Short versus Long Content

Short and Long Form Content – It’s Not So Much about The Length

Treat your blog as a business and not as a hobby, they say.

Every post, every email, every ad has to be centred on making a sale. Makes sense. After all, you are in the business of making money online and you cannot afford waste any amount of energy doing anything otherwise.

But, honestly, after a point, you get tired of all these tips.

Somewhere in between, you also heard of the relevance of the long-form content, right?

Neil Patel says (and with proof) that the long-form content wins as far as rankings are concerned. Maybe. But is it possible to churn out a 2500-word post every day or every alternate day?

Do you have that many things to say every day?

Do you have anything to add to the “value” of your content?

If you’re outsourcing your content writing to experts on payment of a fee, that’s something else.

But when you’re blogging solo or when you’re a one-man show, it may not be possible to feed the search engines with your 2500-word posts on a daily basis.

Don’t Get Flustered over the Long vs Short Post Debate

You need not get yourself too hung up on the short versus the long content. If you can say what you intended to say within 800 words, that’s fine. Why get superfluous with trying to keep up with the word limit?

Unless your content demands it – an academic writing, a “how to” technical post or a list – if you can get what you really need to say covered within a thousand words, there’s nothing wrong.

When you write long, there’s also the risk of losing your reader’s attention.

There are extremely popular blogs that publish short content, the most famous of them being the Seth Godin blog. All his posts are incredibly short. Yet they get shared and liked across all channels. But Seth Godin is not only an authority figure, but he’s also a brand unto himself, you may argue. True.

Isn’t the Long-Form Content a Winner Always?

From the SEO perspective, long-form content keeps the readers engaged on your page longer. The time spent on your page is an important ranking factor.

The longer content helps educate the readers more effectively. So, even if your content isn’t found immediately in searches, when it gets found, it is bound to educate your readers.

There’s enough evidence to show the better share-ability of the long-form content over the shorter ones.

The average word count of a Google first-page result is around 1800 words.

But is it safe to assume that the longer content wins?

The better social-share count or ranking is more because of the emotive connect the writing had with the readers. It has nothing to do about the number of words in the content.

It is because when you write longer, it feels more complete. The information is more thorough.

Should You Write Long Always?

Forget about keeping the readers engaged, the truth is the long-form content is harder to write.

And when you already have the word limit in your mind, cutting out the frills is easier said than done. You’re at risk of sounding repetitive if you try to stretch an idea that can be said in fewer words.

The long-form content needs a lot of research to actually stand out from the rest. It does not get ranked automatically as a default. It takes time to write.

You need not write long always. Period.

So is it Okay to Write Short Posts?

First, let’s take our minds from the short versus long debate.

We’re writing for our audience, aren’t we?

Shorter posts can tease or tantalise and persuade a reader to look for further information on your site itself.

The advantage is for the writer too because shorter posts are not too physically and emotionally taxing as the longer posts. Means, you have more energy to stay motivated and get inspired for your next blog post idea.

If you can have video embeds, short posts actually look great.

It’s clichéd but people are getting more and more impatient and with such short attention spans, short posts come as a relief and are more appealing.

The key is in setting the right tone and “feel” of your writing.

In the end, it’s all about communicating with the readers and finding that elusive connect.

Ideally, your blog should have a mix of both the long-form and short posts.

Share your honest thoughts and provide actionable information.

Use bullets and paragraphs so that even if your content is short, it doesn’t feel that way.

So, instead of getting overly worried about the length of your writing, better focus on your intent.

What is that you’re trying to put across?

Blogging may be about business but it’s also about having fun. It’s about sharing what you know.

It’s also about finding the right voice to express your thoughts.

Happy blogging!

8 comments On Short and Long Form Content – It’s Not So Much about The Length

  • Very interestng post, this is something that us like writers we get in the trouble of the long form content, sometimes it´s really needed becuase the subject that you want to talk about it, but sometimes is not needed and still there´s people doing a long post, I did myself, but then I started to see the trouble of seeing my audience leaving before they finish to read my post. It took me a time to try to found out the solution and trying to be more direct in the moment to write, but when it is really need to get more deep I always tell in my post that there will be more information with more details and then in someway tha audience knows already what they will see, and now I have people who really reads my posts for complete and that feels so good. 

    • Thanks for your insights. When we are new to blogging, we see many contradictory views on various aspects and the most common of them has to be the short versus the long-form content debate. And when you see established and authority figures telling the advantages of the long-form content over the shorter counterparts, it’s easy to get carried away. Blogging is all about providing actionable information as I said in my article. It’s not about making a simple story into a movie. Longer posts have advantages but they have to be filled with good stuff. Merely expanding a post with wordy sentences will not do. The focus should be, and it may sound cliched, on the value in the content.

  • Great article!

    Yes indeed, all you hear is that long posts are better for the rankings, however I saw it already, that my short posts are almost as equally ranked as the long ones. It seems that the Search Engines not only look how long it is, but more what is INSIDE of the content. What do you have with a post of 2000 words and stretched out and repetitive, and people get bored and they turn away after a minute, or it is 1000 words long and they stay entertained and they actually buy something.

    So indeed, length is not always the most important factor.

    Thanks for sharing it with us!

    • Thanks for dropping by, Emmanuel. Glad that you liked my post and the import in it. The key is mix up your blog with short as well as long-form content. It’s the value that you provide that counts. If you can provide value with a less-than-1000-words post, so be it. It will rank well if people like it. If you write a roundabout, wordy post, chances are that readers won’t stay long on your post. So even if it was a long post, the ranking will not happen when you have a high bounce rate.

  • I absolutely agree with you.

    Let me write about a real example:

    In my local website, I got ranked on the top 3 for a keyword with a 300 word article and I am getting around 1500 unique visitors from that single post. I was able to outrank many longer articles. At first, I didn’t know what is happening but eventually I found out. 

    I have a short video in the article which is apparently very useful for my readers and keeps them on the page for a few minutes. Google understands this and ranks my article because it is actually helping the visitors.

    So, although length is a proven SEO factor and it is always a good practice to write in more detail, I think the more important thing is to be natural and helpful.

    Best,

    Albert

    • Thanks for your comment and your real example. Indeed when you write a short post, it’s always nice if you could embed a video or an infographic. From an SEO perspective, as you understand, it is one way to keep your reader engaged on your page longer. A good ranking factor this one is as is evident from your short post that you said ranked well. As beginners, it’s easy to get carried away with the bias in favour of longer posts. But longer post does not mean a post with many words per se. It actually means a long, information-rich post. And, like you say, be natural.

  • Thanks for sharing your opinion and experience on this topic. The question of long vs short blog posts was spinning around in my head for quite a while now. Your article confirms, what I just did intuitively. If I was done with what I wanted to say in my post, I left it that way, regardless if I had a 800 or 2000 word count.

    I like your suggestion to keep a good mix of long and short articles on your blog. Nevertheless, what would you say is the minimum length of a post? 

    • Thanks for reading my post, Felix. I would like to keep the minimum length of an article to around 800 words. The article you read was a little over 800 words. I have written 4000-word plus articles here in this blog itself, and I have a mix of short and long posts. It depends, and needless to say, on the topic. The longer posts I wrote demanded that while in shorter ones like this, I thought I could convey what I needed to say. This was not a training post nor was it a list of tips on how to write short posts that rank well in search pages. The sweet spot as far as the length is concerned seems to be somewhere between 1600 words to 2400 words. But that is when you can fill out real good stuff. Otherwise, things will sound repetitive and I’m sure, you’ll agree to it.

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