75% of people prefer reading articles under 1,000 words, according to SEMRush. However, the same report explains that, on average, longer content earns eight times more page views, three times the amount of social media shares, and nine times more leads than shorter content.
So How Long should a blog post be?
The quick answer, to give you an average, is 1200 – 2000 words.
If Bloggers earning more than $50,000 per year say their most popular posts are 2,424 words long, there is something more compelling about long-form content.
Long-Form content is typically 2000 words or more. At one time, we considered long-form content any blog over 1000 words. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see listicle-style blog posts with 3000 words or Pillar Posts with more than 5000.
That being said, more is not always better. Here’s why.
Covering the Topic In-Depth.
The quick answer to how long a blog post should be is as long as it needs to be.
For Example, If you are writing a blog about the mathematical solution to the problem 2 + 2, you aren’t going to have a lot to write about. So instead, you can satisfy the searcher’s intent with a simple answer.
However, if your topic is “How to program a robot that will win the battlebot competition,” then there are undeniable factors of functionality and approach.
Programming a robot that wins will require you to understand machine learning, artificial intelligence, computing hardware, and mechanics at the bare minimum.
In this case 2 + 2 = 4 just doesn’t cut it. You need 1,000 words to explain how to build this robot from scratch truly.
Covering every in-depth detail shouldn’t be necessary for every blog post on any topic.
However, when covering topics of an analytical nature or discussing complex details that pertain only to niche interests, this is what’s required to satisfy the searcher’s intent and get high-quality leads coming through your funnel.
In general, the highest-ranking pages on page one of google are long-form content. And if the topic doesn’t call for long-form content, it’s probably not worth writing or trying to compete with.
Word Count for SEO
To be clear, Google isn’t counting the words on the page and determining one piece of content better than the other based on the word count.
Instead, Google is looking at the topic coverage and expecting to see a particular set of phrases and keywords that other top-ranking pages have used.
In general, the most authoritative websites that cover the topic most efficiently, with the best user experience, win the rankings on Google.
The best way to see the average text length for a topic is to know how long your content should be and use a tool like the SEO Content Template from SEMrush.
The tool takes your topic keyword and scans the top 10 Google page one ranking pages on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). It then averages the content length between those ten pages and gives you an average.
Ideally, you’d write a blog post within that range.
Unfortunately, doubling the average text length probably won’t help you rank any higher unless the ten rankings didn’t cover the topic in-depth.
Writing content that is too long by stuffing in the irrelevant text to make the blog longer could dilute the focus and hurt your rankings.
SEO Content Template
Assume you are writing a blog post on the best way to potty train your toddler. Using the SEMrush content template, we can see that the average text length is 972 Words.
In this case, since I like to round up my word count when estimating the goal length, I’m going to publish 1000 – 1200 words.
If I truly understand this topic and write the content from my expertise, forgetting about word count and realizing my blog post is 2000 words when finished, then that is the correct length.
It won’t be stuffed with “fluff” because it was written from the point of my own experience.
HOWEVER, if I’m hiring a writer and need to order a specific amount of words and have to guess, I’d probably order 1000-1200 words in this case.
Using the same SEO Content template tool and looking up the phrase “How Long Should a Blog Post Be”, I can see that the average length of the top 10 ranking blogs for this topic is 1209 Words.
Therefore, this blog post that you are reading now will be in that range.
Start With Headings
One way to help determine how many words you might publish for a topic is to start by creating a blog outline.
Research your topic and subtopics. Your subtopics will be your paragraphs, and each will have a heading (H2) to identify that subtopic clearly.
Imagine that your outline includes five subtopics. Each subtopic might be around 300 words. Your blog, therefore, would be about 1500 words when complete.
That’s oversimplifying, but it’s a great way, to begin estimating the length of an article.
If you could come up with ten sub-topics, you may have a pillar post on your hands. Pillar Posts are generally 3000-5000 words because they cover a much larger topic in depth.
In some cases, it will be ideal for creating the Pillar post covering the topic in its entirety on one page. In other cases, it might make sense to break up the blog post into several smaller, laser-focused blog posts.
Depending on the competition, it might be tough for you to compete against the top-ranking pages, even if you create a 5000 words Pillar post because your domain hasn’t quite yet earned the authority just yet.
You need time to grow your domain name and gain backlinks from other authoritative websites.
Yet if you took one of those sub-topics that has a much smaller focus and less competition, you might be able to rank for that phrase.
Therefore, it’s generally best to start small and work your way up to the Pillar posts.
While 1200 – 2000 words is a safe bet on how long your content should be, It’s not really about word count. Creating a quality blog post is about covering a topic in depth.
Be sure your reader can gain everything they need to know about the topic they searched for, but not more than that.
The better your blog post satisfies the searcher’s intent, the more likely you are to be rewarded on the SERP by Google. Google’s goal is to return the most relevant page for the search.
It’s a good idea to take the top 10 ranking pages on Google and get an average text length. Your blog post would ideally be somewhere near this range. Again, A tool like SEMrush can help with this research.
You might also create a “pillar” post that meets the needs of Google and your searcher. Those posts are generally between 3000-5000 words.
If you are having trouble with ranking, try using a subtopic instead to create a much more focused blog post of around 1000 – 1500 words in length. Also, it’s often easier to rank for lower competition keyword phrases than popular, high competition keywords.
Lori Ballen is a real estate agent in Las Vegas. She’s a digital marketing specialist, speaker, and marketing coach and loves to share her “Ballen Method” to generate website traffic and leads online. Lori’s specialties are SEO content writing (ranking on the search engines), social media strategies, and affiliate marketing. Need a website? Contact Lori’s brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin at Ballen Brands.