Does Size Matter? The Age Old Battle…Length vs. Quality

One of the oldest questions around…does size matter? Or is it quality that’s more important? You know you have fought for one side of the debate or the other or possibly both at one time or another in your life. We had the question posed to us today and have heard the experts debate the question quite a bit lately so as we always do when we don’t have an answer we turned to our friends online. Let us just say before we share our findings that people can be equally passionate for both length and quality…finding a clear answer is most challenging.

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking but we are talking blog post size here people… you naughty types may be disappointed but we hope you’ll still love us (we do love you after all! LOL!) Two of our favorite bloggers are quite different in style: Chris Brogan writes shorter posts, more often – sometimes daily, and Olivier Blanchard writes longer posts less often. Both work and both pose problems: sometimes we are left wanting more with a post that feels too short, or we feel rushed and don’t have time to read and absorb a longer post.

We did some quick research to see if we could get any fact-based data to determine if post length really makes a difference with organic SEO…and wouldn’t you know it? The facts are prey to the argument as well. What we found from blogbuildingu.com is there is a keyword density issue that may factor into post length and seo – there also might be a cap that search engines limit in terms of words on the page they search. The post says “it seems to be the best practice that you should create content with at least 250-300 words and avoid exceeding the 1000 words limit.”

On the other hand, smallbusinesssem.com asserts that there is no perfect length and that variety is optimal.  At the end of the day, what we found is there are a variety of ways to help improve your SEO results and size is actually of minimal impact. If you are desperate for SEO improvement and willing to try and manipulate the search engines (remember, if they find out they may boot you all together) you can get some good tips and tricks from the seoblackhat.com masters directly. This whole site is dedicated to exploiting search so enter at your own risk.

We decided to take a look at one of our more popular posts to see if we could come up with any possible reasons to persuade us one way or the other. Our WordPress vs. Tumblr post is one the search engines seem to love based on our google analytics report. After reviewing the post we came up with three possible reasons it has had long-term search success….

  1. We believe the post title can make a real impact if it includes solid keywords and popular phrases. WordPress vs. Tumblr is a phrase that people seem to search pretty often…at least per Google Adwords analysis tool.
  2. We use the words WordPress and Tumblr throughout the post multiple times feeding the search engines the keywords they love.
  3. We populated the ‘all in one seo pack’ plug-in for the post with all the information fields appropriately filled in.

Our final analysis… we should focus on WHAT words to use vs. how many. We shouldn’t get hung up with the number of words we write and instead just focus on writing…often.  At the end of the day, don’t let quantity hinder your quality. A short meaningful post is always going to be better than no post at all. We would love for you to share your preference in our comment section!

Cheers,

Lisa

  • http://joshuatitsworth.com Josh

    For me at least, keyword density hasn’t played much of a factor in terms of SEO. Sure there are some that would say that ‘stuffing’ a post with keywords gets you found, but more and more just showing up isn’t good enough any more. So many other metrics are coming into play. So yeah initially the post stuffed with keywords may appear higher, but over the long term (which is how SEO should be planned) the higher quality post without stuffing keywords will outrank it. The better quality the post, the more time people will spend on the page and more links that post will get. It’s a trickle down effect. Quality gives way to longevity.

    • http://twitter.com/lqualls4444 Lisa Qualls

      Great points Josh…you also mention something we neglected to include in the post and that is the power of linkbacks. We aren’t search algorithm experts by any means but from what we have heard … backlinks / linkbacks (another debate for another day on how to refer to these links, lol!) is one of the primary factors in being found by the search engines. I’m also like you re: your preference…count me in as a “quality” fan any day!

  • http://www.twitter.com/andreipetrik Andrei Petrik

    Neither matters if no one wants to read your articles. The number one priority should be writing for your audience. Write in as many words as necessary to get your point across. If you write for people, they will come back and tell their friends to visit your site.

    • http://twitter.com/lqualls4444 Lisa Qualls

      Agreed Andrei! Another vote for the quality camp it seems… :)