We’re frequently asked, “what is the ideal blog post length?”
It’s a conundrum that’s not easy to answer. The common opinion leans towards longer posts, often touted as the gateway to SEO nirvana.
However, there’s also a counter-narrative that champions short, succinct content, tailored to the topic at hand. Read on as we dissect the long and short of blog post length, unearthing the merits and pitfalls of each side.
Along the way, we’ll provide the results from 17 studies on the ideal blog post length. The results might surprise you!
The long game: benefits of lengthier posts
In the SEO game, you’ll typically hear the chant of ‘longer is better’. This isn’t without basis…
Primarily, longform blog posts typically rank higher. This is covered in our survey section, where we’ve looked at the results from 17 different brands.
There are a few different reasons why this might be the case…
Firstly, lengthy blog posts open up a canvas for keyword inclusion, a crucial factor propelling the SEO rank ladder.
In addition, extensive content tends to attract backlinks, which is a ranking factor for search engines. When external sites link to your site, it acts as a vote of confidence – and demonstrates your authority and expertise.
Also, delving deeper into topics helps nurture a bond of trust with the readers – while also establishing your experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (or E-E-A-T). This is important for Google, as covered in their search rater guidelines.
As you can see, there’s a strong argument for longform content.
Here are the types of blog posts you could consider tackling with higher word counts:
- 1,000 – 2,000 words – Ideal for guides, how-to resources, FAQs, listicles and FAQs.
- 2,000 – 4,000 words – Now you’re talking! This is a great length for pillar pages, skyscraper content and extensive resources such as gated eBooks.
The short route: when less is more
Contrary to the long-form narrative, certain topics demand brevity. Short posts cater to the modern-day reader’s fleeting attention span, providing quick, digestible insights.
They foster a higher engagement level, inviting readers to participate in a discourse, turning the blog into a bustling forum.
Moreover, short posts are ideal for topics that warrant a straightforward exposition, superfluous content that can accompany lengthy posts. They exemplify the adage, ‘less is more’, by delivering value-packed content in a compact, reader-friendly format.
“A well-written, short piece that offers real value wins against a 300-page version filled with fluff. For me, it’s the substance over size that counts. The ideal length is engaging and provides real value without overwhelming the reader; quality content that respects the reader’s time is the key, regardless of word count.Virginia Zuloaga – Founder & CEO of Brieffin Consulting
Here are the types of blog posts you could consider tackling with lower word counts:
- 300 – 600 words – Ideal for press releases, industry news, use cases, educational posts and new developments.
- 500 – 1,000 words – The go-to length for the majority of blog posts. Ideal for informational content such as listicles, roundups, checklists and FAQs.
From word count to worth: the impact of Google’s helpful content update
Surprisingly, there is an SEO case for shorter posts as well.
Google’s helpful content update was rolled out in August 2023. The update primarily focuses on low-quality content that’s optimised for search engines instead of humans.
In the past, a 5,000-word recipe for spaghetti bolognese might have dominated the search engine result pages (SERPs). Today, it will struggle.
Because the topic doesn’t fit the word count.
If people have to read thousands of words just to get a simple recipe, that’s a bad user experience. People don’t want to know the history of the recipe or which films feature the dish.
Just tell me how many tins of tomatoes I need!
Simply put, if you’re opting for a large word count for purely SEO reasons, you’re ignoring the optimal user experience for the reader – and your strategy could backfire.
Striking the balance: tailoring length to the topic
Navigating the fine line between extensive and succinct content begins with a keen understanding of the topic and audience at hand. It’s about crafting a narrative that holds the reader’s attention, irrespective of its length.
Tailoring your post length to the topic ensures that the narrative remains engaging, informative and devoid of unnecessary fluff. It’s a harmonious blend of depth and brevity, ensuring that each word adds value, each paragraph imparts knowledge and the content, as a whole, resonates with the reader while also satiating the SEO algorithms’ appetite for quality content.
Want to know if your blog posts are the right length?
It’s easy. Just use this quick hack.
Let’s say you want to write a blog post about ‘how to make fresh ravioli’. Follow these steps:
- Search on Google for ‘how to make fresh ravioli’.
- Ignore the ads. Check the word count for the top three articles. In this case, it’s 640, 2,300 and 1,260.
- Work out the average. For this example, it’s 1,400 words.
So, if you’re going to tackle this topic and you want the blog posts to perform well on Google, around 1,400 words in length is advisable. This calculation gives you a good benchmark for your blog post’s word count.
However, not everyone is focused on search engines. First and foremost, choose the length that works for you and your audience.
Top Tip: Incredibly, making your existing blog posts shorter could actually result in rank increases. Perform this hack for some of your existing blog posts that are super long, but not ranking well. You’ll be able to see if any are too long.
The ideal blog post length according to 17 experts
So far, we’ve looked at the necessity for a balanced approach. Blog posts need to be tailored to the topic and the reader. The sector is important too. The blueprint for the ideal blog length isn’t one-size-fits-all but rather varies across different sectors. Industries like finance and marketing often demand a deeper dive, thus longer posts, while others like news or lifestyle thrive on brevity.
Understanding the industry norms around content length helps in aligning your blog strategy to meet the expectations of both your audience and the SEO yardstick.
But, what does the data say? Numerous studies have been completed on the issue of the ideal word count for blog posts. Take a look at the results…
- In 2012, Constant Contact advised that the ideal length for business blog posts should be between 500 to 700 words. How times have changed.
- These days, the average blog post is usually more than 1,400 words, as reported by OrbitMedia.
- Backlinko looked at almost 12 million Google search pages and saw that the first page you usually see on Google has about 1,447 words on average.
- Neil Patel states that blog posts with 1,500 words earn the best SEO, social sharing and engagement results. However, he also makes sure every article he publishes is 4,000+ words. Interesting.
- According to Quick Sprout, blog posts that are longer than 1,500 words get 68% more tweets and 22% more likes than shorter ones.
- Wix have chipped in too. Between 1,500 – 2,500 words is their suggestion, with 2,450 being perfect.
- According to Buffer, the ideal length of a blog post is 7 minutes, 1,600 words.
- Moz says that writing posts that are 1,800 to 3,000 words long can get you 15 times more links.
- AppSumo and BuzzSumo teamed up and analysed 100 million articles. Their study suggested 1,890 words – while also stating that the longer the content, the more shares it gets. Posts in the 3,000 to 10,000-word area performed exceptionally well.
- Looking at over 5,000 search queries, GrowthBar have pitched in too, with the optimal length of a blog post being 1,928 words. Very precise!
- Garrett Moon (CEO and a Co-Founder at CoSchedule) analysed the first page rankings for 6 keywords. He found that the top 5 results averaged more than 2,000 words.
- CapsicumMediaworks have got an opinion too. Articles with more than 2,000 words usually show up in the top 10 spots when you search on Google.
- BlogTyrant‘s analysis indicated that to secure a spot in the top 10 search engine results pages (SERP), you should aim for blog posts between 2,000 to 2,500 words.
- HubSpot reviewed their own blog content and found that between 2,100 – 2,400 words is the magic number.
- According to SERPIQ, for optimal SEO, the first three results on Google typically range from 2,350 to 2,500 words.
- Content with over 7,000 words gets more than 3x the number of shares and links and according to MarketingCharts.
- Super long blog posts, like more than 10,000 words, can actually hurt your rankings according to SurferSEO. If the content isn’t on point and fails give readers what they’re searching for, it can hurt you.
As you can see, opinions vary widely, with anywhere from 1,500 word up to 7,000 words being suggested.
The long and short of it
The quest for the perfect blog post length goes beyond numbers.
It’s a tale of tailored content, where value and relevance reign supreme. Whether you tread the path of long-form content or take the short, succinct route, the essence lies in resonating with your audience and providing a well-rounded insight.
So, as you venture into crafting your next blog post, remember, it’s not merely about hitting a word count milestone. It’s about weaving a narrative that engages, enlightens and delivers on the topic.
Need help deciding which blog post length is right for your brand?
Blog posts should appeal to both search engines and humans. That includes how long they are. But like many aspects of blogging, this can be hard if you don’t have the right experience and expertise. That’s where Wrise can help.
As seasoned blog writers, we’re familiar with the different types of content and suitable lengths. Most importantly, we don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to blogging or blog post length. We can provide a blog post package tailored to the content type and length you want and need. Our team will craft blog posts that balance SEO and user experience in the best way possible.