Jul 7, 2021

How long should a blog post be?

How long should a blog post be?

Contents

Ideal Blog Post Length for SEO 2021

On average, around 7.5 million blog posts are published every day.

Most of us come to hear that a reader's attention span nowadays is at an all-time low, and people are only looking for “news within 60 seconds” kind of stuff, but does that mean that you should limit your blog posts too?

‘How many words should a blog post be’’ is a pertinent question for every content writer and every company involved with content marketing. Content marketing is a burgeoning industry, and more and more people are entering the world of blogging every day. The beginners often look for the prerequisites before they start, and often the first question is - how many words are ideal for a blog post?

Some stats would not harm before we start – there are over 70 million posts and 77 million new comments that WordPress users publish every month. It alone accounts for over 409 million people viewing 20 billion pages.

With people’s ever-changing attention spans and a continual change in how they consume content, it has become imperative for you to keep track of what they like to read and the best way to serve it to them.

This article will clear your confusion pertaining to how many words for a blog post is ideal in 2021 for raking in maximum attention and viewers.

Long-form Content Matters

In his book, Everything But The Plant, Alex Birkett stated that the ideal length of a blog ‘depends’ or we can say varies depending on several factors.

You need to define how long your text is, but why? It allows them to rank on SERP (search engine result pages). For example, the longer your text, the higher the chances of it ranking on Google.

For Yoast, 2500-word blogs have been the cornerstone content for them and have been driving the growth of their organic traffic.

Let us understand the underlying mechanism.

Semrush says that long-form content generates eight times more page views, nine times more leads than short-form content, and garners three times more social media shares.

If you write longer blog posts, you will have more reasons to incorporate your focus keywords organically. Unnecessary keyword stuffing mars the whole reading experience. Integrating keywords organically in a long-form post is the best way for you to ensure that Google finds them.

It means that a longer blog post can help you induce multiple long-tail versions of the keywords you want to rank for, and the optimization part gets more manageable. If you are writing a shorter post, say a 300-word blog, Google and other search engines can tag it as thin content and will be reluctant to rank it on their SERP.

In his book, Alex Birkett says that the exact length of the blog depends on your DA (domain authority), topical authority, the industry you belong to, quality, relevance, and the topic you choose. But considering Ceteris Paribus (everything else remains the same), a longer blog post gives more meat for search engines to delve into, and it is one of the ways your blog can fight against websites with higher authority.  

But before we delve deeper, it is imperative to understand that word count will matter only when your content matters. A blog with 10,000 words full of fluff doesn’t deserve to be on the first page of Google or any other search engine. Word count must be complemented by quality to ensure that it makes for an ‘ideal’ blog post.

The Evolution of the Ideal Blog Post Length

How many words for a blog post is ideal in 2021? Let us first understand its evolution in the last decade.

During the year 2010, the ideal blog length was around 500 words.

IsItWP states that the ideal blog post length evolved to around 800 words in 2014. It crossed 1,151 words in 2018.

Backlinko released their research back in 2016 that stated that 1,890 words, on average, was the length of an article on Google’s first page.

Moz undertook a study to understand the correlation between social shares and content length. They found out that blogs with anything between 3,000 and 10,000 words receive the most shares.\

Portent answers the question how many words should a blog post be by stating that the average blog post on Google is 2,520 words long in 2021.

So even though you may fail to find a standard range between these findings, the proof is here for you to see - long-form content rules the roost. There is no reason why you should ignore it unless you are Seth Godin.

The Benefits of a Long-form Blog

“Brevity is the soul of wit,” said Shakespeare. It means that quality writing has to be to-the-point and concise.

Even though it works for most marketing endeavours, people prefer longer blog posts. In the world of infographics and video-based content, written words still hold their own, especially when it comes from an expert.

Here are the benefits of a lengthy blog post –

Increases time spent

If you are writing relevant content, and it is long and engaging, it helps in increasing the time spent by each visitor. As per Neil Patel, when you write a detailed piece, it leads to a 40% spike in people staying on the page, and a 25% hike in those looking for more relevant content on your website.    

It is especially helpful if you have a detailed guide on any topic. Having multiple pages demonstrating the subject would help increase page views and considerably reduce bounce rate.

More social media interaction

When readers find a relevant and long blog, they are three times more likely to share it on their social media handles.

Why is social media interaction significant?

At present, irrespective of whether your target audience is young or old, they use social media in some form or the other. For most, it acts as the primary source of information. So even though we know every visitor will eventually bounce, if they share the blog post on their social media handles, it will inadvertently bring in more traffic.

Also, when there are more social media shares of your post, it adds credibility to it and forces search engines to rank it higher on SERP.

Increased backlinks

When you write a high-quality blog post, it attracts visitors. As per Buzzsumo’s 2018 Content Trends Report, over 70% of all content that we see online doesn’t get a backlink from any other site.

HubSpot had an exciting find to share – blogs with over 2,500 words earned more backlinks than shorter ones.  

It is imperative to understand why exactly. You are writing long-form because you have authority in that niche. So inadvertently, it helps others attach it as a reference for their readers. It aids your link-building endeavours and pushes your DA higher.

Higher conversions

Long-form content is also a proven performer when it comes to generating leads.

For example, Moz had its Pro Membership landing page revamped. It inculcated more details and was seven times longer than before. As a result, it saw a 51% surge in sales and over $1 million in revenue.

CrazyEgg revamped its home page and made it 20 times longer. The result? It increased conversions by 30%.

We are not saying that you can stuff your pages with unnecessary details. If you have more meaningful content for your visitors, you can add it or keep it short.  

Ideal Blog Post Lengths for Different Blog Post Types

Now that you know the ideal length of a blog post and the advantages of writing long-form, here is the suggested word count for different blog post types -

How long should pillar pages be?

Pillar articles form the base for a host of sub-topics, the count crossing 20 in many cases. So the ideal count of these should be between 2,000 and 5,000.

How long should listicles be?

Even though listicles contain several items, you cannot write an elongated listicle blog. The ideal length of it should be between 700 and 1,300 words. It will help you cover all the items and also give an overview for each of them to the readers.

How long should "how-to" blog posts be?

“how-to “ blog posts are usually written to cover the smallest of details pertaining to the topic. So you can write up to 5,000 words for each one of them.

How long should "what is" blog posts be?

“What is” blog posts cover a specific topic and discuss its pros and cons in most cases. So these should range between 1,500 to 2,000 words.

Minimum Blog Post Length

If you do not want your blog to be considered as thin, you must write at least 300 words for each blog.

How to Write a High-Quality Long-Form Post?

The first thing you need to understand is that you are not writing for search engines but for human beings. So ensure that you align your content with your readers’ wants. It means quality should be of paramount importance when you decide to curate a new blog.

If you are looking to write long-form without adequate experience, it can often be difficult to generate high-quality content. So unless you are experienced and understand the nuances, we suggest you stick to around 800-word blogs.

Here is how you can write a lengthy blog post –

Understand your goals

Before you start writing, it is crucial to chalk out your goals and how you want to go about them. The first step towards it is to decide your target audience, the reason behind writing the blog, and how you will measure the success, say 1,000 social media shares or ranking first on Google. It will give you a clear perspective to ensure that everything you add aligns with your motive behind writing the piece.

Choose between gated and ungated

We often have pages built to generate a piece of specific visitor information (say contact information such as email ID or number). Such content is termed as ‘gated.’

Most of the content that we create is ungated. These refer to pieces that do not generate any information for the creator and are shared because they contain information that the visitors may find helpful.

There is no one right answer to how long or short your content should be. It all depends on your business model and what leads or traffic you want to generate from the blog post.

Choose a relevant topic of discussion

It is a predicament that most budding bloggers face – finding the suitable topics to bring in requisite results. For all those struggling to find the right ideas to delve into, it is vital for you to keep your goals in mind.

If your goal is to garner a maximum audience, look for topics in demand and you have some knowledge about; whereas, if you are looking to increase sales, you can create a page that may induce higher conversions.

When you decide on a topic, it is not just the heading that matters. You will have to figure out the relevant keywords, look for questions that people ask around it, gauge your competition, and check the existing content to understand what is working and what doesn’t.

All of these would help you create a structure for the blog.

Keep the readability factor in mind

One of the most significant mistakes that we have seen most bloggers commit is writing blogs and other content pieces from their perspective. While they own the website, their focus should be on the end readers. So if you feel you are getting distracted, take a step back to understand if the visitor would benefit from it.

The primary objective of the blog should be to keep the readability quotient high. So how do you do it? By following a logical line of thought. For that to happen, you must have a hook sentence to intrigue the reader and ensure that they keep reading. The rest of the paragraph should elaborate on the first line and connect the other parts.

Similarly, there are other aspects that you need to keep in check too. For example, keep the content crisp and maintain the tonality throughout. Use a lot of transition words and keep the paragraphs limited to three or four lines.

The last thing that is imperative for high readability is reducing passive voice usage to the bare minimum.

Use headings wherever possible

When we say create a structure first, we mean that it is essential to break the entire piece into small readable parts. You can either use a bottom-up or a top-down hierarchy. Most of the blogs follow the top-down approach, where they have many subheadings to elaborate the subject. It also makes the content more skimmable and more pleasant to read.

Find original ideas

Even though it can be challenging, you can almost ensure a cult following for your blog if you can find original topics to discuss. Of course, you will have to work harder for that to happen and reflect on your core competencies. But it will help find ideas to distinguish you from the rest.

The next step is to understand what your target audience may be interested in and what your competition is doing to cater to them. It will help you develop a set of keywords and give you heaps of ideas on how to go about it.

Take care of the aesthetics

It is not only the content that matters. The aesthetics are equally important if you want to rake in more traffic. It not only includes the overall structure of the article, but the ancillaries, such as backlinking, email buttons, additional buttons for sharing on social media, and subscription options. All of it should come together to contribute to the overall visitor experience.

Another crucial aspect that has a significant impact on the overall aesthetics is the way you present the blog. If you want to make it pleasing for the eye, make sure to do the following –

  • Add images or white spaces between headings
  • Use italics and bold the keywords for improved emphasis
  • Add emojis, if the tonality suits it
  • Break your paragraph and add high-quality photos with ALT text.

Summary

You search for something on the internet, and you will find a plethora of articles with different perspectives on offer. It is crucial to get past all of them and have one for your own.

Historically, most websites have benefitted from writing long-form articles that are beyond 1500 words. But there is no hard and fast rule about it. Your readers come to you to garner the value that you have on offer. So irrespective of the word count, you must keep up the quality quotient.

Even Google agrees that value determines the way their ranking works. So it is vital for you to understand what works best for your audience and accordingly undertake a strategy for growing your blog organically.

If you choose to go long, make sure that you have the requisite expertise and the ability to keep your readers hooked for a longer span.

Even though several contributing factors determine the rankings, the length of the blog is a fundamental criterion. Whatever you choose to write, make sure you cover all the essential details. You take care of the details, your audience will take care of the SERP.

We hope this blog answers the question how long should a blog post be.

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