There has always been a talk that Google favours long-form content, but the question here is how long is acceptable and how long should be considered relevant?
Because not every query on Google is supposed to be answered through long answers, sometimes people don’t like reading dozens of paragraphs for a one-line answer. Also, on the other end, just spilling out words in the content for the sake of word count resonates with low-quality content, which I think Google hates, and that’s why questions like ‘How long should be a blog post be?’ needs to be answered.
When I first started blogging, I was confused with what’s gonna work on Google in terms of word count until I stumbled upon various other blog posts, and also through my research, I think now I have a clearer idea regarding how long a blog post can be?
Hence, here I am, trying to share what I know, and I hope you will have a clear idea of how lengthy your upcoming blog posts should be by the end of this article.
Table of Contents
What’s the Average Word Count of Blog Posts in 2021?
It’s necessary to address your audience with the right amount of content and the right kind of content. Hence I skimmed through the Internet to find the average word count of blog posts that most bloggers prefer.
The reason why I was looking at average blog post length? is because I wanted to have a number aside to compare it with any blog post and assess whether the number stands true. Remember that numbers are just a reasonable estimate of what usually works, not what always works.
Hence here I want to share three stats that seemed valid and gives us a good outlook towards how long a typical blog post can be?
1) The average blog post length should be 2500 words approx
The ideal blog post length should be anywhere around 2500 to rank high on top search engines such as Google — as per CoSchedule.
In the blogging space, it has often been shown that writing long-form content helps in boosting SEO rankings which also means that your articles get a chance to be read by more people.
Creating such a blog post of 2500 words approx will take eight to ten hours, and if you are an experienced writer and a subject matter expert for a specific topic, you can chunk out a 2500 post in two to three hours.
Here, the length of your blog post matters, but the content should also be readable, relevant, and most importantly, it must connect with the audience. If you tick the above boxes and hit the magical average blog post length count, you can expect it to rank high on search engines and drive a good amount of traffic.
Now, this number varies from niche to niche. In the online marketing space, you can assume most of your articles to touch 2000+ words, and if you’re writing a pillar content, the word count could quickly go over 4-5k words. Whereas for small and emerging niches, 2500 words as average blog length might seem above par.
Hence 2500 words as an average word count is a little debatable stat, but if you’re into any medium and high competitive niches and targetting competitive keywords then this is the number that you can keep an eye on while publishing most of your articles.
2) Perfect content length for reading is 7 minutes
Mike Sall wrote an extensive article on Medium, the fundamental research behind that number was explained quite simply along with graphs. But my initial problem with the article was that it was published in 2013. Hence I believe things have changed since then and people nowadays are more dependent on the Internet, and a lot of users don’t mind spending more time to learn/educate themselves through blogs.
Anyways, if we consider 7-minutes as an optimal blog length, then it converts to 1500+ words for an average blog post. But these days unless the search intent is narrow and the niche isn’t well informed, then it is not likely that you’re going to get away with writing 1500 words for each blog post. I think this number stands so true for niche websites and for keywords where there isn’t much existing competition.
Being said that there will still be a lot of factors to consider 7 minutes as a good number, but for now, I think you should look into Mike Sall’s article where he visualized the data with graphs and came up with conclusive points like:-
- With an increase in blog length, the view count decreases
- A 3 min blog post tends to get more reads as small content is easy to consume
- If the post length is over 10 mins, readers may not read the full article and usually there is a drop in readers after 7th/8th minute.
Hence the above points should tell us that not every article needs to be too lengthy, as visitors might drop off due to such extensive content. But here we can conclude one thing that anything more than 7-minutes will undoubtedly drive away attention, resulting in more significant bounce rates.
The peak of the attention span rises at 7-minutes and then falls after the 9th minute. If you want to create a successful blog post that ranks, then remember this 7-minute reading time rule.
Now usually, 7-minute blog posts account for 1500 words, and as per the Coschedule, an average blog length should be 2500 words. I think from the above two stats, you can guesstimate that a word count of between 1500 words to 2500 words could be considered a good length for the blog posts.
3) Blogger get ways with 1300 words
Yes, you read it right. Writing 1300 words is the average blog post length of many bloggers (or) blogs. However, firstly you should go and read this article by Andy Crestodina where he conducted a survey between 1000+ bloggers about their content and their process.
In the article, Andy takes the right dig into how many bloggers are getting away with writing 1300 words and it was shown that only 25% of bloggers stick around 1300 words. But whereas blog posts with a 3000+ word count have proven to give substantial results to other bloggers and most of these bloggers are the only ones who are doing things differently.
Now, this puts us in a critical position as to choose whether to go with below 1500 word posts (or) go above 2500 words and publish 3000+ word blog posts. I think the answer is simple if you want to stay above 25% of most bloggers, then you should aim for more than 1500 words each time.
Hence here I would again like to say that writing articles between 1500 words to 2500 words is still a good boundary to follow. Because creating such an amount of content should make you spend enough time on researching, outlining, writing, and editing.
Do You Need to Write 1500/2500 Words Each Time?
This is a million-dollar question. Should the blog post be 1500/2500 words each time?
The answer is a big “No.”
Because firstly you should know about something called search intent and you should also know that a search intent impacts the length of your content each time.
To make you understand, basically search intent is the intent behind search on any search engine and to analyze the intent behind the keywords/searches. We have to do a thorough SERP analysis.
If you’re asking why SERP analysis?
Then you should realize that search engines are responsible for ranking web pages for a given search term. Search engines like Google have a massive database and definitely in most cases if Google is ranking a particular set (or) particular kind of content on the Top 10.
Then it should give us a clear indication that both Google and users prefer such type of content.
For example, for the search term ‘birthday surprise ideas, ‘ Google prefers ranking blog articles at the top, indicating that you can write a blog post and rank on it.
But whereas for a search term like, ‘birthday surprise package,’ you would barely see any blog articles ranking. This is because here, the search intent is to make a purchase and hence that’s why an eCommerce webpage has more probability of ranking than a blog post for the search term like ‘birthday surprise package‘.
Therefore a search intent dictates what kind of content should rank on Google.
But on the other hand, if you choose to write around keywords that aren’t purchase-intended, then the length of your content is still based on the search intent.
For example, when you search ‘how long is 250 words‘, you would notice webpages with less than 1000 words ranking on the top. Because someone is searching for ‘how long is 250 words‘ just to get quick answers nor he/she would like to skim through 1500/2500+ word article to get a ‘one-word answer.’
Therefore a word count of your ideal blog post to rank on Google should be determined by thorough SERP analysis and by averaging out the top competitor’s blog post word count.
There is a three-step process that I follow each time to come up with the best word count to publish my articles, which are:-
- Firstly assessing how many blog posts are ranking on the Top 10 results. If there are more than 5-8 blog articles in Tp 10 then it’s a green signal to go for blog posts.
- Secondly taking each article’s content and pasting it in a word counter. Usually, I would prefer to paste first 5 blog post’s content into word counter.
- Once, I get the accumulated word count for 5 articles, I will divide it by 5 and that number should be my typical blog post length for that keyword.
- Additional: I will thoroughly check each ranking article to assess any additional sub-topics to add in my content. Also I would prefer to look at alternate keywords for which the existing articles are ranking.
Now at the end of these steps, I have an average word count to reach and a list of sub-topics to cover. It is not mandatory to reach the average word count every time, you go around 100 words + (or) – with that number and make your content come as naturally as possible.
However you can potentially add more additional sub-topics if you fell way below the average word count, but make sure that what you’re adding does make sense and needs to be helpful for the reader at the end.
What’s the Minimum Word Count for Any Post?
Google as a search engine doesn’t recommend any minimum blog post word count. But, as per Yoast, a leading search engine plug-in for WordPress, the minimum length of the blog post must be 300 words.
A blog post of a length of 300 words is not easy to rank unless you have a high-authority blog and probably no existing competition for your keywords.
Hence writing articles close to a 500-word count isn’t gonna challenge your competing blog posts and also regardless of word count, not all blog posts fall under one category/type while writing.
Here, I want to share the minimum word count that you could expect/need to publish for a blog post based on its type. Note that, the data/numbers below are taken from Hubspot data.
How long should listicles be?
The ideal word count for a listicle is the range of 2300-2600 words. The longer a listicle is, the higher it will rank.
For instance, would you love to see a list of just five ideas to upgrade your living room (or) a listicle that has more than fifteen ideas? Of course, the latter would receive more traffic. So, add as many points in your listicle, but they must be relevant to the topic. Otherwise, they will do more harm than any good.
Thus for listicles, I think you can go above and beyond as long as your items/sub-ideas in your list make sense and are valid for the readers.
How long should ‘how-to’ blog posts be?
Generally, the ‘how-to’ blog posts are anywhere between 1700-2100. Since the aim of a how-to blog post is to explain something that your reader can implement. Therefore, the blog post needs to be in detail, and you should not worry too much about the length of the post for such posts.
For ‘How-to’ blog posts, I don’t think you can go above and beyond with your word count, even though such types of blog posts need a detailed explanation of something. However, the explanation needs to be swift and easy to understand, which means you can’t rant with your words to get your point through.
How long should ‘what is’ blog posts be?
Now, coming to the ‘what-is’ blog posts, its length should be anywhere between 1300-1700 words. The what-is articles need not be too detailed. The purpose of such blog posts is to explain the topic then and there itself.
Hence in these articles, you can’t go on and on like listicles, and also, you don’t have enough leverage to write little more words like ‘How-to’. That’s the reason why you will find most of ‘what is’ blog posts to be shorter.
How long should a blog post be for SEO?
For SEO purposes, the ideal blog post length must be more than 2000 words, as per the HubSpot data.
Also according to Neil Patel, the optimal length of a blog post depends upon the industry you are writing for and also agrees that most of the articles should cross 2000 word count. But also he emphasized the importance of making posts longer till 3000 words to pay off better SEO dividends.
However be it any blog post type, I think the range of 1500 words – 2500 words still hold a sensible approach to word count and I think you can choose to go and above with your word count depending on multiple considerations.
Assuming keywords which you’re after is demanding for a longer blog post. Then, in that case, you should learn how to get your content seamlessly through your readers and yet make them feel like it’s easy to consume and read.
To write long articles in a simplified and helpful way, you need to do few things right to create a blog post that people love to read and share:-
1) Meet your user’s search intent
First things first, people aren’t reading your blog posts for entertainment. They are doing it for a purpose, and you must have to fulfil that purpose. Hence get your brain behind searchers intent and ask questions like:-
- Why are people typing this?
- What do they want?
Creating a blog post that solves their problem and adding as much information you can in a concise form that connects with your readers is a way to go about it.
If you ace the search intent of your potential readers and people love reading your content, even Google can not prevent your blog post from ranking on the first page of SERP.
2) Use multiple subheadings
These days, with so much information available over the Internet, the users have a pretty short attention span. They won’t be reading your lengthy intros and even lengthier paragraphs. Therefore, have as many subheadings as you want with sentences not more than three to four lines.
Remember that each subheading must connect with the previous heading to maintain a seamless flow throughout the content.
If the subheadings are not synching, then users won’t be able to maintain their attention span.
Note: Also, make use of bullet points in your content to grab the attention of your readers.
3) Use active voice verbs
If you want to keep your readers engaged throughout the blog post, then use active voice verbs.
Connect with them through the use of powerful words like ‘You & I’.
For instance, something like, is your SEO traffic going down? As your introductory line/headline makes a significant impact on your reader’s mind. It would help if you talked directly to your readers.
Otherwise, if you follow a third-person approach, then your readers won’t feel that they have anything to do with the article. So get into your audience’s shoes, then figure out what they want from your blog post, and if you can justify, then expect your blog post to rule the search engine.
4) Use visual content
Another way to make your content engaging is via the use of visuals. Add infographics that excitingly provides additional information.
You can also use videos and images that tell what the subheadings are about.
Visual content is the big reason why readers want to share your content via social media platforms. Several tools such as Canva lets you create copyright-free images and infographics. Make sure you devote time to preparing the images, as you did on writing the blog post.
Let’s Wrap Up
From the above, we can deduce that the lengthier the blog post, the better it is. But, at the same time, your blog post must satisfy the user intent behind the search.
Your content must be concise, informative, and encourage readers to take action.
If your content is not unique and grammatically correct, then no matter how long it is, it won’t rank. But if you want a final answer from me regarding the average length of a typical post, then it should be around 1500 words – 2500 words, it can go above and below depending on search intent and other factors.