Getting a blog post to rank highly on Google isn’t always simple. After all, there are a number of factors to consider, from promotion to blog length, but many writers and marketers get stuck on the latter.
If you’ve already done a little research into the ideal blog post length, you might have come across a few answers: some arguing that 350 words are enough, others saying you need to hit over 2000 words.
We’ll explain why there isn’t an absolute answer about the ideal blog post length and how you should write to achieve your business’s revenue or traffic goals.
Why search marketers can’t agree on word count
You may have come across a wide range of responses in your search for the optimal word count for a blog post. But the truth is, it doesn’t exist. While some marketers have run various A/B tests to find the magic number, their findings may not apply to everyone. Here are just a few factors that can make a big difference.
Industry – You may have noticed that certain websites, such as news publishers or gossip columns, feature far fewer words than a blog about investment strategy.
Content type – Some of the highest ranking articles are lists with GIFs between paragraphs. Other times, they’re in-depth, multi-page guides.
Goal – What is the purpose of the post? To be read in its entirety? To be shared as many times as possible? To rank highly? Or maybe just to convert visitors into leads? Your post may be shorter or longer depending on which you choose.
Device Type – Google announced that over the past few years, more users are searching on mobile over desktop. While mileage may vary, users are less likely to read a lengthy post on their phones.
Frequency – Some blogs publish content more frequently than others, and if they have an active user base, those blogs are more likely to see high traffic regardless of post length.
What the experts say about the ideal blog post length
Yoast is known for building one of the most useful SEO plugins for WordPress, allowing just about anyone to optimize their content for search engines. According to their research, blogs should have at least 300 words to rank but ideally have more than 1,000 words. If the writer isn’t experienced, reaching 700-800 words should be the target, otherwise, they may produce a lot of fluff to reach a higher count.
The social media scheduling and publishing platform, Buffer, believes that the ideal word count is 1,600 (although they do state that their best performing content comes in at around 2,500 words). Buffer bases their findings on a study by Medium, which found that 1,600 words yielded the highest total time on page: 7 minutes.
Marketing software developer HubSpot analyzed their own blog posts based on word count and organic traffic. They found that posts with 2,250 to 2,500 actually generated higher traffic than posts of any other length, even posts with over 2,500 words.
Depending on your blog’s intent, the ideal word count can change. The Write Practice, a major resource for aspiring writers, recommends first choosing a goal: higher engagement (such as comments), more social shares, or a better ranking. For generating discussions, posts of 75 to 300 words are best. For increasing shares on social media, anywhere between 300 to 1,500 is ideal, with the latter end generating better results. Finally, posts of 2,450 words or higher will achieve the best results on Google’s SERP.
CoSchedule is another popular social media marketing platform. Through their own research, they found that content with over 2,500 words performed best because they maximized the number of social shares and engagements.
While some marketers focus on specific word counts or ranges, others believe that the ideal count doesn’t really exist and that there are far more important factors, such as quality and relevance. So instead of writing to try and reach an arbitrary number, it’s more important to provide value to your unique audience. Sometimes it can be accomplished in a few hundred words, other times it may need to be split into multiple parts.
Arcalea’s Conclusions – How much should you write?
All of the studies and research provided by the companies above have some merit. While the exact number may have changed, marketers found some common insights in their data:
Set a goal for your blogs
The ideal word count changes depending on your blog post’s intent. Some news updates are meant purely for awareness and social sharing, so they tend to be between 75-500 words. Product guides and reviews should include as many words as necessary to properly inform the customer.
Write 700 words minimum
For a general starting point, aim for at least 700 words. While there are certainly posts with fewer words that do equally well, those posts tend to have some other factor to boost their popularity, such as the website’s brand name or the promotional tactics involved. Anything below 700 words will be considered “thin content” according to Google, which means that the page lacks any value for the reader. This can result in a lower ranking on Google.
The more you write, the better
In almost all of the studies, marketers agreed that writing more words lead to better results: higher traffic, higher rankings, and higher social shares. Word counts may not be important, but lengthier blog posts tend to include more instances of the target keyword, hold more useful information, and generate more points of discussion.
Quality over quantity
How much you write doesn’t matter as much as how well you write. Some of the best articles are less than 500 words, while some websites publish blogs with thousands of words that will never be read. Focus on writing in a natural voice, and include relevant and insightful data in your posts.
Blog posts require a significant commitment in terms of time and effort. To maximize the efficacy and ROI of your content, your business should have a multifaceted content strategy. To learn more, visit Arcalea today.
Arcalea combines marketing professionals and data analysis experts into a single team. We love reading the data, the challenge of "how can we?" and of continuously striving to raise our teammates and client partners to be the best they can be.
About the blog
Arcalea shares information, ideas, news and updates about various aspects of the industry. If you'd like to hear about a specific topic, please let us know and we'll make it a future post!