There are two sides to every argument, and although for the past few years the prevailing wisdom about blog posts has been “the shorter the better,” new research suggests that longer articles (Over 2,000 words)- rather than blog posts actually rank much higher on Google searches. You can see a full discussion with more details on the research here: http://spinsucks.com/marketing/long-form-content/ The below chart shows the average length of posts or articles ranked in the 1-10 positions in Google searches.
But what about those of you that like writing short posts? Or how about those of us that prefer reading short posts? My take on the argument is simple. If you are writing in a highly competitive blog environment about highly coveted terms, like Asbestos Litigation or Mass Torts- than having longer articles may be required to make it to the top of search results. Google wants to give people what they are looking for, and usually that requires more substance than can be fit in 500 words. White papers and long articles can be very powerful tools for marketing, but they are far more difficult to create, especially if you are going for something that will gain traction. Shorter posts will still get you higher in the search rankings if there isn’t as much competition for those terms, or simply put, if you are the only person writing about that topic.
Short posts are built for social networks. They are short content snacks as opposed the full meal a white paper would provide. When I say short posts are built for social networks, its because people usually only share what they understand and have time to read. If you are looking to create content that will be passed around, short form content (500 words or less) is still a good strategy- but an even better strategy is a mixed strategy. Short form content to validate interest in the topic and long form content to build on short form successes.
Will this new research mark a movement away from short form content? I don’t think so, but I think it certainly helps qualify the not completely accurate idea that shorter posts always win the day.