So, you’re trying to write a blog post and can’t decide how long it should be.
We’ve been there, too.
You have gurus screaming down your throat that you shouldn’t post anything less than 3,000 words.
Yet there’s people that rank fine with 1,000 words.
Search engines. They’re complicated algorithms that take many things into consideration, including word count.
That’s why today we’re going to answer how long blog posts should be once and for all.
What does the data say about blog post length?
We can theorize and guess all we want as marketers, but numbers never lie. Let’s take a look at some data around word count and SEO.
Back in 2016, Brian Dean from Backlinko performed one of the most epic studies of all time. He took over one million Google search results and analyzed them for word count.
Want to know what he found? Look!
According to his research, the average #1 result on Google was 1,890 words.
Long form content is a huge trend right now, so this conclusion makes sense. Businesses are producing long blog posts that include heaps of resources, tips, and strategies.
This approach to articles also helps you rank for more keywords, and generates increased amounts of organic traffic.
This is just one factor in the thousands of things Google looks for in websites, but keep it in mind.
A similar study was performed by SerpIQ back in 2012 that took over 20,000 different keywords and analyzed the Google results for word count. Here’s what they discovered.
Back then, the average #1 result appeared to be approximately 2,450 words. That’s more than what Backlinko found four years later!
If we meet in the middle between these two studies, it’d be safe to say that 2,150 words is a fair goal for word count.
What type of blog post are you making?
Some times less is more.
If you can genuinely teach users information with 500 words, why would you use 2,000?
That’s 1,500 words of fluff and useless rambling.
Never sacrifice quality for quantity in terms of word count. Furthermore, the type of article you’re writing will determine how long the blog post should be.
Let’s look at some examples.
Tutorials and guides
These are the big mamacitas. Try to shoot for 2,000 to 3,000 words or more. Pillar posts can go for 4,000 or more, as well.
Help readers go through everything step-by-step. I recommend including case studies, graphs, data, and as many resources as possible.
Guides and how-to style articles are the epitome of long form content.
“Top 10 Best Restaurants in New York” or “The Best 5 CRM Software” are examples of listcles, or list articles.
They simply list a certain amount of resources, and it’s good aim for a high word count here, as well.
1,500 to 2,000 words should be enough, unless you’re targeting very competitive keywords, which we’ll be touching on later.
News style posts are traditional short and kept in the 500 word range.
People want stories, and they want them quick.
Get straight to the point and learn how to write better editorials.
There’s a real art to publishing news articles in a way that’s informative, interesting, and doesn’t beat around the bush.
How competitive are the keywords?
61% of marketers agree that SEO is their top inbound priority. It should be yours, too.
Besides the type of article you’re writing, the keywords you target determine how long of a blog post you should produce.
Let me explain.
If you are aiming to rank for search phrases that have little to no competition, you can get away with shorter content.
We’ve ranked other websites on the first page or result with 800 to 1,000 word articles. The other competitors had roughly the same word count or less, but we simply made better content.
That’s another thing to consider — Google’s algorithm is more advanced than what aliens probably have on Mars. It can determine how useful and relevant content is, which is ultimately what they’re looking for, and rank it accordingly.
You could technically write shorter posts and outrank the competition if your on-page SEO is perfect and you make it more valuable.
Higher competition keywords demand high word count, though.
If you type in any high volume search term, odds are that the first page will be filled with thousands or tens of thousands of words.
Yes, some businesses write 10,000+ words. It makes you want to rip out your hair, but it’s doable.
Who are you targeting?
Not every target audience likes the same kind of content.
And if you’re a good marketer, you have an ideal reader mapped out like the back of your hand.
You know what questions they have, their struggles, interests, and demographics.
All of these help you determine what topics and keywords to focus on, along with word count.
For example, perhaps your readers prefer shorter pieces of content that are straight to the point. You may experience lower bounce rates, higher time spent on page, and more email opt-ins giving them what they want.
On the flip-side, other readers may like long form content that’s stuffed more than a thanksgiving turkey.
Word count is a fickle thing.
There’s plenty of data that suggests articles in the 1,890 to 2,450 word count range tend to rank the highest in Google.
If SEO is a large focus of yours, then we recommend always driving for a higher word count.
Similarly, the exact keywords you target will change how many words you need to write to be successful.
Lower volume search terms don’t usually require as many words, since the competition is lower. High volume phrases will most likely require to dish out thousands of words, however.
Always keep buyers persona in mind, too. Do your readers like short or long form content? Do they prefer news, lists, or guides?
What have you found to be the best word count for blog posts?