As an agency owner or marketing professional, you already understand the value of blogging for SEO. According to Optinmonster, over half of all marketers say that blogging is their top content marketing strategy. That’s not surprising when you consider that marketers who make blogging a priority are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI, while B2B marketers who blog obtain 67% more leads than those who don’t.
But having a blog is only the beginning. Even if you aren’t doing the writing yourself, you’ll need to know the type – and length – of content that will help your clients achieve their goals.
Of course, working with a white label SEO agency like Semify can take the guesswork out of the equation. However, you’ll still want to have a handle on the best length for a blog post so you can choose the right plan and deliverables to support your strategy.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the best word length for blog posts, according to the latest data available, so you can ensure your clients publish content that converts.
When It Comes to Content, Size Does Matter
While it’s clear that every business should have a blog on their website, it’s not always easy to know which blog posts will be the most effective. We do know from Backlinko data, however, that long-form content receives an average of 77.2% more links than shorter posts do. Longer content also receives significantly more social shares than short-form content.
That means that longer content tends to outperform shorter content in terms of off-site SEO. If a longer article is receiving more backlinks and more shares on social media, that’s going to contribute to more positive ranking signals and other measures of quality like domain rating or domain authority. In other words, a client’s site rankings could improve due to a longer article that receives a bunch of good backlinks.
Social shares can indicate an increase in potential web traffic, as well. And there’s also some evidence to suggest that longer content receives a moderate increase in traffic compared to short articles. An Ahrefs analysis found that there are positive correlations between articles of up to 2,000 words and increased web traffic.
This doesn’t mean, however, that Google inherently likes longer articles more than short posts. In fact, Google has specifically said that word count isn’t a ranking factor. Researchers speculate that because longer articles tend to receive more links and provide more in-depth information about a given topic, they’re seen as more valuable by web users. The more useful the content is, the longer a visitor will stay on the page.
What’s more, longer articles provide better opportunities to optimize for keywords (especially long-tail keywords). Publishing long-form content can help a client rank on more specific search terms that better capture user intent while positioning the client as an industry expert. When a blog post can answer the questions that web users are really asking, it’s going to receive more traffic and rank better as a result.
From this, we can conclude that longer content is generally viewed as more valuable. But exactly how long your content should be is a trickier question to answer. Here’s the information we gathered throughout the course of our research.
The Best Length For a Blog Post: Crunching the Numbers
- From Wix: "After in-depth industry research and analyzing our very own results from the Wix Blog, we’ve found that the ideal blog post length is between 1,500 - 2,500 words, with a sweet spot right at 2,450. When you stay within this average, your articles are more likely to rank higher on search engines, get more social media shares and backlinks.” (2021)
- From Backlinko: “The average Google first page result contains 1,447 words.” (2020)
- From HubSpot: "For SEO, the ideal blog post length should be 2,100-2,400 words, according to HubSpot data. We averaged the length of our 50 most-read blog posts in 2019, which yielded an average word count of 2,330. Individual blog post lengths ranged from 333 to 5,581 words, with a median length of 2,164 words.” (2019)
- From BlogTyrant: "On average, the top 10 results for most Google searches are between 2,000 and 2,500 words.” (2022)
- From CoSchedule: "Posts with around 2,500 words typically rank best.” (2018)
- From OrbitMedia: “The average blog post is 1,416 words… There are a ton of studies that show a direct correlation between length and results, particularly in search rankings. Year after year, the data has the same message: longer content performs better.” (2021)
- From Yoast: “We advise writing more than 300 words for regular posts or pages, while product descriptions should be over 200 words… You have a higher chance of ranking in Google if you write long, high-quality blog posts of 1,000 words or more. We’ve also experienced this ourselves; we have written quite some articles that are over 2,500 words – our Shopify SEO ultimate guide almost hit 9,000! They are cornerstone content, and they help our organic traffic grow.”
As you can see, there’s still a lot of variation here. No one can agree precisely on an ideal blog post length! But that’s because SEO is never a one-size-fits-all effort. Depending on your industry, the topic, your audience, and a wealth of other factors, one client’s best word length for blog posts might differ quite a bit from another’s. And, of course, all of this is always subject to change.
How the Best Word Length For Blog Posts Has Evolved
We want to point out that it hasn’t always been this way. Like everything else in SEO, user preferences and industry standards have evolved over time. There was a point in the not-so-distant past where having 300 words could get a page ranking. And while that still happens on occasion, we can clearly see that the trend of publishing (and seeing results from) longer content has been building for years.
As you can see from the timeline above, the average blog post length in 2014 clocked in at around 800 words. But by 2016, Backlinko data found that the average word count of a page-one result in SERPs skyrocketed to 1,890 (more than twice the average word count from just two years prior!).
In 2019, HubSpot revealed that the average length of its own most-read blog posts came in at 2,330 words, with a median word count of 2,164. That represents massive growth – though measuring only HubSpot’s articles (which are bound to be more in-depth resources) may represent some inflation. That potential blind spot is echoed in OrbitMedia’s data from 2020 that shows the average blog post being around 1,269 words. This number doesn’t represent the top-ranking results in SERPs, but it does show the typical blog post length being published at that time.
And in 2021, HubSpot claimed that content ranging from 2,100 to 2,400 words was actually ideal for SEO purposes. Once again, this number represents HubSpot readership, rather than analyzing the internet as a whole. Still, considering that HubSpot is seen as a highly trusted resource in our industry, it’s clear that they’re doing something right with their long-form content!
There’s no doubt that longer articles are becoming more commonplace. They’re also more likely to be shared widely, to result in more backlinks, and to receive a higher percentage of the traffic share due to increased rankings. But does that mean that every post on your client’s site should be a deep dive?
Always Go For Quality Over Word Quantity
Despite all of the benefits associated with longer content, that doesn’t mean that longer always equals better. Some data suggests that once you hit a certain word count, the positive correlations can often reverse course. In fact, Ahrefs found there was a moderately negative correlation between organic traffic and blog posts of over 2,000 words.
Additionally, Contentedly reports that 75% of the public prefers to read content consisting of 1,000 words or less. And since almost three-quarters of people surveyed by HubSpot admit to merely skimming blog posts, there’s clearly still a market for slightly shorter content.
That doesn’t mean that publishing a 3,000-word blog post will automatically tank your client’s traffic, though. It just means that web users will eventually hit their limit of how much information they can take in. There are much more effective ways of sharing knowledge than to publish 5,000 words in a single blog post. Splitting up the content into multiple parts (and interlinking between them) will be better for both SEO and short attention spans.
And if you’re desperately trying to reach a longer word count to achieve a magic number, you probably won’t provide the quality customers want. It’ll read like a bad book report from a student who forgot to do the assigned reading. No one wants to slog through that.
Rather than publish a long-form piece filled with word salad, aim for the sweet spot that balances length and quality. If you’ve identified and relayed the information that readers really need to know, optimized the content properly, and positioned your client as a trustworthy source, you’re still providing value – even if the content is only around 1,000 words long.
How to Achieve an Ideal Blog Post Length For Your Clients
Here’s the thing: not every high-quality article will be 2,500 words long. At the moment this sentence is being typed, this piece is around 1,600 words. Could we write an in-depth guide on how to publish longer, better content for small businesses? Sure. But if you’re like most of the agency owners we work with, you probably don’t want to fulfill those deliverables yourself! So we’re not going to waste your time or ours on trying to hit the 2,500-word mark.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to meet your own specific target for blog post length is to work with a white label SEO agency like Semify to find the best plan and deliverables to fit your goals. We like to make sure that our partners can offer a wide range of content lengths to cover all the bases. With 700-word posts, your clients can provide valuable information (like lists, which are hugely popular and shareable) without overwhelming readers. And with 1,200- or 2,000-word blog deliverables, our awesome writers can really delve into a topic that positions your clients as reliable experts in their field.
All of this data can provide you with some great framework to keep in mind. But in the end, the best blog post length for a client is whatever allows them to provide value to their readers and optimize correctly for search engines. Longer content helps us achieve both of those aims a lot more easily. As for an exact word count, it really is anyone’s guess.