Marketing w/ Garrett (8 Part Series)
Note: This is old content from GarrettMickley.com. I am no longer pursuing a digital marketing career, but I didn’t want the content to go to waste, so I’m relocating it here. I hope the Dev.to community finds it useful.
I've been getting a question frequently: how long should my blog posts be? Is there a minimum word amount for blog posts? Maximum?
No. There isn't. People will tell you otherwise, but I'm telling you there isn’t.
Side note: this only counts when online. Magazines and other print media will require specific word counts because of space. I'm not saying that you should ignore those word counts. In fact, those word counts are extremely important. The only time word count really doesn't matter is when online.
When writing for your dev blog, write until you've said everything you need to say, regardless of word count.
The perfect length of a blog post is however long it takes to get the point across.
In SEO (Search Engine Optimization), the rule of thumb is frequently changing on blog post length. It was 300 words. Then bumped up to 500 words. Then bumped up to 1000 words. I don't keep up with it anymore, so I don't even know where it is now.
It doesn't matter.
Google and the other search engines are going to find your content if your content is good. They'll rank it well if your content is good. Focus on creating valuable content for readers, and you won't need to worry about those stupid SEO rules.
The thing about those SEO rules is that they had to be enforced because SEO's were all posting as much trash as possible. It was all about more pages and more keyword optimization and stuffing and all that. Of course, they're trying to get hundreds, if not thousands, of pages out every month, which is expensive, so they shoot for lowest word count possible to get them all out. There can't be duplicate content, either, so each page needs to be written individually.
The problem with SEO is that it has always encouraged sketchy practices, work-arounds, and generally just trashy work for the sake of getting more rankings. SEO's would sell companies that more rankings are important.
What's important is getting the right traffic, not as much traffic as possible, and then turning that traffic into leads/conversions. Of course, that has been done with SEO by many companies, but I have found that all companies do much better when they focus less on SEO and more on content marketing.
Of course, I still write with SEO in mind, but I'm focused more on providing value to readers and website visitors, which ultimately*turns them into fans*.
Here's the thing about writing content that provides value: the word count doesn't matter as long as you get the point across.
You need to provide the value the user is looking for.
If they found you on Google, because you're ranking well, they're looking for an answer to their question. Answer it. Don't fluff the content with a bunch of BS in the beginning or end to reach the word count that some SEO recommended to you for every page.
I know you’ve seen recipe’s do this. It’s so annoying.
A lot of stuff, especially “how to” guides, will come under whatever word count is recommended. I bet you can find a ton of them ranking well in Google that are under 500, 300, even 100 words.
They're ranking well because they have been seen to provide value to visitors to the site. The people who read the content share it because it answered their question and they want the rest of the world to know the answer to their problems, too. People are nice like that. Sometimes.
I hope I got the point across.
This was not in the original post of this; I’m writing it up fresh for you on Dev.to.
Here’s how I figure out the perfect length for a blog post, as far as SEO goes:
- Do a Google search for the term you want the post to rank for.
- Look at the top 10 results.
- Copy what they did, but do it better.
That’s really it. That’s all it takes.