Writing high-quality content on a regular basis is an effective way to boost your visibility in search engines. However, the length of your articles may also impact your rankings. So, you may be wondering: how long should a blog post be?
By looking at some recent studies on search engine results, you can determine the ideal length for your blog posts. This knowledge can help you improve your overall search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
⌛ In this post, we’ll discuss the ideal blog post length for SEO, based on recent data. We’ll then offer some tips to help you break down long articles and make your content more engaging. Let’s get started!
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How long should a blog post be?
The length of a post is often determined by the topic or the type of content you publish. For instance, an in-depth article on digital marketing will naturally require a higher word count than a quick update post. Meanwhile, the length of a how-to guide will depend on the number of methods or steps involved.
Your target audience also plays an important role in determining how long a blog post should be. If your readers are looking for a quick fix to a WordPress-related issue, you’ll need your content to be short and to the point. However, if your audience is interested in comprehensive guides or tutorials, you’ll want to provide as much information as possible.
It’s also important to take SEO into consideration. For instance, Yoast SEO recommends a minimum of 300 words for a regular post:
For cornerstone content (the core pages and posts you want all visitors to see), the recommended minimum word count is 900 words. If your posts are too short, search engines like Google may see them as thin content. These are posts that provide little value to readers and are therefore ignored (or even penalized) by Google.
At the same time, if your posts are too long, it may have a negative impact on your user experience (UX). Some visitors may be put off by lengthy articles, especially if they’re unable to find the answer they’re looking for within the first few paragraphs.
What research says about article length
Google releases algorithm updates on a regular basis. These are designed to improve the quality and relevance of its search results, and they normally target factors such as a site’s user experience. Additionally, Google pays attention to the quality of your content.
In the past, Google favored long-form articles with word counts of over 3,000 . However, some recent data suggests that the search engine is now prioritizing shorter content.
Backlinko recently analyzed 11.8 million Google search results, and found that the average Google first page result contains 1,447 words . Still, other sources recommend higher word counts.
According to data by HubSpot, the ideal word count for a blog post is even a little higher, at around 2,250–2,500 words . HubSpot found that articles of this length had the most organic traffic and attracted the most backlinks.
On the other hand, Google has often stated that word count is not a ranking factor. In an SEO Mythbusting video, Martin Splitt, a developer advocate at Google, says that the focus should be on satisfying the query intention of the user, whether that requires 50 words or 2,000.
If the top results for a particular search query are about 2,000 words long, this suggests that it’s the ideal word count for satisfying that user intent. Therefore, instead of setting a fixed word count for all of your posts, you might want to allow for some flexibility.
How long your blog post should be will likely be determined by the nature of the article and the user intent you’re trying to address. When writing a new piece of content, therefore, we’d suggest checking out the top competitors for your target keyword, and aiming to create something of a similar length.
How to write engaging posts with high word counts (4 tips)
As we’ve seen, high-performing posts often fall within the range of 1,500 – 2,500 words. This suggests that long posts may help you drive more organic traffic to your website.
However, the length of your article is only one aspect to consider. Let’s look at a few tips to help you produce better content for readers and search engines.
- Focus on the search intent
- Prioritize quality over quantity
- Break down content into digestible chunks
- Use images and other media
1. Focus on the search intent
As we mentioned earlier, Google tries to show the most relevant content for a particular search query. This means that for your content to perform well in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), it should satisfy the search intent. This term refers to what users are trying to find when they type in a particular keyword or query:
For example, if you’re targeting the search term “how to start a blog,” your post would ideally contain a step-by-step guide that walks readers through the entire process. This might require a higher word count than the average post, but it may be necessary to fully satisfy the user intent.
Meanwhile, if users want to know “what is shared hosting?,” you might answer this question with a shorter post. In this scenario, a brief overview or explanation may be enough to satisfy the user intent.
2. Prioritize quality over quantity
Google may not directly factor in length, but it does prioritize quality content. According to its Webmaster Guidelines, pages should provide useful and accurate information, and contain relevant keywords.
We’ve already looked at the importance of addressing user intent. However, there are other things you can do to ensure that your articles meet Google’s quality standards. For instance, you can:
- Make sure your posts provide value to your readers.
- Avoid black hat practices such as keyword stuffing and duplicate content.
- Include links to related posts on your blog, and link out to any relevant sources.
Backlinks are another indicator of a page’s quality. However, gaining links from third-party websites can be a little difficult, especially if you’re new to blogging.
Therefore, you might want to consider guest posting on other blogs. For instance, you could contribute an informative article that contains a link to a relevant post on your website. Ideally, you’ll publish your content on authoritative websites with large amounts of traffic.
Quality content can help you build authority and credibility in your niche. This can help you climb the rankings in Google, and grow an audience of loyal readers or customers. As such, you may want to focus your efforts on the contents of your pages rather than the word count.
3. Break down content into digestible chunks
If you’re writing long posts, you’ll want to make sure that your content is easy to read and follow. Large chunks of text can easily put readers off, especially if they’re reading your post on a small screen. This can negatively impact your conversions as well as your SEO.
The trick is to break down your content into small, digestible sections. Let’s look at some effective ways to do this:
- Use shorter sentences and smaller paragraphs.
- Divide your content into multiple sections, using H2 headings for main topics and H3 – H6 for subtopics.
- Incorporate elements such as lists and quotes to add a bit of variety to your content.
These tips can be particularly useful when writing cornerstone content. Cornerstone articles are typically longer and more detailed than regular posts. They also contain links that direct users to other posts and pages on your site.
As such, you’ll want to ensure that these important articles are easy to follow. This will encourage visitors to read the entire post (or at least skim through it), and click on the links within.
If you use Yoast SEO, the plugin can give you some recommendations for improving your posts’ readability. For example, it will let you know if your sections or sentences are too long:
When writing in-depth articles, such as cornerstone content, you don’t want to feel restricted by word counts. You’ll want to provide as much information as possible, using as many words as necessary. As long as it’s also clearly structured, these pieces can help to decrease your bounce rate and increase engagement (including click-throughs).
4. Use images and other media
When used correctly, images can help make your content more interesting and engaging. You can also use them as separators between the main sections of your post.
Long-form articles may require more photos. However, including lots of media files may slow down your pages, which can result in a higher bounce rate. Therefore, it is recommended that you compress any images that you use in your articles.
Moreover, you’ll want to add alt text to your images. This helps communicate the contents of your photos to users with screen readers, and therefore makes your website more accessible:
Alt text also provides search engine crawlers with additional information about your content. This enables them to index your images correctly, which can help improve your posts’ rankings.
Additionally, you could incorporate a relevant video into your content. This can be particularly effective if you’re writing a long tutorial or how-to post. For example, you can demonstrate the troubleshooting process in a short clip to accompany the written instructions.
As with images, videos can slow down your pages. So instead of uploading them directly to your website, you may want to embed videos into your post.
For example, you could upload your videos to your YouTube channel, and then use the YouTube block to insert them into your articles:
A healthy mix of media and text can help to improve the user experience. This can lead to better rankings for your long-form content.
Recent data shows that the top results on Google’s first page tend to be long-form articles, with word counts that range between 1,500 and 2,500 words.
However, Google has often stated that it does not consider article length as a ranking factor. Rather, its focus is on the relevance and quality of the content. So the short answer to the question “how long should a blog post be” is as long as it needs to be.
In this post, we shared some tips for writing long-form articles that perform well:
- Focus on the user intent and answer it as best as you can.
- Prioritize quality over quantity by providing valuable information to your readers.
- Break down content into digestible chunks to improve readability.
- Use images and other media to make your longer posts more engaging.
What have you found to be the ideal length for your blog posts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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