[This article was originally published in August 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.]
Bloggers and content marketers always wondering, should every single post be long-form, or is it better to opt for a shorter one?
The common question asked by bloggers is, “What should my blog post length be?”
Well, here is the thing that I want to make clear regarding blog post length. It only matters if your content is good – if your content quality is high. You can publish 5,000-word articles – but if the quality is poor, then the article doesn’t deserve to get ranked. The truth is hurt!
According to one study that analyzed articles to determine the correlation between social shares and blog post length. Here’s what they found.
You will have a higher chance of ranking in Google if you write long, high-quality blog posts, 1000 words, or more. I also experience this myself; I have written some articles that are over 1,500 words, including this one. These articles help organic traffic grow.
Based on HubSpot’s data, the 50 posts that generated the most leads in 2019 were an average of 2,569 words long. But when you’re writing your blog post, it doesn’t have to be super long. In fact, 16 of the top 50 HubSpot’s posts were under 1,500 words.
Medium’s research says that the ideal blog post length is 1,600 words. Their research found that up to the seven-minute or 1,600 wordmarks, readers’ average time spent looking at the post increased, plateauing at the seven-minute mark, and quickly declining after that point.
Long articles also contribute to SEO. Why? When your content is longer, search engines have more clues to determine what your article is about. The longer your text, the more often your focus keywords appear. You can also add more headings, links, images – so more content, means more high-quality information.
Regardless of blog post length, your content should provide useful information
Hitting a certain word count shouldn’t be your aim. Your aim is to write a thorough, engaging, and well-research post that’s as long as it needs to be.
According to backlinko findings, they discovered that word count was evenly distributed among the top 10 results. The average Google first page result contains 1,447 words. Google algorithms prefer informative posts on their ranking criteria. They didn’t put your content at the top of the online search platforms by disappointing readers.
Personally, I feel like creating content with a high word count leaves readers feeling like they’re just reading something epic and useful when they leave. And there’s a certain sense of satisfaction that short content just can’t provide.
I often find myself immediately backing out of short posts under 500 words, especially if the content lacks images or headers. I just feel that it has no real value to offer. That’s why I only create long-form content from the beginning in my blog.
The Minimum Blog Post Length
From my research, your blog post length should be at least 600 words long. Don’t worry about standard pages being shorter than that, for example, your ‘contact’ page, because you’re not trying to rank those in Google anyway, right?
Why 600 words? Search engines, like Google, are more likely to think of it as thin content. All search engines want to provide the best answers to the questions people have. SO, thin content is less likely to offer a comprehensive answer and satisfy the needs of the public. Therefore, your post probably will not rank very high.
A few short posts are fine, but a lot of short posts across your overall site can be a red flag to Google and lead to your site being penalized or pushed down the search engine rankings. For blog posts, it’s good practice to have at least 600 words because you’re writing to explain something useful or interesting. If you’re struggling to write more than 300 words, it’s a strong indicator that your topic is too narrow or you need to research more about it.
If you’ve already published a lot of short posts, you can simply update your old posts and resubmit your sitemap to Google.
The Maximum Blog Post Length
Some people say anywhere between 1,500 to 2,000 words – this has logic behind it: longer posts often have more useful information, hit more keywords, and encourage people to spend longer on the post. These are positive benefits for search engine rankings.
According to Forbes, blog posts containing over 1,500 words were over 68% more likely to be shared on Twitter, and over 22% more likely to be liked on Facebook compared to shorter posts. On the downside, longer posts are more difficult to write, and often readers prefer shorter content that is easier to digest.
The important point to remember is that a longer post doesn’t necessarily equal better. Good content is content that answers the audience’s question. There’s no point rambling about it, there’s no point setting yourself fixed word counts and getting stressed to meet them.
When you start writing and your post ends up becoming super long, try turning it into a series. Like my SEO guides, first I talk about on-page SEO, the second is off-page SEO, and the last is technical SEO. Going back and adding links between all posts in the series can also help lower your bounce rate as readers progress through different parts.
How To Write A High-Quality Lengthy Post?
When writing posts with high word counts, it is more important to keep the quality of the text at a high level. Good quality texts are well structured, readable, and contain original content. That’s tough, isn’t it? Yup – writing high-quality content is hard, especially when your goal is to write articles with a high word count in order to make your organic traffic grow.
Write Readable Texts
The key point when writing long posts is – to write for your audience. This may sound obvious, but sometimes when writing you can easily get distracted and start adding irrelevant information. So, to build a trusting audience, start thinking about the problem or questions a reader could have about the topic you’re covering. Then, offer clear answers to those problems – of course, it should be well-written and readable.
Remember, you’re not only writing for search engines. Avoid making this mistake that many bloggers make – focus on keywords more than making your 1,000 words post easy for readers to finish. By doing this, you also allow your readers to share those posts with their friends. Believe it or not, backlinks from shares are often more valuable than getting the keywords right.
Here’s how you make your text readable:
- Start every paragraph with a topic sentence that gives off the main ideas of that paragraph.
- From that, you can elaborate on the rest of the paragraph. Be sure to keep your sentences and paragraphs short.
- Don’t forget to connect the ideas you have in and between paragraphs. This is why the use of transition words is important.
- Your audiences aren’t reading for fun, so make sure you’re meeting your target audiences’ needs.
- Use active voice verbs and the power word ‘you’ whenever possible. Talk directly to your reader and keep the action moving.
Write Original Content
Being original with so much content out there is not easy. I can say that this is the hardest one.
But, if you see it from a positive view, it might help if your offer is different and better than the offers of your competitors. Do some keyword research to see what your audience searches for. This way can give you plenty of ideas on what to write about and how you deliver your content to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
Using headings is a great way to structure your text. For instance, your readers know what a paragraph is about by using clear headings and making your text pleasant to read.
Try to aim for blog posts of at least 600 words as an absolute minimum, and try to avoid going over 3,000 words for a single post. Sometimes you may not realize your topic is too narrow or too broad until after you’ve started writing, but it’s always fixable, so don’t worry!
There’s no resource that says “using 3,000 words is guaranteed to make your content get ranking in search engines and earn you thousands of social shares.”
Of course, there are numerous variables that determine how successful your articles are. And here are some other factors that are mentioned in the Quick Sprout article. I’ve been researching many times and so far I see many comprehensive posts that really cover a topic in detail.
Aiming for the word counts should provide you with a general baseline so you’ll know roughly what the blog post length of your average should be.
What word count do you usually aim for with your blog content?