Welcome to Marketing Monday, where I give you tips and tricks for being your own content marketer.
When people ask me how much I charge for a blog post, I tend to quote my price for a 500-word post, and specify that the price is for around 500 words (400-600 words). If they want their post(s) to be longer or shorter, I’ll modify my prices accordingly.
A lot of people ask me: Why 500 words?
It seems like a completely random and arbitrary number and that’s because it is.
I don’t know who at Google decided 500 words was the minimum length for a quality post, but the fact is that it is now part of the algorithm. If your blog post is 500 words or longer, it ranks slightly higher than posts that are less than 500 words.
That’s not to say you can’t go longer. Plenty of people regularly publish blog posts that are 1,000+ words, and research shows longer content does get a fair amount of traction for various reasons. But 500 words is the minimum length for a blog post to increase its search rankings.
Keep It Simple
So why is 500 words my default post length? I may not want to go shorter for SEO purposes, but why not go longer?
Despite the fact that research supports an argument for longer content, there are also plenty of reasons to keep your posts short, especially if you’re posting frequently (weekly, or even daily).
For starters, it’s easier on you and/or your professional content marketer to produce shorter posts. If you’re doing it yourself, you won’t have to devote as much time to developing content as you will if you’re producing posts that are 1,000+ words long. If you’re hiring a professional content marketer, it’s cheaper to hire them for shorter pieces.
Get To Know Your Audience
Preferred content length will vary depending on your audience. If you’re writing highly technical pieces for other professionals in your industry, they might want longer content that really digs deep into the issue with specific resources to back up your claims.
Personally, I know a lot of my readers are busy professionals without a lot of time to spare. You don’t want to spend all morning reading a blog post, but you can probably afford to spend a few minutes reading 500-600 words. Longer posts are more likely to be skimmed than read all the way through. I have bailed on more than a few blog posts that I started reading before realizing how long they were and deciding I did not have that kind of time.
The Argument For Shorter Content
Plenty of successful content marketers write posts that are less than 500 words long. Length is just one aspect of SEO, and if you’re doing everything else right (using keywords and headings, posting consistently, etc.) and doing other things to build your audience (writing engaging, quality content and posting it to the social media channels where they hang out, etc.) then you can still grow your audience.
Shorter posts might also make sense if you post morefrequently. If you post every week, or even every day, you can safely stay under 500 words because the sheer amount of content you’re producing will get attention, both from Google and your target audience.
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