear it all the time now – quality, valuable content is key to SEO success. This is correct, and this has always been the case. Ask yourself this:
Can you create value in 300 words?
Can you squeeze enough useful information into 300 words that your audience will endorse it with a social share?
Can you make someone care in 300 words?
Of course there are times when the answer to the above questions is yes. But online, if you want to rise above the cesspit of posts being mass produced in content sweatshops, I think you have to try harder.
The golden rules of blogging
There are two key rules to blogging:
1) Know who you’re talking to.
2) Know why they should care.
Making someone care is not easy – you have to have a firm understanding of their beliefs and their motivations. This is likely to be the only way you can change an individual’s perception of a brand or product.
The point is, never set a word count as a target in your blog post. You’re target should be to share something meaningful – be it a piece of advice, an opinion, a piece of research or anything else.
If you’re blogging on behalf of a client, or for personal reasons, you have to ask yourself what’s more important: fulfilling a set quota of posts per month or providing genuine value to your readers?
Opt for the latter and rise above the content cesspit.
This blog post is 543 words.