Ranking content in search requires your post to be the most valuable piece on the topic. But how do we (and search algorithms) measure value?
The simple answer is typically 1,000 to 2,500 words. The reality is that there are many exceptions to this guideline, and content length should be exactly how long it needs to cover the topic thoroughly, and no more. Not every blog post will fall into the same word count range.
The length of a blog post should largely be determined by the intent of the searcher and the depth of content required to adequately satisfy it. Each piece of content you craft should provide enough information to meet the user's needs but not be so lengthy that it becomes overwhelming.
When it comes to writing SEO content, a blog post's length can substantially impact its long-term value. The length can influence several factors, such as:
- Audience engagement
- How search engines rank your content.
Search engines reward comprehensive, well-structured content that offers valuable insights. Therefore, ensuring your blog post is neither too short nor unnecessarily long can help your content perform better.
Producing content that strikes the right balance in length can help:
- Gain more traffic
- Appear high in search results to reach a wider audience
- Convert this traffic into customers or leads.
Beyond SEO, content length can also affect user experience and engagement. A well-optimized, concise, yet informative post is more likely to be read, shared, and linked back to, improving its overall online visibility and performance.
Many content marketing services consider these aspects when creating content strategies. They often provide tailored recommendations on blog post length, among other factors, to ensure that content satisfies SEO guidelines and aligns with the user intent and the brand's message.
Typical Word Count Length of an SEO Blog Post
A common rule of thumb is that blog posts for SEO should typically fall within about 1,000 to 2,500 words. This range generally allows for comprehensive topic coverage while maintaining reader interest and engagement.
However, this isn't a hard-and-fast rule. There are many factors that can influence the ideal length of a blog post. Let's discuss a few of these:
- Searcher Intent: A concise blog post may suffice if a user is looking for a quick answer to a simple question. If they're seeking an in-depth guide on a complex topic, they'll likely appreciate a longer, detailed post.
- Topic Depth: The complexity and breadth of your topic can also dictate the length of your blog post.
- Competition: If the top-ranking articles for your keyword are long, in-depth pieces, your content will likely need to be of similar length (and quality) to compete.
Consider these factors and adjust your content length to maximize its SEO potential and engagement value.
When To Write a Shorter Post
Let's explore some scenarios where a shorter post may be appropriate:
- If your post aims to answer a simple question, a shorter blog post might be all you need.
- If you're sharing a news update, an announcement, or covering a trending topic, these posts may be shorter than the average blog post.
- Certain niche topics may not require an extensive word count to cover it comprehensively.
- Blog posts listing tips, steps, or similar content can sometimes be shorter while offering value.
When the situation calls for it, a shorter, more digestible post can engage readers and provide the information they need more efficiently. This approach respects your readers' time and signals to search engines that you're providing valuable, user-centric content.
When To Write a Longer Post
There are plenty of situations where a longer blog post is required for both audience needs and SEO.
- A comprehensive guide or "ultimate" post necessitates longer content.
- Detailed research findings or in-depth case studies require a higher word count to provide all the necessary details and analysis.
- Certain subjects are inherently complex and require detailed explanations.
- Pillar or cornerstone content is the foundation of your website's content and is generally a comprehensive overview of a broad topic.
- Highly competitive keywords often require more extensive posts.
- In-depth interviews or insights from multiple experts is often longer by nature.
In these scenarios, longer blog posts are justified and essential to provide the comprehensive information your readers seek.
Word Count Considerations for the Type of Content
Different types of content serve different purposes, which can influence how long the content should be:
- Linkable Content: This content attracts backlinks from other sites. To make your content linkable, it must be in-depth, authoritative, and provide unique insights or data, which usually implies a longer word count.
- Keyword-Focused Content: If your primary goal is to rank for a specific keyword, the competition may dictate your content length.
- Designing Content for Users and Search Engines: Striking a balance between user-friendly and SEO-friendly content is key. While search engines may favor longer, more detailed content, it's essential not to overwhelm your readers.
Likewise, consider your goals and audience to determine the most appropriate word count for your content.
Word Count Considerations for the Specific Information
The post's subject matter can also greatly influence the necessary length of the content. Some topics can be covered adequately in a short post, while others demand more comprehensive treatment.
For example, a simple DIY tutorial could be concise and still effective, whereas a comprehensive overview of a complex topic like artificial intelligence would require a more extensive post to cover the information effectively.
Evaluating the Word Count of Similar Existing Content
Consult similar content to understand the typical length of posts in your niche or on your topic. By examining the top-performing posts, you can gauge an effective word count range.
Use tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to identify the top-ranking posts for your target keywords. You should also search for your top keywords incognito to see who currently ranks. Analyze the SERP for intent and your most direct competitors.
Review these posts to understand their length, structure, and depth of coverage. This analysis can provide insights into what search engines and users consider high-quality content for your topic.
When To Consider Splitting Content Into Multiple Blog Posts
Sometimes it's beneficial to split content into multiple posts. Here are a few indicators that you might want to consider:
- If your blog post reaches upwards of 4,000 or 5,000 words.
- If your topic involves various subtopics or sections that warrant extensive discussion.
- If you're veering off into other related topics while writing.
This way, you can maintain focus in each post and potentially expand your keyword targeting.
How Often Should You Post Blog Content?
The frequency of posting blog content can vary widely depending on your resources, audience, and industry. However, a commonly accepted guideline is to aim for at least one post per week. Regularly posting quality content keeps your site fresh, signals to search engines that your site is active, and provides consistent value to your readers.
There is always the worry of publishing too much blog content. You can't necessarily have too much high-quality content that provides value to your readers and aligns with your SEO strategy. However, posting content just for the sake of posting can be counterproductive without considering its quality, relevancy, or value to the audience.
It's not about sheer quantity — it's about the quality and relevancy of the content you're posting.