How long should a blog post be? It’s the question that’s been baffling bloggers for years.
The latest research shows that bloggers are spending more time than ever before writing blogs — over six hours per post. But that same research revealed that the median average time spent reading an article is 37 seconds. So, what’s a blogger to do?
Let’s take a look at whether a successful blog starts at 1,500 words (or more), or if shorter posts rule the roost.
Back when I started writing blogs, all this talk of keyword research and search engine results was practically nonexistent. The length of a blog never really came into question, as long as you had a few solid paragraphs with good information, there was no need to be writing longer posts.
In fact, that same survey that found most people spend less than 40 seconds reading blogs also found that 75% of people prefer reading articles under 1,000 words.
So, we’re good, right? Shorter is better. Not exactly.
HubSpot took this information and figured out that using the average reading speed of native English-speaking adults of 300 words per minute, the ideal blog post length is 2,100 words.
Then, HubSpot also took a look at their own blog content and they found that the magic number for a blog post was between 2,250 and 2,500 words.
As you can see from these different word counts, the ideal blog post length is about four times the length of blogs from the good old days. Gone are the 500 words (or less) posts, right?
Again, not exactly.
Here’s what we know so far: Attention spans are going down, but the average word count of blog posts is on the rise. Why?
While shorter articles are preferred, longer articles do better in rankings and website visits because they are more comprehensive. That’s because they typically contain long-tail keywords, actionable information and help their readers solve problems.
That same SEMrush survey mentioned earlier also found that long-form content can generate as much as eight times more page views, three times more social media shares, and nine times more leads than short-form content.
In other words, Google’s algorithm will pick up on those related words, phrases and paragraphs and rank your post higher in search results than shorter posts, especially if it only tells you a few basic facts that you probably know from common sense anyway.
The short answer is no.
Although the current research indicates that articles less than 1,000 words have little chance of ranking, there are other factors that will help your shorter posts appear. They include:
This is important because blogging regularly allows you to position yourself or your business as an industry expert. It builds trust with your audience and immediately establishes your expertise for new visitors.
A meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a brief summary of a webpage. Search engines such as Google often display the meta description in search results, which can influence click-through rates. How? It contains keywords that are relevant.
Social signals also help determine if your content can make the cut as a truly high-quality, informative post. Social media affects your site traffic by providing more visibility to your content. When lots of people share your content within their networks, they're going to send more traffic to your website and therefore, boost your rankings.
Shorter posts still must be optimized. When you optimize your blog posts, you're making your website more visible to people who are using search engines (like Google) to find your product or service.
Although your blog post length may vary depending on your topic and audience, it is often best to aim for about 1,500 to 2,000 words for articles or posts. Longer pieces seem to do better when it comes to ranking on SERPs.
But as long as you’re meeting the needs of your target audience, writing long posts may not matter. Just make sure they’re at least 500 words so they stand a chance of ranking.
There's a really handy tool online that lets you know how long your blog post should be before you even start writing it. This blog post length calculator lets you enter some keywords or even your blog title, and it tells you how long your blog post should be.
It's based on the top-ranking articles for the keywords you enter and it even shows the top search engine results along with their word count.
The SEMrush Writing Assistant is another great tool that you can use. It provides instant recommendations for content optimization based on the best-performing articles in Google’s top 10.
People aren’t reading your blog posts for fun. They’re looking for information and trying to solve problems. To find topics that will grab their attention, start with your customers’ needs, likes, pain points and goals. Then create blog posts that address those needs. Once you do that, your readers will want to share your posts with others who have similar needs.
Remember that survey I keep bringing up? It found that nearly 50% of people take recommendations from bloggers into account. If you can give them good advice, and solve their problems in fewer words, more power to you.
And here’s something else to think about when it comes to content creation. You may want to lean toward a long-form blog post rather than creating another eBook. In the long run, you may get more value out of that article than another download — if it’s done correctly.
And in case you’re wondering, this blog post is just over 1,000 words long. We’ll see how it ranks!