How long should a blog post be for maximum SEO? What is the optimal blog post length for SEO? How many words should you write in a blog post so that it gets better rankings?
These are questions that I get very often in the comments and in this post, I will help you understand how many words to make your blog posts.
Before we start let me clarify from the beginning that blog post length alone, is NOT a Google ranking factor. There are other more important factors that can influence your ranking positions and the word count is NOT one of them.
How long should a blog post be?
Various research studies over the last 10 years concluded that long-form content tends to rank higher in search results compared to short-form content. Although the number of words varies per niche, the ideal blog post length is between 1000 and 2000 words.
Factors that you need to consider before deciding how long to make your blog posts are:
1. Type of post
The length of a blog post depends on its type.
If you are running a news blog, then the length of the post depends on the available information you have, related to the story you are covering.
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People reading news don’t like to read unnecessary information just because you want to make your blog posts longer, but they need to get the ‘facts’ and this is what your focus should be.
So, in this case, the length of a post depends on the ‘source’.
If on the other hand, you are reviewing a new smartphone, then, in this case, you should try and provide as much meaningful information as possible.
Notice here the word ‘meaningful’ which means that you shouldn’t sacrifice the blog post quality for length.
In other words, while you want to have many words in your blog, don’t repeat yourself or provide information that is not relevant to your topic as this will decrease the overall quality of your content.
In addition to the type, you should not forget the purpose of a post.
There are cases where the objective of a blog post is fulfilled with fewer words.
For example, a classified ad has the purpose of presenting a product or service in only a few sentences, so in this case the purpose of a post defines the length as well.
2. What does Google want?
The first step I take before writing a new blog post is to search Google for my title (or focus SEO keywords) and quickly analyze the type and length of blog posts that are on the first page of the search results.
This is an easy and quick way to find out what Google likes about a particular topic.
For example, before writing the blog post you are reading now, I did my research and found out that the number of words for the first 5 results on Google are:
- Position 1: 640 words
- Position 2: 2216 words
- Position 3: 4000 words
- Position 4: 2246 words
- Position 5: 959 words
As you can see the range is very big, from 640 words to 4000 words! But 3 out of the 5 entries have 2000+ words.
This tells me that Google likes long-form content for this search term but it all comes down to the quality of the content and domain authority.
Websites ranking in positions 1 and 5 are high authority domains so they have an advantage over the other three domains.
It’s a fact that high authority websites can rank higher and without too much effort compared to websites with a not so high Google trust.
Important Note: To make sure that everybody is on the same line: it does not mean that if I publish a blog post that is 2000+ words, it will rank in the first positions of Google. There are many other SEO factors that play a role in rankings, the above test is just an indication of what Google likes in terms of word length for the particular topic and nothing else.
You can follow the above technique for all types of blog posts and get an idea of what your competitors are publishing and what Google prefers to show in their top positions for that topic.
A recent document published by Google, known as the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, talks about content length and although it does not specify a word count, it does mention the phrase, a satisfying amount of high-quality content.
In particular, it states the following: “High-quality information pages should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. The amount of content necessary for the page to be satisfying depends on the topic and purpose of the page. A high-quality page on a broad topic with a lot of available information will have more content than a high-quality page on a narrower topic.”
3. Blog Post Length – Research Studies
If you search Google for studies related to how many words a blog post should be, you will find three important sources.
A study by Ahrefs found a strong relationship between content length and ranking position. Longer content tends to rank higher in the SERPS. The number of words (media) for the 1st position of Google was 750 words.
SEMRUSH’s study found similar results and also revealed two more important points:
- Pages that rank higher in the results have more content than lower-ranking pages
- Pages that rank for high volume / popular keywords have 150% more content that low volume keywords.
Backlinko’s study found that the average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.
Other studies by Moz, Medium, and HubSpot tend to agree with the above findings.
The resume from all research studies is the following:
- The optimal length of a blog post is between 1000 – 2000 words.
- Longer posts generally perform better in search
- Posts that are more than 2000 words receive more social shares
- The average word length for a blogpost found in the first 5 positions of Google was aprx1800 words.
The bottom line is that research shows that longer posts are more valuable for a blog (both in terms of SEO, social shares and engagement) than shorter posts.
So, how many words should I write for my next blog post?
It should be obvious by now that my preference and recommendation is to go with long articles (above 1500 words) and this is why:
- By publishing long and informative evergreen content you can steadily increase your organic traffic both in the short and long term. Read how I increased my blog traffic to 400K visits per month using this approach.
- It is a fact that long content performs better on Google.
- It is also a fact that long type articles get more social media attention and comments.
- It is easier to provide unique and original content if your articles are long. Short content is more difficult to be differentiated from other short content that is already published on the web.
- Long articles (provided that they are interesting), take more time to read so users spend more time on your site which is good.
- With long articles, you can easily add more internal links to other pages on your website and keep users engaged and at the same time reduce your bounce rate.
- When running contextual ads (for example AdSense), you can maximize your earnings because the ads will be more relevant and you will have ‘more space’ to show your ad units without making your website full of ads.
- Long, unique and valuable content is the real asset of a website which also increases the selling price of a website or blog. If you are planning on selling your website at some point then having long articles will get you more money because they are not easy to produce.
- It’s a way to differentiate your blog from the rest. If the majority of the blogs in your niche publish short to medium content and you can publish good longer content, over time you will gain an advantage in SEO.
- Last but not least, let’s not forget that blog posts that are explaining a topic in detail will keep your users happy and they will come back for more valuable content.
Long content is more difficult to create, what should I do?
I know from experience that is much more difficult to create long content and at the same time maintain your publishing schedule so here are some tips to consider:
- Before committing to a publishing schedule make sure that you have some posts ready in advance. If you decide to go with 3 articles per week then make sure that you prepare at least 6 posts finished before start publishing. This will give you enough time to catch up and keep to a schedule.
- Decide on your post titles in advance. When working on a schedule you should spend most of your time producing the content than researching and thinking of the titles to use. Spend some time in advance and create the article titles you will need for the whole month.
- When creating long posts, it is easier to break the post into several parts, each part with its own heading, rather than having one big post with no sections. It is easier for both the writer and the reader.
- Make long blog posts easier to read by adding lists (where applicable), making short paragraphs and giving special attention to the formatting of the text.
What is your take on the optimum word length of a blog post, do you agree with the research findings and my recommendations?