In 2021, How Long Should a Blog Post Be for SEO?

Someone blogging at a desk on a silver laptop.

There’s a place for short and long blog articles. It’s just a matter of finding out which one to use the best.

Determining this is crucial, especially in today’s SEO landscape – Google’s algorithm is smart enough to know which pages about the same topic to rank first. Updates to Google’s algorithm like BERT and Hummingbird have helped Google better understand written content and natural language.

These algorithm changes mean you don’t always have to write long articles and cram as much information into them as possible. “Longer” in SEO content doesn’t always mean it’s the best, and we know this from firsthand experience.

This post will discuss determining a blog post’s sweet spot regarding length and its relationship with SEO. We’ll also look at the steps on knowing when to write a long or short article for your keyword.

Why worry about blog post length?

A woman typing on a laptop writing a blog.

Most people suggest that your blog will garner visitors if you focus on quality content. That’s true to an extent, but optimizing your content for SEO is just as important.

By ranking on the top of Google search engine results pages (SERPs), you can get more clicks to your website, thus generating more readers to your articles and potential leads for your business.

You must be mindful of many ranking factors to get your articles to appear on organic search pages. And to be clear, blog post length isn’t a ranking factor.

However, knowing how long or short your post should be will help you understand the kind of content you should write.

You’ll be able to produce optimized content that meets the demands of search engines and your audience about the topic by using the right amount of words.

Some bloggers don’t write enough words in the content to cover the topic in depth. Others go out of their way to create an exhaustive post, but most of the information provided is irrelevant to the topic.

By knowing the right blog post length, you’re exerting just enough energy to get your blog posts to rank. 

What people are saying about blog post length

A lot of authorities in the blogosphere have spoken up about this topic. Below are some of the latest findings on ideal blog post length concerning SEO:

  • Hubspot believes that a blog post should have 2,100-2,400 words.
  • Brian Dean of Backlinko reports that the first-page results on Google have an average word count of 1,447

The findings are clear: the longer the blog posts are (at least 1,500 words), the higher their chances of ranking on search engines.

The real truth about article length

A man reading a blog on a smart phone.

Does that mean you should already write more than 1,500 words on all your blog posts?

Not really, and here’s an example to illustrate this point:

Suppose you’re optimizing for the keyword “chicken parmigiana recipe.” You looked at the SERPs and saw that all of the pages have less than 700 words. Each contains the ingredients and recipe of the dish only.

So, if “short posts” are ranking at the top of SERPs, writing a longer post doesn’t make sense. As the saying goes, “do as the Romans do.” If a post that’s shorter than the “prescribed word count” is more than sufficient to rank at the top of Google search, who are we to dispute?

This reason is why there’s no such thing as an ideal word count for all posts. It all depends on keyword intent.

Going back to the “chicken parmigiana recipe” keyword, you have to ask yourself this question:

Why are users searching for this keyword?

It is very clear from the search query that they want to find a recipe for this dish. These internet users are not searching for this to determine how the dish tastes or which occasion to serve the dish. Chances are, the user already knows these things. And if not, they should have searched for these questions instead.

At the same time, there are situations when writing longer is the correct answer.

The intent for the query “how to increase website traffic” would be to find out the ways on how users can get more people to visit their site. The post must be a listicle that enumerates and explains the different ideas users can do to boost their traffic.

Therefore, the word count can be equal to or higher than 1,500. Writers would want to include many useful ways and tips in the article to make it valuable to readers.

So what does this mean?

Blog post length is a case-to-case basis. There’s no all-encompassing figure that all posts must follow as the word count. The keyword, its intent, and the pages ranking on the first page of SERPs – determine whether you will be writing shorter posts or longer content.

How to find out how long or short your blog post should be

Someone typing into a search engine

Synthesizing what we just talked about above, here’s the exact process of finding out how long your article should be for your keyword:

  1. Enter your search query on Google.
  2. Open all the pages on the first page of SERPs.
  3. Extract the number of words each page has.
  4. Add all of them and divide them by ten since there are ten pages on the first page of Google search.

From here, you should have the average word count of all the top-ranking pages. 

Now, there are tools to help you find each page’s word count to expedite this process. But finding out the exact steps is more important so you can do it without using any tool.

As mentioned, blog post length is not a ranking factor in itself. It’s simply a metric to help you cover the most relevant topics about the keyword without going under or over the word count.

Conclusion

A diagram depicting engaging content. WHile blog post length is important, engaging content is king.

SEO is getting much more sophisticated as Google’s algorithm, and content marketers are getting much savvier.

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” figure when discussing blog post length because of the different variables involved. The number will depend on what Google SERPs show you for your target keyword. From there, you can craft high-quality content that satisfies the needs of search engines and your audience, whether it’s 300 words or 3,000 words!

We looked at how you can determine the number of words to write in your blog post. However, you probably still need help in this department for some reasons.

At Romain Berg, we provide content creation services on top of our digital marketing solutions to unlock your business’s full potential. Please fill out this form to let us know your business needs our marketing expertise. We will happily help you create optimized content that is the perfect length for your business.

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