Among bloggers and marketing professionals, the question of the optimal length of blog articles arises again and again. We also often discuss with our customers how long a good blog post should be. But does the perfect text length really exist? Some experts argue that long texts beyond 2,000 words are the best. Others see short texts as the better option. Fact is: Blog posts have to be informative and entertaining to please the readers. However, an enthusiastic readership is only half the battle. To make sure that the blog can be found and is read at all, it must also please Google, Bing and Co. This is the big challenge: How can I make sure that my blog article is well received by readers and search engines?

Quality vs. SEO
A good blog is characterized above all by the quality of its posts. No one will read a blog regularly unless the articles add value – or at least entertain the readers. What characterizes a good blog post? A captivating headline that arouses interest is just as much a part of it as a meaningful structure, an entertaining writing style, and a high information content. The length of the blog article is also an important criterion, but it is often overlooked. Because the length of the text not only determines how the text is received by the readers but also the search engine ranking.

The perfect length of blog posts is a hotly debated topic. That much is clear: There is no real solution. Rather, it requires careful consideration, as the readers’ attention span contrasts with the information content of the blog. A good article should be informative, but never boring. Too much text threatens to overwhelm the readers and eventually they lose their attention. An analysis of the publishing platform Medium showed that the average attention span when reading a text is about seven minutes. This corresponds approximately to a text length of 1,400 to 1,750 words.

However, the length of a blog article has an impact not only on readers but also on the search engine rankings of the article. There are many factors that influence the ranking: SEO, keywords, links – and the length of the text. So how can I satisfy both sides – readers and search engines?

Short and on Point
Even the limit values are difficult to define. Where does a short blog article stop – where does a long one start? Usually, the borderline is drawn by the 1000-word mark. Let’s define “short articles” as blog articles under 1000 words. What are the advantages of such a short post?

  • Short articles can be written faster than long ones. This means that I can update my blog several times a week with new content. The posting frequency is, therefore, higher, the blog is constantly updated and it increases in the rankings.
  • Short texts can be read faster. Readers can also read them in short breaks and remember the content better.
  • After all, short articles are the best way to bring information to the reader quickly. If I want to convey information fast, I should not extend my text unnecessarily. Few words often say more.

A short blog post has its advantages and justifications. It is important that, despite its brevity, it still contains enough information and offers added value. But it shouldn’t be stuffed with content either, a high keyword density is rated negatively by search engines. Moreover, it makes the text illegible.

The Never Ending Story
Long blog posts are longer than 1,000 words – many bloggers even write posts that are several thousand words long. However, such a contribution has to be excellently written and edited in order to keep the readers happy. When is the effort worthwhile?

  • In long texts, you can go much deeper into the material than in short texts. Particularly in the case of complex topics, it is reasonable to go into detail in order to provide the reader with the best information possible.
  • A higher number of words is rated positively by search engines and can lead to a better ranking.

To prevent a text from becoming an infinite story that bores the reader, there are some aspects to consider: On the one hand, the text must be meaningful and clearly structured. Paragraphs, subtitles, text boxes and bullet points help readers to find their way around the text and navigate over important points. In addition, pictures and graphics help to keep the readers happy. Finally, you should make sure to avoid unnecessary fillers and formulations. The text is long enough, so it doesn’t need to be extended unnecessarily.

The perfect length does not exist
There are reasons for both long and short blog posts. How one decides ultimately depends on the author’s personal style, the topic of the contribution, the target group and finally on the author’s intention. There is no perfect length.

In the end, you need to ask yourself the following question: How many words do I need to communicate a topic to my readers in an informative and entertaining way? In the case of topics such as health, finance or technology, which require a lot of explanations, detailed texts are suitable to delve deeply into the subject and explain complex facts. Short texts, in turn, are useful for informing readers quickly about a topic or news, or for expressing their own opinions. The most important thing is that the text offers its audience real added value.

Readers and search engines also have different preferences. While readers often prefer short texts that they can read in short breaks, search engines rate long texts better. In this case we need to evaluate as well: What is more important to me – satisfied readers or good rankings?

By the way, this blog post has exactly 989 words and kept you busy for about four minutes.

This article was written by Stefan Schmidt, Account Manager at HBI.

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