How long should your blog be for SEO? Join me as I dive into the research and prove that there are things more important than blog length.
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How long should your blog be for SEO? 1,000 words? 2,000? A full novel? There’s no shortage of opinions on this topic. And there’s plenty of research to back up a lot of those opinions.
But what’s the right answer?
Well, in this blog, I’m going to outline the latest numbers on how long your blog should be for SEO. But, then I’m going to talk about two things that are more important than hitting a certain word count in your blog post. (And why those “ideal word counts” don’t really mean much anyway!)
Ideal Blog Length
According to HubSpot, the ideal blog length is 2,100-2,400 words. They got that number by averaging the length of their 50 most-read blog posts in 2019.
According to a study done by serpIQ, blogs with more than 2,300 words tend to rank highest in search results.
Image source: SWEOR
This longer-form blog length is backed up by research from Moz and Buzzsumo, which concluded that blogs with 3,000-10,000 words tend to get more social shares.
Image source: Moz
After analyzing 11.8 million Google search results, Backlinko found that the mean word count of a Google first page result is 1,447 words. And blogs with a higher-word count tend to secure more backlinks, which are super important for SEO.
Image source: Backlinko
According to all this research, longer-form content that’s anywhere from 1,400-2,400 words (or higher!) tends to perform best.
Why Is Longer-Form Blog Content Better for SEO?
If you’ve been reading anything about SEO lately, this isn’t news to you. It’s likely you’ve heard that long-form content is king. But why is that exactly? Don’t readers these days have short attention spans?
And you’re not exactly wrong. We’re definitely in an age of information overload. This is why so many people online skip from one thing to the next because there’s so much information at their fingertips.
But we’re also not goldfish. If something catches our attention or addresses a topic we’re interested in, we’re going to stick around to read it (or at least skim it until we find the answer we’re looking for).
This is why there's so much research backing up long-form content. Because it’s not just about catching a reader’s attention but keeping them there. And a longer blog packed with useful information helps with that.
Answers the Question: You can’t communicate much of anything in less than 1,000 words. And if your blog doesn’t comprehensively answer the blog topic you’re writing about, readers will click away to find another piece of content that does.
Communicates Authority: You’re trying to track your monthly expenses and want more information about how to start a budget. Which do you trust more: a 500-word blog on budgeting or a 2,000-word blog? People trust longer-form blogs because it communicates expertise through the length and depth of the content. (Even if they’re not reading every word!)
Establishes Trust and Credibility: Both search engines and search engine users are looking for information they can trust. And you build trust online by establishing authority in a topic area and getting other people to link out to your content (or what’s called backlinks!). The more comprehensive your content, the more likely other people are to want to share it.
So, based on the research and arguments made above, we should all be shooting for 2,000+ word blogs. Right?
Well, not exactly.
More Important Than Blog Length: Quality & Searcher Intent
Longer-form blogs do tend to perform better than shorter-form blogs. But you’ll notice that in my bulleted list above it’s not just about the length of your blog, but the quality of the content.
Just shooting for 2,000+ words is not enough to get your blog on the first page of search results. Nor does it take into consideration the searcher’s intent for the specific topic you’re writing about.
Searcher Intent & Keyword Research
For example, the top 10 search results for the keyword “monk fruit vs. stevia” are all, except for one blog, under 2,000 words. Most are around that 1,000-word mark. It appears that most searchers for this topic are looking for a quick-hit, bulleted list of the pros and cons of monk fruit and stevia so they can quickly decide which one is better for them.
They don't need or want a long expose on monk fruit and stevia, they want a quick and easy answer. So, in this case, going out of your way to hit 2,000 words and providing far more information than the reader actually wants is not going to do you any favors.
On the other hand, Google results for the keyword “no added sugar diet” are mostly 1,500+ word blogs. And the top two search results are over 2,000+ words.
Searchers for this keyword appear to want as much information as they can find on successfully starting and sticking to a no added sugar diet. They don’t want a fluffy, short article. They want to feel like they’re starting this diet with all the right resources and information.
This means that it’s not about hitting 2,000 words to hit 2,000 words. It’s about asking yourself:
What does my reader want to know?
What information are they looking for?
Then, provide that.
But how exactly do you go about figuring this out? Open up a Google search and type in the keyword you’re hoping to target for the blog post you’re writing. Take a hard look at the top 10 search results currently ranking for that keyword.
These top 10 search results are ranking for a reason. Google considers them to be the most trustworthy answers to the query you typed in the search bar.
How long are the blogs?
What topics do they cover?
How is the information presented?
When writing your blog, follow the lead of these currently ranking blogs. (Note: I don’t mean copy!) Give your take on the topic or present the information in a new way without straying too far from what Google is telling you that the searcher wants.
Quality vs. Quantity
Now that you know what the searcher wants, it’s time to deliver high-quality content that meets their needs. Hitting a certain blog length does not guarantee success. A 2,000+ word blog can still be a crappy and poor-performing blog if you’re not focusing on quality.
Here’s what I mean by quality:
Well-researched and cites reputable sources
No grammatical errors in your copy
Knowledgeable yet approachable language
Quotes, stats, and references from industry experts
Easy-to-read formatting (like bulleted lists, short paragraphs, graphs, charts)
Internal linking that points them to other resources
And so on!
The key is to keep your reader in mind always as you’re drafting a piece of content. What do they want to know? How can you help them, answer their questions, or make their life easier with this blog? It’s not about you, it’s about them.
When you focus on creating a high-quality blog, the right length for that blog will happen naturally. And that’s because the ideal blog length is the number of words that it takes to comprehensively answer that blog’s topic without overwhelming your reader with too much information.
In Summary: Write for Your Reader
At the end of the day, the length of the blog doesn’t matter as much as the quality of the content and the type of keyword you’re trying to rank for.
The right length for a blog is the number of words that the searcher needs to get the answer to their question.
Spending your time trying to hit a magical blog length number is not what’s going to get you on that first page of search results. It’s doing keyword research, understanding your audience, and providing high-quality content that makes the difference.
And yes, a lot of the time that does end up turning into long-form versus short-form content. But not always! So instead of focusing on the length, focus on your reader.
Looking for help creating SEO-optimized blog content? Enroll in my free course for 10 easy steps to success:
Free Online Course: How to Optimize Your Blog for SEO
Video lessons on why blogs are important and 10 steps to optimize your blog for SEO
A printable blog checklist of all the elements to keep in mind for before, during, and after you write
Recommendations for free keyword research tools
Guide on How to Build a Buyer Persona