Every blogger wants to know how long a blog post should be for search engine optimization (SEO).
The problem is if you ask ten people you’ll get ten different answers. The best blog length isn’t as straightforward as you think.
Successful content doesn’t come in a one size fits all formula. Your content is more personal than that. Instead of concentrating on word count, ask what you want your blog to do.
- Are you trying to build your audience?
- Get more engagement and comments?
- Do you want people to share your blog on social media?
- Are you trying to persuade someone to buy your product?
- Do you want your blog to rank in the search results?
The ideal blog post length varies according to your publishing strategy. Once you know your aim, you can focus on the right post length for your goal.
Keep reading to learn how different blog post lengths get you more likes, shares, and links.
Why Does Blog Post Length Matter?
Your audience is unique. Don’t assume they only want to read short posts. They may want a longer content for complicated topics. The critical question is how long does your post need to be to explain your product or service?
Blog post length seems to relate to higher rankings in search engines. Why do Google, Yahoo, and Bing rank longer blog posts higher? Because they want to serve valuable and informative content from authority sites. Long-form content usually contains facts, figures, and complete information. Search engines
That’s the main reason long-form blog posts rank better in organic search results. The average length for content found on page one of search results was 1,900 words in a 2016 study.
Different topics will have different results. It’s worth noting comprehensive blog posts rank high in many search queries.
There are hundreds of factors that affect the search engine result ranking. One of the most critical factors is blog posts that answer your customers’ questions. Google and other search engines try to rank the highest quality content at the top of the search results. The idea is to give users the best information. It’s assumed that a longer article is more detailed and able to answer user questions.
Of course, not everyone wants a long post to answer a simple question. Google invented Rank Brain in an attempt to understand searcher’s intent. RankBrain is Artificial Intelligence used to sort live search results. It allows Google to offer results with more specific answers based on the user’s query.
Yet, even with Rank Brain, it looks like longer posts rank better. Any company looking to generate organic traffic should write longer more detailed posts.
Previous Blog Length Advice
In the past, the advice for post length was 500-word articles. That’s because Google’s algorithm wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now. It didn’t understand content on the page, so search results depended on links on the page.
As little as five years ago content creators could manipulate the results. They didn’t need to write detailed articles if the keywords and links matched search queries.
Today, Google’s algorithms can interpret content. This gives users better search results. Content creators who provide useful and relevant information rank far better. Content that answers reader questions and gives details is the most valuable.
Longer posts ranked better over the past few years. But, the move to mobile may change that.
How Does Mobile Factor into Blog Length?
It’s likely you’ve heard about Google’s focus on mobile search results. More consumers use their smartphones and tablets to search while they’re out in the world. In fact, one out of five American adults only uses a smartphone. They don’t have a home-based broadband service.
This makes a mobile-first index a top priority for Google and other search engines. Websites with responsive design have priority over those that don’t. A responsive website responds to the device. It looks good on a desktop, tablet, laptop, or phone.
Now content creators must ask if readers want to read lengthy blogs on smartphones?
Research on the Ideal Blog Post Length
You can find plenty of research on blog post lengths. Many studies support the idea that longer posts are better than short-form pieces.
The Backlinko team analyzed search engine ranking factors. They looked at one million Google search results. They found longer content outranked short content. In this study, the average long-form content in Google’s first page of results was 1,890 words.
Yet, blog length shouldn’t be the only factor you consider. Google uses over 200 ranking factors when deciding where content ranks. The study showed other things affect results. Such as:
- Page loading speed
A SEMrush research found that the top Google results for narrow topics were long posts. They averaged 20% longer than posts on general topics. That’s a critical insight.
People searching for specific topics expect detailed information. This reinforces the idea that content must be high quality and relevant, not only long. One study looked at the best blog length based on the industry.
It’s no surprise longer blogs (2,100-2,500 words) performed better for complex topics like finance. Compare that to 200-500 word blogs that ranked best for gadget topics.
But not everyone is looking for a long answer. A question like when is Columbus Day only needs a simple solution. It’s a good idea to find the high ranking sites and look at the content they offer. Try to exceed their quality.
Another consideration is that websites that publish detailed content usually promote it. Social shares and backlinks effect how the blog ranks in search engine results.
Your content must answer the user’s questions, and be better than your competition. Don’t write our blog based on length alone. Look at all the factors, and serve your customers with meaningful information.
Use Goals to Decide Blog Length
Is there a perfect length for a blog post? It depends. You must experiment to see which blogs generate interest and rank well. There are times when a 100-word article is more effective than a 2,000-word blog. Let’s dig into how various lengths work for different goals.
You Want Comments on Your Blog
If you want readers to comment, tell them so. Write a short, conversational blog. Ask readers a question and encourage discussion. Try to keep your post around 250-300 words.
Short posts often don’t get social shares. And, they may not rank in search engines. They do help you build an audience. If you’re trying to engage your audience, add a few short posts into your blogging mix.
You Want Social Media Shares
In the beginning, your blog may only get a couple of social shares. If you want to increase social shares, be sure to pay attention to your topic, quality, and length of the post.
Aim for a medium length blog. Posts ranging from 600 to 1,200 words perform well. They are ideal for SEO and conversation, too. The trick is to write a compelling headline and deliver on your promise. Solve your readers’ problem. Explain a topic.
Never write a headline for attention only. Give readers what you promise, and they’ll share your content.
You Want Traffic from Google
Every business wants substantial traffic from Google. When a reader finds you at the top of Google, it’s your chance to convert them into a customer. But how do you get there?
As explained earlier, longer posts perform well in Google search rankings. Try to write longer, well-researched blog posts that are 2,000 words or more. Search engines rank authoritative posts that solve problems for readers higher in results.
A longer post may not receive comments. It won’t get shared as often in social channels as a shorter post. But, when Google notices your long post, you may see an increase in search traffic.
Common Blog Lengths
Below are common blog lengths. Try a variety until you find the length that performs best for your business.
Posts between 75 and 300 words. These are best for generating discussion in the form of comments on your blog. Don’t expect super short posts to be great for search engine optimization.
Standard Blogger Length
Many experienced bloggers recommend 300 to 600-word blog articles. This length is good for social shares and comments. But, this standard length won’t rank high in search engine results.
Blogs that are 750-1,500 words are the norm for professional bloggers. You’ll find these lengths on newspaper, magazine, and business websites. It’s a good length for social shares and getting links from other bloggers.
A study by Medium showed articles that take 7 minutes to read capture the most reading time. The average reading time is 265 wpm. A 7-minute read equals 1,855 words.
The highest ranking articles on Google are often over 2,400 words. Longer posts get more clicks and visitors. It’s possible that longer posts are better quality than short ones. Quality leads to more sharing and traffic.
It’s important to note that quality content of any length performs well. If you write a long blog on a topic no one searches for, it won’t improve your search results. And, a bad post doesn’t improve if you make it longer.
Write blog posts based on what you need to tell your story. Don’t constrain yourself with preconceived notions. Yes, some people have short attention spans. But if you write quality content aimed at your audience, they will read it. Go ahead and vary the lengths of your posts to serve your readers.
Tips for a Top Notch Blog Post
Let’s look at some tips for creating an excellent blog post of any length. Here’s a checklist to help you create the best content out there.
Talk to Your Target Audience
Talk to your specific potential consumers. Answer their questions. Address their interests. Solve their problems. Write in a manner familiar to your audience.
Do Your Keyword Research
Think like a customer. What does your audience search for online? Make a list of words and phrases, then incorporate them into your articles.
Put Your Headline to Work
Tell readers what you’re going to say, then say it. Get those relevant keywords into your title, so readers know what to expect.
Hook Your Reader
Get right to the point, so readers know you’re talking to them. Your first two sentences should make it clear the article is relevant.
Add Appropriate Images
If an illustration or photo makes a point clearer, you can add it to your post. Some statistics state you should have an image after every 75-100 words to get more social shares. The right ratio will depend on your topic. Test different combinations to find what works best for your site.
Optimize for Search Engine Optimization
You want to make sure people looking for your information can find you. Optimize your blog with the right keywords. Add them to your title tag, header tags, image tags, and URL.
Remember, Search Engine Optimization is more than keywords. The blog post length, useful information, and links are essential, too. Add appropriate internal links to previous posts to boost website structure. Altogether these give your post authority for search engine ranking.
Include a Call to Action
Like your goals influence the length of the post, they also affect the content. Tell your readers what you want them to do next.
- Sign up for a Newsletter
- Go to a Landing Page
- Buy a Product
- Write a Review
Whatever it is, make a single call to action. Make it short, clear, and easy to do. Don’t make visitors hunt for the next step. Add a deadline to convey a sense of urgency.
Get Expert Help with Your Blog Posts
There might not be an ideal post length. But one thing is for sure. Your customers want to find you online. If you’re not blogging, you’re missing opportunities.
If you need professional business blogging, contact us today. We can write the content you need. We focus on quality content that gives your customers the information they want.