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The length of an article is a common metric when determining traffic. On average, longer articles tend to perform better both in Google search and social media. But how long is the perfect length for blog posts?
It’s actually a bit convoluted.
In reality, there are a lot of variables that come into play when determining the best length for blog posts.
Things like blog industry, topic and the overall quality of the information can make shorter posts appear amazing in search results.
In fact, I have several on the first page of google with fewer than 1,300 words.
The Perfect Length of Content
In some studies, the average length of top Google results is more than 2,400 words.
And that’s the key element you need to keep in mind: average. This means shorter and longer blogs posts are often just as effective. Otherwise, the average would change in either direction.
It all boils down to the type of content you create and your target audience. I’ve seen 1,000 word articles appear higher than longer competing posts simply because they are rich with information.
Perfect Length for Blog Posts Relies on You
While many experts attest to longer being better, the ideal length for a blog post really depends on you. Things that will affect your highest performing content include:
The niche or industry your blog is related to will impact blog length. Some articles are better as short, yet informative pieces to engage a particular audience.
- The amount of information you share.
The more detailed and well-covered a topic appears to the audience, the better. However, some topics really don’t have much meat to serve. And often, they perform well in search if the information is valid.
- Your style of writing.
How you create content will alter the length of a post. If you insert a lot of examples, life experiences or suggestions, it could have a greater impact on length.
- Your content strategy.
A lot of writers will break up longer posts into separate articles. It gives them an additional topic to blog about at a later date. As long as you’re not hurting the current topic, it could server you well.
I’m not saying that shorter posts are always better than longer ones. In fact, there are several benefits to long articles. For one thing, you can expand on the topic and add relatable facts and information.
This could increase visibility in Google and attract a wider audience.
The problem is some writers tend to add filler or “fluff” content to make a certain word count. This usually consists of words and information that really have no bearing on a topic.
It’s a bad practice to get into and can easily hurt your search rankings.
How to Determine Your Perfect Length for Blog Posts
When determining an ideal length for a blog post, it’s all about finding what works best for you. After all, each website is different.
While some sites will have tremendous success with 2,500 word long-from posts, others will have a similar experience with 1,200.
The best way to find out what works best for you is by keeping an eye on what your audience consumes the most. You can do this by closely watching Google Analytics.
What is your most popular piece of content and why? Find your most popular article and break down what makes it effective.
How many words does it contain? Is it rich with details regarding the topic? How long do people spend on that particular page?
Here are a few blog length best practices you should consider when figuring out your own optimal blog size.
Don’t Sacrifice Quality over Quantity
Too many bloggers will try to meet a certain word count to make the post appear better in search results. Unfortunately, they often fill the content with material that isn’t really relevant to the topic.
In other words, they sacrifice quality for quantity. And as Google puts more emphasis on quality, this kind of practice ends with posts being ranked low in search results.
It’s not about trying to push to 3,000 words in an article. It’s about providing in-depth information readers can absorb. If you’re capable of doing that in fewer than 1,500 words, so much the better.
Take the term, “Progresso Soup Diet,” for example. I have three articles on the first page of Google for this keyphrase, and all three are under 2,000 words.
What’s funny is that only one of those articles focused on the Progresso Soup Diet to begin with.
As long as you can provide details people are looking for, you can rank high in search results.
Know Your Target Audience
One of the best ways to determine a good length for a blog post is to know your target audience. This goes back to what I was saying earlier about keeping an eye on analytical data.
Your audience will guide you to what is the most effective type of content on your site.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to stick to a specific length to be successful. You may find that a 1,000 word article is just as effective as one sitting at 3,000.
My point is that you need to know who you’re writing for and the information of which they’re looking.
Your Industry Plays a Role
The industry which you center your blog will play a big part in finding an ideal length for a blog post.
For example, I’ve found that short and descriptive content works exceptionally well for health and fitness articles. But, longer and more detailed content works well in sites like this one and on the gaming site.
In fact, I also see a correlation in content type. How-tos work best on the gaming site while reviews are the way to go on the health blog.
Understand your industry and find what drives your target audience.
What is the Audience Looking For?
Providing focused information is vital for any blog post regardless of size. Part of that is knowing what it is people are searching.
Just because you think it’s a good idea doesn’t mean everyone else will.
What kind of reader do you want and how can you help them? To know that, you’ll need to browse through trends and analytical data.
Keep in mind that it could take weeks if not months before Google ranks your post in search. Which means something that’s popular now might not be in the coming weeks.
This is why I usually try to focus more on evergreen content. At least that way I know the information is still relevant when my posts start to show in Google.
Picking Keywords and Semantic Phrases
An important part of creating content of any kind is choosing the right keywords and semantic phrases. Don’t just center around one specific term and cross your fingers.
For example, I include more than five different ways people may search for the same content. This lets me target those who are looking for the same results using different terminology.
Plus, it helps Google further understand what your content is about.
One of my favorite tools for this purpose is either going through Search Console or using LSIGraph.
Just remember not to over-saturate or try to force keywords and LSI terms. The content still needs to make sense to both humans and search engine bots alike.
Understand Every Topic is Different
Another important factor for finding the perfect length for blog posts is understanding every topic is different. Some information is far more effective as short answers than trying to drag something out.
For instance, most of my reviews on the health blog are between 1,000 and 1,200 words long. And they do fairly well in terms of engagement. Most of them even have a 10% click-through rate in Google search.
However, longer topics rich with information also do just as well simply because I add additional points or greater explanation to the subject.
Listicles, reviews, how-tos and Q&As may vary greatly in terms of length. Don’t just stick to a specific number of words for each post you create.
Go Beyond Words and Text
Of course text is going to be the biggest driving factor for gaining traffic on a blog. After all, this is what Google crawls and indexes.
On the other hand, you can add more meat to your posts outside of using plain text. And although these methods don’t increase the word count, they do contribute to the overall quality of the piece.
They say, “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” When it comes to engaging an audience on a blog, this statement has more truth than a lot of people realize.
The trick, though, is to make sure your images are relevant to the topic. You just can’t slap up any graphic and cross your fingers to go viral.
Expanding with Video
A popular method for engaging an audience is through the use of adding video to posts. It’s relatively easy to upload a video to YouTube and then embed it on your blog.
It’s a practice I do quite often, actually.
Instead of just looking for a the perfect length for blog posts, the video accentuates the topic and keeps visitors engaged.
Not to mention that it improves Google search rankings as people are spending more time on your page watching the video. And it helps by targeting a YouTube audience who may not know you have a blog.
Update and Revamp Old Posts
There’s nothing wrong with going back and updating old posts. In reality, it’s one of the best ways to boost traffic to the website.
I’ve seen my own blog posts nearly double in visits because I went back and either added or edited information to fit today’s trends.
For me, the best way to do this is to use Google Analytics and drill down the content. Then, I compare the last six months to the six months before to see if there is a drop in traffic.
After wards, I’ll go in and revamp the articles that have slipped in visits with new content.
It’s also a good idea to browse the data in Search Console. Looking to see what articles lost search positions can indicate a need for updates.
Adding Relevant Information
A great way to meet the perfect length for blog posts is to add relevant information to that older content. You’ll see this happen a lot on the Internet, especially if statistical information is involved.
Go through your older blog posts and see if there is anything new you can add to beef up the topic. Just remember you need to add something of value. Otherwise, it may have the opposite affect and actually hurt your search ranking.
However, don’t try to force the material to meet the perfect length for blog posts. Adding extra text that doesn’t make sense to the topic will confuse your readers as well as search engines.
Remember…it’s all about quality!
It’s All About the Visitor
Not all websites will have the same perfect length when it comes to information. Depending on the details, you might find a great deal of success with content lengths that are half of what experts say is ideal.
Experiment on your own and see what works best for your blog.
- Buffer – https://buffer.com/library/the-ideal-length-of-everything-online-according-to-science
- BuzzSumo – https://buzzsumo.com/blog/how-to-massively-boost-your-blog-traffic-with-these-5-awesome-image-stats/
- Search Engine Land – https://searchengineland.com/googles-august-first-core-algorithm-update-who-did-it-impact-and-how-much-303538