TL;DR: How long’s a piece of string? If this is you when creating content, read this article to get it smack on everytime! 🎯💥
“So there, marketing manager… how long should a great blog post really be?”
It is, without doubt, one of the most commonly asked questions since blogging became an essential part of content marketing — and, over the years, this topic has been debated on the web countless times.
Some blog posts are a few paragraphs long — with stock images and infographics — while others run a mile long! Yet, both these forms can be successful from the SEO and marketing points of view when implemented correctly by following a good marketing strategy.
So getting back to that burning question: What is the perfect content length for a page? Should you go for a shorter piece or perhaps jump right in the deep end with a long-form piece of content?
You are likely going to groan reading this, but here it is… Well, it depends!
It depends on two parameters: the kind of content you’re curating and the kind your audience wants. Besides, educating and engaging your website visitors should be the primary function of any business blog post.
After all, that’s the way you convert casual readers into qualified leads. Build trust, rapport and give value by teaching — and who is the first person they think of when facing problems that you offer solutions for? BOOM . . . Yup, you!
While creating content, you should be clear on the goals you’re trying to achieve. Nobody wants to waste time, effort, and money, so understanding the purpose of the content and the value it offers is essential.
What Is the Goal of Your Content? 🥅
To generate more traffic?
To convert visitors into leads?
To educate your readers?
To perform better on SEO?
The length of your content will vary according to the goal you are aiming for. When you stay within the average length — say the median length of ten high-ranking blog posts from Google — your content is more likely to get a better rank on search engines, receive more shares on social media, and gain backlinks on high-authority sites.
Before discussing the content length’s sweet spot, let’s dive into the SEO and Inbound marketing industry and see what respected leaders have to say about the ideal content length.
HubSpot believes that the ideal blog post length should be 2,100-2,400 words for SEO. They averaged the size of their 50 most-read blog posts in 2019, which yielded an average word count of 2,330. Individual blog post lengths ranged from 333 to 5,581 words, with a median size of 2,164 words.
Similarly, SEMrush’s research found out that the average length of articles is 810 words. However, the average content they recommend is 1,137 words, based on competitor’s articles appearing on Google’s top list.
However, experts from portent.com don’t want to confine articles within the constraints of word count. Instead, they question the SEO gurus who will tell you that “300–500 words are best,” or “2,000 words should be the minimum for a blog,” or claim that they’ve found the “sweet spot” at 1,890 words.
Generally, every SEO expert will say, “Most blog posts should be at least 300 words in length. Shorter than that, and you should probably question whether you have much of a value to say at all.”
Yet, Google disagrees, specifying that length is not proportional to ranking. Google’s John Mueller, in fact, stated that word count isn’t even a ranking factor!
The numbers are a good place to start. There is no single answer, as different topics require different lengths: Think “technical versus simple.” It’s good to get back to why you wanted to start a blog in the first place: Was it to share experiences? Or maybe unpack and educate about a technical niche you have been passionate about and involved in since you were a child? And what kind of content will you be creating?
If you’re new to blogging, you can check out our step-by-step guide on how to write an effective blog in 2021.
You should decide the length of your blog one article at a time. To help you make the best choice, consider standard SEO practices, including backlinking, adding alt-text, finding the right keywords, and having “sticky” content (with images, infographics, and interactive elements).
Before you start typing, let’s take some time to understand the process so that we can more easily determine the correct length for your web content.
Identify Your Niche and Competitors 🕵️♂️
The first step is to identify your niche. For example, a blog post about “how to go vegan” is going to be way different than a write-up on “10 best cafes in Perth.”
Content is not a unilateral factor to dominate the SERP, so you need to be watchful with your competitors and get familiar with their content.
What are the top ten topics your competitors are talking about, and what approaches have they been following?
Studying your rivals should be a part of your content strategy. The best way to do that is by performing content gap analysis. Here’s what you can do — collect samples from a few relevant companies, organise them topic-wise, and measure how well they’ve performed on social media.
Some popular tools for content audit include BuzzSumo, SEMrush, and Moz. You can examine the social engagements of your blog posts, the relevancy of the backlinks attached, and the effect on the lead conversion ratio. When you do content strategy audit and gap analysis, you’ll get a fairly good idea about the best length for your blog post.
Identify the Goal of Your Content 🎯
As mentioned earlier, you need to understand what outcome you are hoping to achieve with your piece of content from the beginning. If it’s for prospect-to-lead conversions or educating your audience, word count is not the most important factor.
To increase the conversion rate, the design and copy are key factors, whereas for educating your audience, creating insightful data works well — if done right, it doesn’t matter if the word count is 300 words or 3,000 words if it clearly conveys the desired message and drives the desired behaviour.
To improve traffic or rank your keywords, the length of your content generally plays a significant role. Long-form content with images and videos work well on search engines, generating high organic click-through rates. In addition, screenshots, infographics, post banners, charts and visuals make the website “sticky” — encouraging the visitors to stay and explore more of your content instead of “bouncing” off your website to find something else more engaging.
You want to make sure that visitors spend more time on your website and keep coming back to gain better insight and understanding. This, in turn, will accelerate their transition through the buyer’s journey so you want to ensure that the content you are putting out is of consistent quality and aesthetically pleasing to peruse. To sum it up, understanding the goal of your content is critical to helping you determine the ideal length of your article.
Identify Your Audience 🔊
Question yourself: Who is the audience you’re writing for?
Focusing on your reader — your buyer persona — can also help you determine the best length of your content. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand the kind of content they are looking for.
For example, say the targeted audience of your irrigation and watering company is middle-class suburban families. In that case, you may want to make a list of the “5 best garden hoses to buy” so that your prospects can make an informed buying decision. Then, based on the list post, you can tentatively determine the expected length of your content piece even before you start writing.
Think from their point of view: How much information do they really need? You may not have to explain every tiny detail if your audience already knows some basic stuff about your topic or product solution. Their level of knowledge will allow you to come up with a tentative word count in the brainstorming phase.
As the advertising adage goes, “Less is more,” but not always!
Find the Keywords You Want to Rank For 📈
Keywords come with a difficulty metric: The higher the keyword difficulty, the more competitive it is to rank. So, confirm the keywords you want to organise and rank for by searching associated phrases on Google.
Type the keywords into a search engine. If you’re writing a blog post around the long-tail keyword “best fishing rod when backpacking,” allow Google to show what it thinks deserves to be on the first page.
List out the top ten competitors and read their blog posts. Next, you can use an online word counter to find the average word count by simply copy-pasting the blog content into the text box. After that, estimate the average count.
The average number tells you how many words you should probably aim to rank on the first page of search results. It also shows you the acceptable range.
Another way is by using a free tool called SEO Minion. The tool helps you with your daily SEO tasks, including analysing the on-page SEO, viewing broken links, and previewing Google SERP.
Here is the process to find the word count of the page:
Visit the URL of the page on Chrome and click on the SEO Minion’s icon.
Click on “Analyze On-Page SEO“ and wait for a few seconds.
The word count will be displayed below the URL link.
Either way, you’ll now have a clearer idea of the keywords to use and the word count to aim for.
Advantages of Longer Blog Posts 📝
Before understanding the undeniable advantages of longer blogs, let’s take a moment to understand topic-based content and the changing nature of SEO practice.
What is topic-based content?
These days people are submitting longer and conversational search queries, such as “Where should I go for dinner?” instead of “great restaurants,” with the expectation that search engines are smarter than humans in today’s world. So your SEO strategy should focus more on long-tail topics rather than individual keywords — and with this comes the concept of the topic cluster model.
It’s crucial for marketing bloggers to understand the concept of topic clusters and pillar pages. The “pillar” page acts as the main hub, while “topic clusters” answer a specific question about a large topic and link back to the main pillar page. This method makes the pillar post an authority site that might rank higher and higher for the multiple topics it covers.
The topic cluster model helps in organising and arranging pages so that visitors can find information more easily. It saves your website from being repetitive and redundant and also allows Google to discover related content, and ultimately, boost your search engine visibility.
Since the importance of writing comprehensive pillar pages cannot be underestimated, you should definitely consider writing in this format when producing content that is long-form — and linking multiple related pages to one single page.
Now that we’ve explained the basics of the topic cluster model and how to perform SEO analytics on your competitors’ blogs, you should find it easier to determine the ideal length for your article. Of course, the closer your writing is to the average word count of high-ranking results, the better it’s likely to perform.
Here are three main advantages of longer blogs:
Longer Posts Equal More Time on the Page
Research done by the famous SEO guru and marketing expert, Neil Patel, shows that for longer posts, “people stayed on the page 40% longer than on the average page, and they looked at 25% more pages than the average visitor.” If you have high-quality, comprehensive content, your readers are less likely to bounce back.
The longer your prospects stay on your website, the more likely they will consume educational content and build trust with you. Depending on your business model, this is also an opportunity to serve ads and add affiliate links, thereby increasing your chance of generating revenue.
A word of caution, though . . . you should only offer ads for relevant products or services that will add value to your reader — and it’s also always a good idea to be transparent with your audience about any affiliated commissions you may receive should they purchase anything being advertised.
More Words Equal More Shares and Backlinks
Content with more words simply brings more backlinks. That’s the unvarnished truth.
When you have content around 2,000 words, you receive 77.2% more backlinks, according to a study done by backlinko.com. Needless to say, long-form content is good for social media too, as they get 56.1% more social shares than content less than 1,000 words.
Your prospects will often find more value in longer content that can also later be turned into an ebook or a white paper. This is because they understand they’re investing their time and energy in consuming content that is of value as it answers their questions and helps solve their problems.
Kevin Delaney, an editor at Quartz, says that business news outlets shouldn’t publish articles between 500-800 words. They should instead publish short and snappy posts or put out long and comprehensive content. His advice is to either go for below 500 or above 1,200 words.
Writing quality content isn’t necessarily guided by statistics, but it’s a good idea to aim for extended and educational content to get more social shares.
Quality Long-Form Content Equals More Authority 💪
To be an authority figure in the world of content marketing, you have to build trust with your audience. And trust comes with regular engagement and quality content.
You need to put on the hat of a “teacher” and help customers make an informed decision.
For instance, Marcus Sheridan used this strategy to become a leading expert and authority figure in fibreglass pools. Marcus simply started answering questions his competitors weren’t or were just unwilling to respond to. Rather than shy away from nagging problems and the hard questions, his principle of content marketing involves being honest with your prospective customers.
With longer articles, your job is to become a knowledgeable educator so that prospects will trust you and what you have to say. In a world plagued with spammy emails and untrustworthy sites, being an authentic and highly educated expert in your field should be every content creator’s top priority.
So writing long-form articles is going to pay off big time!
If you’re wondering how to write long-form content that works for both search engines and prospects, check out our step-by-step guide to writing an effective blog post.
In Conclusion ⌛
Responding to the question, “How long should a blog post be?” with a simple answer is difficult, as the answer depends upon a lot of aspects, as discussed above.
Although length is not the sole factor in determining the success of a blog post, studies have shown that longer content wins most of the time when it comes to SEO performance. But that doesn’t mean there’s no space for short and snappy write-ups that can go viral on social media. Both have their own merits and demerits.
In order to learn how to write a better and longer blog post, thoroughly do your research before you start. Choose targeted keywords you’re going to use and set out a brief outline. Use heading, subheadings, numbered lists, and bullet points to make your writing readable as well as skimmable.
Make sure you write short paragraphs in an active voice that directly addresses your audience. If your readers have to labour through a tangled mess of sentences, no SEO technique is going to save your work.
Nothing beats a high quality and engaging article!
So there you have it. The answer to your question: “How long should a blog post be?” If you have further questions regarding blogging or content marketing, feel free to send us a message. We’ll get back to you right away!
P.S. For your reference, the word count of this blog post is 2,700 words — an average of Google’s high-ranking blogs on a similar topic.
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