Compared to long-form content, can a short blog post get a lot of organic search traffic?

For the purposes of this article, a short blog post is one that is below 1,000 words, hovering around 300 – 800 words most of the times, while a long form content is an article, tutorial or guide that is more than 1500 words, often going well beyond 1,800 words.

All over the web, there are many articles published that talk about the quantity and quality of articles you publish – and how they affect your content marketing results.

Most of these often lean on the side of quality.

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And that means writing lots of epic content.

Content that is great. Content that leaves people in awe. Content that has text in it but is also accompanied by graphics and great images.

Content that is backed with great research – with many sources cited and linked to within the article.

Which often means, to a lot of people, writing lots of words for just one single blog post.

Something that takes a lot of time and effort to do.

A 2,000 word article can take more than one hour to outline and write to completion.

In some niches, depending on the complexity of a subject and the kind of research and media involved during the creation process, such an article can take upwards of two hours for the writing, editing and proofreading.

You look at posts discussing what you should pay attention to when writing articles you want to rank highly on page one of Google search engine results pages and you can’t miss that point on word count.

Some content marketers and digital marketing agencies have done their own independent studies and suggest that the average length of blog posts that rank highly on page one of Google SERPs are over 2,000 words.

Meaning that is what you ought to aim for when writing new articles for your blog.

And this alone leads to a lot of anxiety  – which leads to a lot of procrastination and blogs that are updated infrequently.

Why do those who advocate for writing longer blog posts suggest word counts of 2000 words and above?

It’s a great way to cover a topic in detail

What some cover in three short blog posts, some cover in one pillar post.

And doing this often results in the kind of long blog posts that answers several questions a reader may have with just one article.

To some, this results in a good user experience. It’s efficient! Website visitors are thankful for the time put in to create the post and the writer is thankful for the results their effort gets.

It increases one’s chances of ranking highly for lots of long tail keywords with a single article

Often you hear that one of the best ways to rank highly on search engines is to create lots of content around different long tail keywords.

Well, some bloggers use long and detailed posts to answer lots of different questions using just one post.

The result is more organic search traffic, sometimes even for keywords they didn’t have in mind when writing.

In cases like this, one piece of content can result in lots of visitors referred to their site from search engines.

And even higher rankings, in some cases, when they go back to their post and edit it to include more information that address some of the question their post is ranking for that they only touched lightly the first time they hit publish.

It increases one’s chances of getting high quality back links from other blogs and websites

Truly remarkable content gets more links. Though the word is subjective, longer form content, backed with great research and visual elements, often have a higher chance of getting backlinks compared to most short form content on the web.

The content gets noticed!

It increases the  chances of posts getting shared many times on social networking sites and messaging apps

Similar to backlinks, people always tend to share things they consider remarkable / awesome on social media.

In-depth posts on various topics increases the likelihood of getting more shares – just because the content oozes quality and answers the questions readers may have in the best way possible.

The experience publishing less often while still getting lots of blog traffic

Blogs are always ready for more content and it can be tiring writing new posts everyday just to keep your site updated and your readers happy – which most bloggers often do by publishing many short articles during the week.

Some bloggers who advocate for long form content have found success writing fewer but longer posts – which lessens the anxiety bloggers who blog daily may experience.

They take their time writing epic posts, usually publishing less than three times a week.

Often from their own experiences and results, they naturally share their way of doing things, inviting more new bloggers to make sure they publish less often and switch from updating their sites with lots of short form content.

They share their results of going the long form route and often people who want to replicate their process and results go the same route.

So does this mean you don’t have a great chance of achieving the above, with short articles?

Why people think epic content only means long form content and not short form content?

The results they see mentioned in various reports, articles and case studies suggest so – even if indirectly.

Plus the bloggers they hold in high esteem tell them so – backing it up with their research.

No need to waste your effort writing some short post no one is going to care about. Write something epic that’ll blow everything out there to pieces, leaving only your piece standing…the test of time.

Instead of writing everyday and updating your blog every day, write and publish less often. Publish a few posts and focus on promoting them.

The problem is that quality isn’t synonymous with long form content.

Epic doesn’t always mean long blog posts. Quality doesn’t mean a short ebook disguised as an article.

Fewer words isn’t synonymous with less than stellar quality.

For many years there have been lots of content being published on the web telling newbies they shouldn’t publish short posts. Posts deemed generic sometimes just on the basis of word count alone.

But sometimes a look at some of the so-called long-form content is just a group of short posts put together – pieced into one article.

Meaning that any blogger can give their readers what they want: more great content that speak to their needs and wants. They can just choose to go about it differently. Some will publish lots of short posts. Some will publish few but longer posts.

And they’ll have their audience – people thankful for what they create.

Different bloggers, organizations and businesses have succeeded with either of the two forms of content, with more and more of them doing a mix of the two – doing some short posts and some long ones – as long as it aligns with their main reason why they blog.

So, it’s up to you to choose what you want to do with your blog (I suggest doing a mix of the two).

This reminds me of a time when I had a blog (sold it, and later bought the rights to the content when the new owner let the domain name expire) where my top ranking post was just slightly over 800 words.

In the same blog, I also had posts with 1500 words, 2000 words, 700 words, 1200 words and some news commentaries that were around 500 – 600 words.

The short posts would do well.

The long posts would do well.

It’s just a matter of what you are aiming for with your blog; what you want to address on a certain topic; what you want to bring to the attention of your readers; how you promote your content; your blogging time and the content marketing strategy you have in place.

Can a blog do well publishing short blog posts?

Yes, it can.

Especially if the thought of publishing long posts terrifies you and leads to paralysis by analysis.

I’d suggest dodging the procrastination that comes with this and to just focus on writing more and getting better at your craft.

You’ll notice that the more you write, the more you’ll come to find that most of your posts vary in length.

Soon enough you’ll find that you are publishing, to your blog and other blogs where you are a contributing writer, posts that are long and short.

Which will result in more data.

Data which you can use to determine the kind of word count that works for you and your readers.

There are many people having lots of success with shorter posts but you may not hear about their successes and results because they are operating web properties out of the internet marketing / blogging / make money online niches.

They are just focusing on giving their readers what they want – and most of the times doing so consistently without over-relying on a single source of web traffic like search engines.

You can see this in many niches: tech, blogging, personal development, news, finance, parenting among others.

At the end of the day the best question to ask is have I given my reader the best possible answers to a question they have which removes the anxiety that comes with focusing on a certain  number of words when writing, freeing you to focus on writing and publishing great content regardless if it’s short or long.

Short blog posts can get lots of organic search traffic from Bing, Google, Yahoo, Duckduckgo, Yandex and other search engines.

Comparing how much traffic they get compared to long-form content isn’t the point.

Yes, a long post, of say 11,000 words, can rank for many keywords. But so would five or ten short articles (on the same topic with the same amount of words) that are well inter-linked.

So, pay attention to what is being suggested out there but also remember to do your own tests and see what’s working for your blog – and readers.

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  34. How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It by Mark Cuban
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