This is one of the most frequently searched, asked and debated questions in SEO content writing.
How long is long enough for a blog post?
Remember the not-so-good old days when a 300-word blog post was the norm? And it had to be stuffed with keywords to ‘work’?
Luckily, those days are behind us now.
Search engines are smarter and they penalize blog posts that add little or no value for the reader.
But how is this connected to blog post length? Can’t you get value from a 300-word blog post?
Of course you can!
Seth Godin is an excellent example for making a great impact with very short blog posts. But, to be honest, Seth Godin doesn’t need to be found in search engines.
People know him. So he can write as much or as little as he pleases.
If you’re not Seth Godin, read on and find out what the ideal length of a blog post is from an SEO perspective.
Let’s take a look at the context first.
Ranking factors and user experience
There are hundreds of ranking factors. No one can name them all or tell you the exact order in which they matter.
What we do know for sure is that user experience is one of the most important ones.
And so is the length of the text.
In fact, there is a correlation between them.
Write too much on a topic and the user will get bored and walk away from your website. This will increase your bounce rate and lower your average time spent on page – both of them ranking factors.
Write too little on a topic and the user will go elsewhere to look for the info that’s missing from your blog post. You get the same results as above.
Speaking of user experience, we all know that attention spans get shorter by the day.
Does this mean we should keep things short and sweet?
There are people who want to read a lot on a certain topic because they want to learn all about it. You can’t cover the basics of SEO in 200 words now, can you?
So what’s the magic number?
Sadly, there is no one-size-fits-all for this question.
As the owner of a digital marketing agency that offers SEO content writing services to its clients, I, too get asked a lot about the ideal length of a blog post.
To answer it, I look at two very important metrics:
- Who is the target audience made up of
- How many words do you need to explain a topic thoroughly
As you can imagine, both of these metrics vary from industry to industry.
Let’s see what the statistics are saying on this matter.
Numbers don’t lie…or do they?
A study from 2016 says that the average length of a blog post that ranks in the first page is 1,900 words.
Moz says that the average length of the first 10 results is more than 2,000 words.
In fact, most research points to that number – 2,000 words. For the clients at my agency, I have discovered the same thing – posts over 2,000 do great in SERPs.
On my agency’s blog on digital marketing, the length varies between 500 words (in our early days) to 5,000 words for comprehensive guides. Most of our blog posts are around 2,000 words, as well. Still, we have the occasional blog post that’s barely 1,000 words or that barely hits 1,500 words.
But that’s not because of the numbers above.
We all look at studies and statistics to get an idea of where to start. But we also know that numbers can be easily manipulated.
For instance, when our clients ask about post length, I could tell them they should always write as much as possible. This means we would get paid more.
However, the clients that stayed with us for more than three years didn’t do so because we gave them advice that benefits us, not them. They stayed because we got results for them.
And, in order to get results, you should only look at the stats to give you a starting point. Fill in the blanks yourself.
Go beyond the numbers
If you set out to hit a certain word count for every blog post you’re missing the point of SEO entirely.
Your goal shouldn’t be to ‘trick’ search engines. It should be to offer the best possible content on a certain topic.
No one is going to read a 3,000-word review of running shoes.
But they just might read ten 300-word reviews of different types of running shoes.
On the other hand, a comprehensive real estate guide needs more than 300 words to help the potential buyer make a decision.
You get the point.
My go-to strategy for being comprehensive enough to make both Google and readers happy has two simple steps:
- Map out the content before writing a single word. Jot down the main points you need to focus on.
- Write naturally and trim down any unnecessary words. Stop when you feel you have nothing useful left to say, irrespective of what the word count is at that point.
Search engines aren’t trying to punish you by updating algorithms and changing the rules of the SEO game frequently. In fact, they are trying to do the same thing you are – offer users a better experience and more relevant results.
Focus on that instead of counting words and you’ll see your rankings soar.
And, if you need help with SEO content writing that hooks your readers and helps your rankings, my team and I can help. Check out our copywriting and content writing services and let’s talk!