It’s one of the most common questions we get asked - how long should a blog post be?
The truth is that there is no simple answer to this question.
Long-form vs short-from content is contextually driven.
I mean, how long does a blog post need to be on the topic, how high is Mount Kilimanjaro? How about the topic: thermodynamics.
The former could almost be answered in a single sentence, whereas the latter might require multiple books.
From an SEO perspective, there is a school of thought that blog post length should mirror the average length of ranking articles.
At Contentellect we tend to agree (somewhat).
The idea around taking an average word length from the ranking articles is related to the black sheep theory of SEO.
You don't want to stand out as significantly different from the ranking results. If the top 10 results for a keyword all have long-form content in the range of 1,500-2,500 words, you don't want to create a 500 word article.
Instead you want to create an article that's around 2000 words.
This puts you in the ballpark of what Google roughly thinks is the adequate length of an article that answers this query.
The operative word here is "roughly".
Optimal blog word count is more art than science.
I therefore don't get fixated on blog length.
Instead I use some of the blogging tools and methods mentioned below to get an average word count, and then I focus on writing as succinctly as possible, paying specific attention to user intent and avoiding fluff and filler.
Here are some free and paid methods for working out how long a blog post should be.
TL;DR: Watch my video on finding the ideal blog post length.
Figuring Out Average Blog Post Length
Start by typing your target keyword into Google.
In this example we are going to use the term “content writing services”.
Copy and paste the web address of the first result into the free Word Counter tool.
This tool will show the total word count for a page/post.
Rinse and repeat this for all the relevant results on the first page of Google.
Use a spreadsheet to capture the values and to work out an average word count.
This value should be the benchmark word length you use.
There are a few content optimisation tools that provide average blog post length for keywords.
The two tools we use at Contentellect are Frase and Surfer SEO.
Here's a quick snapshot on how to use them.
Frase is a content briefing and optimisation tool.
The tool scraps insight from the Google SERP and helps content creators optimise their articles based on this data.
All you have to do is feed it a keyword and it will analyse the SERP and provide loads of useful insights.
One of the key metrics it provides is the average word count for the ranking pages.
For example, I gave it the keyword: how to get bookings.
It provided an average word count of 1,400 words based on the top 6 ranking results.
Look's like I need an article that's roughly 1,400 words.
Surfer SEO uses the same scraping methodology as Frase, but is a lot more powerful for those looking to optimise on-page factors.
In terms of word count, Surfer provides an average word length range for ranking pages.
For example, I gave it the keyword: Google page speed insights.
It returned a word length range of 4000-4600 words. This range is based on the top ranking pages.
Looks like I have my work cut out for me on this one.
Blog Post Length For SEO (FAQ)
How long should a blog post be?
There are two important things to consider when deciding how long your blog post should be. Firstly, your blog post should try mirror the average length of existing pages that are already ranking for the keyword you're targeting. You don't want your blog post length to be significantly different to pages that are already performing well in the SERPs. Secondly, your blog post length should be as long as it takes to succinctly cover a topic in sufficient depth without adding filler and fluff.
Does blog length affect SEO?
Establishing the optimal length of your blog post affects SEO. If you write a blog post that falls well below or well above the average word count of ranking pages, the chances are that your post will never rank on the first page of Google. To optimise your blog post for SEO, try write an article that is roughly similar in length to those posts that are already ranking.
Are long posts better for SEO?
Long blog posts are not necessarily better for SEO. It depends on the context of the keyword. Some blog posts can rank with short form content (i.e. content that's less than 700 words), whereas other blog posts require long-form content (greater than 1000 words) to compete.
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