What is the Ideal Post Length?
Blog post length is a question I get asked about a LOT, the short answer I usually give is “make your blog post long enough to give the visitor the very best information you can“
However, let’s drill into the question and see if there’s a definitive answer to the question. Much research has been done by several sites to see if the lengths of the content correlate with better search engine positioning.
Article or blog length seems to correlate to higher search engine rankings across the various search engines like Google, Bing etc. and recent evidence shows that longer blog posts are becoming more important for ranking. So I reviewed many different pieces of research and articles that drill into the question of blog post length. Looking around the Internet turns up a few interesting nuggets that may influence how long your blog posts are.
According to Forbes, blog posts containing over 1,500 words more than 68% likely to be shared on Twitter and more than 22% likely to be liked on Facebook when they were compared to shorter posts.
So it seems that the longer the post the more likely it is to get social media “traction” and possibly go viral. It’s not always the case, but a longer post potentially offers the reader more value and covers a topic in more depth. Especially topics that are on subjects in the “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) niches. YMYL are niches or sectors that Google thinks “could potentially negatively impact users’ happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”, it forms a really important part of the ranking algorithm and thus if your business is within these niches then your content is going to get more scrutiny.
- Shopping or eCommerce
- Financial information
- Medical information
- Legal information
- News articles
- Public office
- Official information
There are many other topics that Google may consider YMYL, such as child adoption, car safety information, etc. try to assess if your website content would be included.
Give Users The Best Content Possible
But if you are creating information in or around these topics then you are going to want to be giving the very best information you can in your blog posts and website pages. Obviously then the longer the post the more detail you can provide and thus the more accuracy there is in your writing. Looking at various websites we can see that they have different takes on the length of a blog post or article;
Wesfed.com states “studies have shown that 300-word posts are the length that should be considered the minimum word count necessary in order for blog posts to be recognized and ranked in search engines”
Brian Dean on Backlinko.com states “Long-form content ranks higher in Google’s search results than short-form content. The average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.”
This figure came from research done by SEMRush into ranking positions on Google and does a longer article or blog post rank higher in Google’s search results and they stated the average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.
EliteCopywriter.com states “Bloggers that post big articles are more likely to get “strong results.” and continues with “The average blog post is now 1142 words. It’s 41% more than the average length three years ago. Today, to keep your audience engaged, you need to deliver remarkable content. Six times as many bloggers now write 2000+ word articles.”
SnapAgency.com conclude in their report “…while there might not be a ‘best’ post length, 2,000-words seems to be most highly correlated with rankings. The most important takeaway is that pages which are longer tended to rank higher.” and they end with a very wise piece of advice “However, those posts still need to bring value to the reader.”
And then we looked at research done by Medium, a blogging service which stated: “the ideal length for blog posts is 1,600 words (or seven minutes of reading).” Medium looked at an interesting metric “time spent reading” and looked at the “average total seconds spent on each post” which they then compared against the length of the post. Their research found readers average time spent reading a blog post increased up to the seven-minute mark and quickly declined thereafter. Your average reader can “consume” 1,600 words in that time and thus an optimal blog post length of 1600 words was their conclusion.
If you’re reading this and coming to the conclusion that a blog post of around 1600 to 2000 words is how long your articles should be then continue reading because I uncovered additional interesting information.
Quantity vs Quality
The SnapAgency.com looked at more than the ‘best length’ for your blog posts, they reasoned thus; why write a 2000 word article if the average length of an article on your topic is only 200 words? Also, they mentioned something which is extremely important “search intent” if it takes you 2000 words to answer a simple question then your reader will lose interest and thus have a bad user experience.
You don’t want to spend time and effort writing very long articles if you are going to get little in return, if the average post length in your niche or sector is 200 words, it may be easy to rank a blog post for the topic you are writing about for just 1000 written words.
Just because all these case studies show you the need for a 2000 word article doesn’t mean that the keywords you want to rank for NEED a 2000 word article.
Analyze the first page of results from Google if you find your competitors rank with an average of fewer than 200-300 words in their articles then consider writing an article of 1000-1200 words.
One other issue may also influence how long you make any of your articles and that is topical relevance, how “on message” is your article? MarketMuse found that “topically relevant” significantly outperformed content that didn’t cover a topic in-depth.
There’s no point in writing a long winded, padded article that doesn’t give much in the way of specific content. Writing a piece of very focused content that covers a specific topic in detail and clearly will rank more highly than a bloated puff piece on your subject of choice.
There’s no advantage in picking a word count of 1600+ just because you are trying to rank, and then running out of content to write about but then just waffling on until you hit the word count. You should aim to help your visitors with the best content you can produce. Remember it is PEOPLE who buy from you, not search engines. Although you do need to be found and thus have to “sell” your content to the search engines first, you simply won’t rank well if the content doesn’t engage visitors with useful and on-topic content.
Quickly Produce Long-Form Content
It may be that producing a short video or an infographic helps the user understand a topic quicker than a long-winded descriptive piece, so you should produce that instead. The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is not far from being true! So think about the quality of your content and not just the quantity if you want to rank highly.
Producing long-form content, anything over 1200 words can also be time-consuming, thinking up the topic, checking for the right keywords, ensuring you can produce enough content, researching quotes and other useful additional content as well as seeking out and finding the right images too. All of this is likely to make producing long-form pieces very time consuming, so you need to make sure you are producing the best content you can efficiently.
For example, one of the quickest ways to improve your search engine ranking is to find the content you have already created and work to improve it. If you have published a blog article or page then all is not done and dusted if it is not ranking well, you can go back and edit it.
But what you need to do to improve the article can be unclear, especially if you don’t know exactly what needs to be done with your content to improve it. The first thing we’d suggest is to go to your Google Analytics and look for your “landing pages” with the highest traffic. These are probably going to be the best place to start because you are already getting traffic to them and any improvement is going to attract more traffic. However, don’t ignore your lower traffic pages, if you research using the three tools below you may find they are easier to improve with fewer competitors and easier to rank for keywords.
3 tools to help improve your content
One of the tools we share with our “Profiters” who have enrolled in the course and point them towards in our follow up support is by SEMRush, called SEO Content Template, it helps by reviewing your content for a specific niche or keywords and then reviews the competitors and tells you some useful statistics about the top ten pages ranking for the keyword or sector you are seeking to rank content for yourself. It gives you semantically related keyword search terms, shows you the websites that link back to these top ten pages, reviews readability and shows you the average text length. These all help you produce higher quality content and improves the overall quality of your article.
Log in for free and test your pages today, the free version may impose restrictions on the number of pages you can research or other such restrictions.
A really useful tool, which tells you some interesting facts about the pages you are competing with and how your content compares to these competitors. You can see how your wordcount compares against the competition. Their “content score” may be a little confusing and is stated as “What’s required to properly convey information that best serves the readers’ intent is unique to each topic.” but that is just how close your content matches the user’s search intent.
So if you are searching for “Banana Bread Recipes” the score will show you how closely the pages match that search term. It also shows you the number of words in the top twenty search results, useful if you intend on writing a longer form piece and discovering the word count from your competitors. It also suggests some new topics to add to your content to improve the search engine optimisation for that page. The free version fades out the information but even the small amount helps give you some additional information.
Is a totally free Chrome plugin as well as stand-alone download and helps you with grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It assists you like an advanced spellchecker, which also looks at style and tone, giving you guidance as to what words to use and checks lots of other aspects of writing to help you improve your writing. Even if you are a good writer it never hurts to have some help to check your work is the very best it can be and make it as compellingly readable as you can.
If you find that your blog posts or pages are not ranking well perhaps it is time to go back in and edit them? Longer form content seems to rank better according to research, however, it depends on the keywords and topic you are looking to rank for. Using the tools provided can improve your choice of pages to update and give you some ideas of content to add to the page or blog post. Don’t ignore your Google Analytics data when looking to choose pages to update and consider looking at pages or posts that have few visitors as these may be easier to improve.
What Can You Do To Improve?
This is why we created and recommend using our Content For Profit S.Y.S.T.E.M, designed to create the right framework for you to work within and ensuring you produce GREAT! content for your business. S.Y.S.T.E.M stands for “Save Your Self Time Effort Money” and that is exactly what the various guides, tools, and advice help you with. Producing GREAT! content doesn’t have to take forever and cost a fortune with the right systems in place. Book a place on our next training day
Contact us on 01420 398080 for more information on Content For Profit and how it can help your business grow.