Dear KissMetrics Reply On 2k Words
So I read an article from Kissmetrics this week that addresses the topic on how long your articles should be. That article can be found here. I'm sure you've heard me talk about the importance of content, not only as it relates to your visitors but in relation to developing that BFF relationship with Google too. Now understandably.. not everyone may agree on this, but as far as I'm concerned while writing for my readers is the priority, I'll gladly embrace all the Google love I can get as well.
Kissmetrics makes several valid points about article length. In my post on 380 subscribers in 30 days I spoke about how as bloggers, particularly new bloggers.. we don't typically think about the time that it takes to get a blog post ready for publication. With respect to this post, my point is that as bloggers we don't always pay attention to the length of a post either. I certainly don't want to make any bandwagon statements that unilaterally categorize everyone the same, but in speaking for myself, I know that I didn't take that into consideration as I began to blog and understand how this is done too.
The Magic Number
In March, my first blog post didn't even account for 100 words. Kissmetrics does highlight that quality is more important than some arbitrary number that you say you have to meet everytime you publish content to your audience. Without question, longer posts do look better, add more value to the reader and are more appealing to the search engines. Regardless of what you hear across the internet, there's no magic number that equates to success with respect to article length. However that doesn't mean that you can simply produce "thin" content and think that you're going to rank and do well. I'm certainly no one's fortune teller, but in this case, that's a pretty half-baked strategy if you're serious about writing and producing a good product.
As for myself, while it doesn't always happen, I "typically" fall into the 1000 to 1500 word range or at least close to it for a blog post. My longest piece of content published to date has been in upwards of 1700 words. Kissmetrics, in their article discloses that they stay in the range of 1k to 2k word posts and have published articles twice that length as well. The reality is that when you publish content you should be thinking with this mindset: overdeliver or at least deliver more than what your reader would expect to receive. That's not always an easy thing to do, but it's having that goal in mind that matters. Even if you don't hit the target, you consistently have something to work towards. That goal can ensure that you're always working towards providing value to your readership.
The "X" Factor
Kissmetrics says in their article that they believe in helping their users. They produce valuable content and there's no debate as to such claims as it relates to the benefit they want to give their readers. They go on to say that if they think an article of a certain length is going to help that user then that's the length of the article they will assemble. However, I will say in response that it's hard to evaluate whether an article of any "specific" length is going to be that enlightening solution for the end user. With that said, it takes me back to the original point that focusing on quality should be the priority as opposed to a mindset that my post has to be "x" amount of words.
Usually, it's pretty transparent when you read a blog post or an article that "fills" in order to make the posts longer. It dilutes the content and doesn't particularly do a good job of staying on topic and that can have a negative impact on your audience. That's not to say that engaging in that practice is completely off limits. Lets face it, even some of the most notable and trusted blogs and informational sources have done this as well on rare occasions. However, be that as it may, as Kissmetrics mentions in their article, regardless of the word count... "Users first. Always." Never dismiss how important your readers are to your blog or your website.
With such focus on length, please don't go bananas and get overworked on stressing over the length. Is it important ? Yep ! You better believe it is, because Google has been very transparent about the fact that "content is king" and they favor those who publish often, publish readable content and publish content that gets shared. With that being said, posts that are longer in length typically get shared more often and likewise receive more user engagement as a result. That just doesn't happen with thin, short and poorly constructed written material. Even if Google isn't saying that every article you publish has to be a certain length, they lay enough breadcrumbs for us to figure this out for ourselves so that we can stay competitive in the game. You've also heard.. find the influencers in your niche and do what they do. There's a reason why they're at the top. If it's good enough for them, chances are it's something you should be doing too. If they're writing lengthy articles, it's simply a good strategy to adopt the same strategy.
Kissmetrics and just as many SEO'ers across the internet understand this too that Google has many different factors that weigh into their algorithm. We'll never truly know everything they've got mixed up in their latest batch of search engine Kool-aid, but what can be said with a fair degree of confidence is that word count alone will not guarantee any constitution of ranking good or bad.
Kissmetrics article on article length and this post in response to it sends the same message in saying that you shouldn't focus soley on the length of your blog posts or pieces of content that you intend to write. Focus on the assets that you can control and not on things you can't. You can control the value that you give your readers. You can't control what Google does. If there's one thing that we know about Google, it is that they want relevancy and they will continue to make changes to their algorithm as often as they feel it's warranted. There's absolutely nothing you can do about that, so focus on the most important thing that you can do something about...
Giving your readers content that will keep them coming back for more.
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