Long Posts versus Short Posts

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Once upon a time, the conventional wisdom was that Google wouldn’t index, and therefore rank, any thing shorter than 300 words. I wrote an article about how 300 words is basically nothing, noting that an introduction and conclusion could take up 100 of those words fairly easily, leaving just 200 words of content. Then, people started saying the minimum was 400 words.

long or short post graphicJust as well known, but perhaps less shared, was that there was a pseudo-maximum length for Google of about 1,000 words (though some said even less) because the search engine company wouldn’t index anything more than 1,000 words. There was a rather famous affiliate marketer who called B.S. on this, but I don’t remember who.

Either way, I’ve noticed two things about myself.

First, I type fast and I think fast. That means that I write fast. 300 words is nothing for me, because by the time my fingers have stopped and I take a sip of coffee, I’ve already dropped 150 words on a page. Second, this also means that I am likely to hit 750 to 1,000 words without even trying. Sometimes, I find myself up over 1,000 words, and then end up adding more as I proofread and clarify. For example, my post today at my freelance writing blog about coworking as a freelance writer versus using a home office. It was about 1,250 words when I reached the end, and it got longer as I expounded on the value of coffee at a coworking place.

In the past, I have split these longer posts up because, “Hey, two posts for one,” and because of the possible 1K barrier from Google. These days, however, I’m not so sure that is the right move. For starters, I hate having to click, Next Page, over and over again. Second, I think Google is indexing further and longer than it used to. As a result, a longer article might benefit from additional keyword matching, or more specifically from alternate keyword matching, while still holding the rank of the primary keyword.

There is a limit, of course. Scrolling down and down and down can be just as annoying as clicking, Next Page, all of the time. So, 10,000 words on a single post is not the way to go. However, I’m starting to think that anything short of 2,000 words probably can stay together, especially if there is not a nature place to break it up into smaller pieces.

If I get more data and flush this idea out a little more, I might go with a more formal piece on ArcticLlama, but for now, it’s just a thought in progress.

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