/ / Is There an Ideal Length for a Blog Post? (2021)

Is There an Ideal Length for a Blog Post? (2021)

ideal blog post length

BLOG POST LENGTH

Ideally, the length of a blog post is between 1,500 – 2,500 words.


OUTLINE

Introduction

In general, longer blog posts are better. Ideally, a 1,500 – 2,500 words is just about right for most content.

Well, it may appear like a quick-witted introduction, but a survey of various opinions from bloggers and article writers suggests that this word count is optimal. Be it for reader consumption or search engine ranking purposes.

Sources of Information for the Ideal Blog Posts Length

We have gone over and reviewed some of the top 10 SERPs dealing with the subject. We used the keywords “LENGTH OF BLOG POST” which led us to the question: “IS THERE AN IDEAL LENGTH FOR A BLOG POST?”  We fired up Google Search and voila!

ideal word count blog post
Google’s top 10 search result pages for ideal blog post length – June 2021

This gave us an overview of what Google perceives to be the pages that have to be in the top spots of its search result, specifically answering the question we just asked: “IS THERE AN IDEAL LENGTH FOR A BLOG POST?”  To be precise, the search was conducted mid-June 2021.  This is relevant because we know the result may vary in the succeeding months depending on whether or not newer contents are produced. 

By the time you read THIS post, the search result may have already changed as a consequence of Google’s indexing THIS page.   Nonetheless, even if it does so, the effect won’t be much of a difference for the foreseeable time.

So let’s get into the meat of this post. 

Is there an ideal length for a blog post? If yes, what is the ideal word count for blog posts?

The Ideal Length of a Blog Post

We take a look at the top of the result and we can clearly see a snippet that the ideal length is between 1,500 to 2,000 words.  It is from an article by databox.com which  speaks of the result of the latest survey conducted by Chicago-based digital agency, Orbit Media Studios.

Borrowing from Orbit Media, the following infographic shows the notable changes in the length of blog posts over the period from 2014 to 2020:

ideal blog post length

Data shows that blog posts between 500-1000 words decreased from 2014 to 2020, while a considerable increase is noticeable in the 1000-1500 word posts for the same period. Interestingly, the 2,000 and above word count threshold have seen a dramatic increase in the last 6 years.

Manifestly, the line graph below from Orbit Media exhibited a decline in short articles vis a vis the rise in long form content:

ideal blog post length

Ideal Blog Post Length for SEO and Lead Generation

For HubSpot, the ideal blog post length is between 2,100 to 2,400 words if the main consideration is SEO. Based on their own data, the average length of their 50 most-read blog posts from 2019 has a word count of 2,330.

But the most enthralling part of their findings lies in the difference between the average word count for articles intended mainly to generate traffic vis a vis those for lead generation.  It makes sense for HubSpot to reveal this on their part as they are primarily an INBOUND marketing and CRM company.

Accordingly, posts intended to generate more traffic are those which deal with general topics and thus directed towards a wider audience.  Contrast this with articles aimed at establishing a link between a brand product and the content of interest to the reader.  To do so, it needs to have more specialized information which is of particular importance to the intended audience.  In other words, the content is required to be in-depth and authoritative.

Consequently, it necessitates the need to have highly engaging content which is longer than the average blog post intended for SEO.

As revealed by the data collated from their blog, the 50 posts that generated leads for HubSpot in 2019 did have an average of 2,569 words.  Higher by approximately 250 to 400 words than their most-read blog posts.  There was even a post with 8,197 words that performed well.

Ideal Word Count For Different Types of Blog Posts

Everyone would agree that there is not a single type of blog post that is the end all and be all of blogging or article writing.

In SEO, there is a content page known as Pillar Page. It is the main content page or blog post on which cluster posts are based. From a Semrush article, “a pillar page provides a comprehensive overview of a topic but leaves room for more detailed coverage of the topic in the cluster pages, which typically focus on a particular aspect of the topic, often a keyword.”

Since a Pillar Page is supposed to cover more content than an average blog post, the ideal length should be 4,000 words according to HubSpot.

For other types, they generously shared the following word counts based on their data:

  • Listicles – 2,300 to 2,600 words;
  • “How-to” blog posts – 1,700 to 2,100 words;
  • “What-is” blog posts – 1,300 to 1,700 words;

Listicles are a form of writing which list items and provide short discussions and some examples of each.  As they do not come in the same way most blog posts are written, say in paragraph form, readers tend to crave for more upon reaching the last item in the list.  That’s why 2,300 to 2,600 words would do readers some favor.

“How-to” blog posts, as its name suggests, teach readers how to do something. Normally, people come to the internet to search for something which they cannot figure out how it works, or if they already knew, just wanted to learn the proper way of doing it.  A How-to post need not be very long, but not too short leaving the readers in open-mouth disbelief: “Is that it?”  A word count between 1,700 to 2,100 is not bad.

A “What-is” blog post typically answers a question or explains a topic which is of particular interest to the reader.  Usually, the latter would make a quick lookup to determine something or confirm what he already knew of the subject.  Hence, a shorter length between 1,300 to 1,700 words would do the job.

List of Suggested Blog Post Length

torquemag.io has a notable compilation of research-backed recommended blog post length.  Caveat: the post was originally published way back in 2018, so much of the input data were from previous years.  But it still gives us a glimpse of how the ideal length of blog posts have evolved over time. It likewise provides us information on what factors affected the changes, specific considerations, and real life figures.

Here’s are some highlights of the post:

  • OkDork/BuzzSumo Study – aim for 2,000+ words per article to get more shares;
  • Backlinko – Search Results in Google’s front page average 1,890 Words;
  • Moz/BuzzSumo – should have a minimum of 1,000 words;
  • Medium – content length in time is best at an average 7 minutes read;
  • SEMRush – Longer quality content is better;
  • SerpIQ – Average top article in Google is 2,416 words long;
  • CoSchedule – top content has at least 2,000 words;
  • Team Yoast – The longer the post, the better; but it must be of quality;

Ideal Blog Post Length Depending on Audience

We have found some interesting bits of information where the ideal blog post length is made to depend on the intended audience.  Joe Bunting, bestselling writer, novelist and founder of The Write Practice has provided us some insights on the number of words blog posts should have depending on who the target readers are.  We compared this side by side with similar suggestions from a blog posted by Bramework.

THE WRITE PRACTICEBRAMEWORK
75-300 words: best for generating discussions and comments; not intended or “horrible” for SEO;200-400 words: These are short posts best for discussions and general engagement. i.e. product/service descriptions or commentary
300-600 words: recommended by “expert” bloggers; middle-ground for social shares and comments; too short for search engines;400-600 words: considered as the minimum length; for social shares and engagement; too short to drive traffic or affect SEO;
750 words: standard length for journalism; for newspaper readers; for social shares;600-1,000 words: educational posts with journalistic style; cites influencers and references; minimal SEO;
1,000-1,500 words: gains more shares on social media; receives comments depending on the topic;1,000-1,500 words: usually targeted towards leads; drives organic website traffic;
2,450 words: highest ranking articles on Google; ranks well on search engines;1,500-2,500 words: known as “Google go-getters”; search engine friendly;

The Ideal Blog Post Length Based on Reading Time

There was a finding based on Medium’s Data Lab research involving their own blog posts. They plotted their site’s visitor engagement and the time spent by the readers of their posts.

Based on their research 7-minute posts capture the most total reading time on average.  Past 7 minutes and the reader’s attention begins to wane.

But they are quick to warn that it is not to be taken as a rule etched in a stone. Said Mike Sall, Head of Data Science at Medium:

“This doesn’t mean we should all start forcing our posts to be 7 minutes! There is enormous variance. Great posts perform well regardless of length, and bad posts certainly don’t get better when you stretch them out.”

Mike Sall, Medium

But how much does this 7 minutes reading time translate to word count? Buffer believes this to be equivalent to 1,600 words.

Hence, a blog post which takes up to 7 minutes to read means it contains 1,600 words on the average.  Beyond this, it may be possible that readers might become weary or disinterested in the content.

Is There a Minimum Length for a Blog Post?

 We look at one of the most popular SEO tools (especially for WordPress), Yoast SEO.  According to a January 2020 article from yoast.com the following are the minimum number of words per type of page to get a green bullet in Yoast SEO:

Taxonomy pagemore than 250 words
Regular post or pagemore than 300 words
Cornerstone content pagemore than 900 words

The aim is to get past these numbers in order for Yoast’ SEO tool to green light the content in conjunction with all the other parameter checks it has set in place.

Nonetheless, Team Yoast recommends longer quality content to rank higher in search engines.

HubSpot made mention of Yoast’ minimum word count in its article but likewise suggests the necessity for longer ones if the main consideration is search result position 

A minimum of 1,000 words based on average recommendations would not hurt.

SEO Keywords and Search Intent

Perhaps, it may be a good question to ask: What’s the use of having a lengthy blog post if there’s no one interested in its content?

Wouldn’t it be considered an exercise in futility to write an article with 3,000-5,000 words even if there’s nobody searching for it?  While a spike in interest brought about by the new content cannot be dismissed, such possibility is remarkably remote.  Not to mention the necessity of a high Domain Authority to propagate knowledge over the digital sphere.

Best move would be to start with shorter informative bits of information to arouse reader interest then go full speed ahead when it peaks.

On the other hand, there is always a good reason to be circumspect in doing keywords research first before proceeding to write a 2,500 to 3,000 words blog post. This is in order to determine search intent by readers and thus serve them with suitable content.  After all, readers follow our blogs because they’re very much interested in what we write.

Keyword research is very much important in SEO.  To make your content rank well in search engines, it is better to find the proper keywords which crawlers usually look for in a post or article.  After undergoing some algorithms which determine the relevance of the keywords used in a page, it gets indexed as part of the billions of page results of that search engine i.e. Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Longer blog posts means more content for Google’s crawlers to index.  And that makes other search engine’s crawlers happy as well.  They feed from information which are then matched and paralleled with actual keyword searches to come up with relevant search results.  This is how SEO keywords and search intent relate to each other.

As another way of saying it, a lengthy blog post is only as good when there are readers actually searching for its content.  Not just ordinary content though, but quality ones, which brings us to the next topic.

Blog Post QUALITY vs QUANTITY

Sometimes, blog writers tend to concentrate more on the length of their post as well as the target SEO keywords.  In turn, they try to spin up content and make use of the relevant key phrases over and over just to reach the maximum word count.

Often, there are those who just merely rehash or recycle content just to rank in search engines.

Sadly, this defeats the original purpose of blogs which is to provide and share information regarding a particular person or topic of interest to the public.

It is always a good practice to come up with original quality content that primarily provides insights or information than to write just for the sake of merely producing longer blog posts but with keywords jammed up all over the place. 

To provide quality content rather than just focusing on word count, the article must likewise be UNIQUE in itself.  This can be achieved by conducting one’s own research and coming up with a suitable mechanism to present the information clearly to the reader.  And thus, the need to determine the target audience which will be discussed in the next topic.

The Ideal Blog Post for the Target Audience

Determining the target audience is as important as maximizing the word count.  Otherwise, it would clearly be a waste of time and company resources to just write lengthy blog posts but without predetermined readers.

The target audience may be classified into different age groups, demographics, cultures or even product/brand preferences.

The length of the blog post may vary according to the age of the readers.  Older generations might not have the same preference compared to the newer generations.  In the same way, cultural and political differences sparks debates and discussions in which case, a longer blog post might come in handy to cover both sides of the story.

Writing an article for a particular product or brand will not always involve the same or similar formula employed for another product.  While they may be targeted towards the same class of consumers, subtle differences exist as to even require considering the sensitivity and conservativity of some group of individuals.

Whether for SEO or lead generation, it is always safe to first define and classify the target readers before starting to write the first word of the article.

Some Battle-Tested Tips and Recommendations to Increase Word Count Without Sacrificing Quality

1. Conduct your own research of the topic you want to write about.

Here at MVXWEB, we believe that there’s no better substitute to conducting thorough research and data gathering as pre writing undertakings to help maximize E-A-T.  (Expertise-Authority-Trustworthiness).

By this time, E-A-T may have already been repeatedly emphasized as Google’s way of fighting misinformation. Authorship or information attribution may be made by providing author bios so that readers could easily gauge for themselves if the content came from a trustworthy source.

Expertise on the topic is clearly shown by a well presented and excellently written content, backed by data and fact-based observations.

As you may have already experienced in the course of your blog writing stint, after you have conducted pre-writing research and data gathering, your blog posts tend to be longer as you keep on writing based on accumulated information.  You just keep on typing as information naturally flows and comes out.

Contrast this when you just concentrate on writing for the purpose of keyword stuffing and using the same key phrases over and over.  You struggle to make your blog posts a little longer and you keep on encountering the writer’s block. 

Sure there are now GPT-3 AI tools that generate content to solve the writer’s block.  But later on you will realize that you would have to revise and edit the tool’s output to suit your preference and writing style.  Not to mention the fact that soon, Google may come up with another algorithm update that can detect if the content was merely generated by an AI writing tool or actually written by a human.

2. Save infographics, images, videos and links to the information about the topic.

What better way to understand written information than to look at graphical representations of what it intends to portray?

Including infographics, images and videos are some of the ways to increase reader engagement.  It interests them to continue reading as they find it easy to comprehend what you are trying to impart.

When you include infographics in your blog post, you get to explain them in detail and thus increase your article’s word count.  Hence, not only are you doing your readers a favor, you are able to add content for search engines to crawl.

3. Point out contradicting claims from your sources and try to express your own take thereon based on facts and holistic observation.

As a way of providing better value to the readers of your blog, you may quote contrasting claims from different authors or sources and point this out in your blog post.

You may provide the pros and cons of each school of thought and express your own take on the matter.  You can do this objectively as you can and based your observation on facts and natural human experience.  Unless you are an established expert on the topic or a licensed professional, there’s no harm in expressing your own objective opinion on the matter.

Likewise, you may choose to agree with one of the authors.  Either case, you get to increase your word count and even suggest to your readers that your content is based on established facts or peer reviewed claims.

4. Make a general outline first and expand each item as you write.

In almost every endeavor, it is better to start with a plan and then execute from there.

Same as in writing a lengthy blog post.  We at MVXWEB, after our content team has completed the actual research and data gathering phase, each member is required to submit a keywords-optimized outline.  Our content manager then sets up a meeting to discuss each outline and thereafter we vote to choose the best ones.  In one meeting, we are able to produce 30-50 outlines that will be used for the same number of blog posts in a week or two.

When you make an outline, you get the chance to expand each sub-topics and regulate the number of keywords appearing thereon.  Too much keyword stuffing can negatively impact SEO, hence, the need to plan for just the right amount of keywords to insert within sections.

5. Start writing with your readers in mind.

As previously mentioned, the target audience also determines the length of the blog post.

If the writer intends to cover 2-3 classifications of readers, then it would entail a considerable amount of content and hence increase word count.  The benefit of this is that you get to write a longer blog post for a single topic and then tailor-fit the content to suit the interests of several types of readers.  This can be done without making it appear that  you are just trying to stretch-out the content.

Also, readers tend to follow your articles when the contents are spot-on to their interest.  

6. Update your articles.

Not only does it make your blog posts increase their  word counts as you update them, they become relevant to search engines especially if they contain newer information based on current data.

If you survey search results from Google, most articles at the top of search page results came from the latest blog posts and those from previous ones that were just recently updated for new contents.

Nevertheless, historical data remains as important as current data.  Depending on the topic, there are some blog posts or articles that are better off in their original form.  These are meant to establish the state of things at that time or the chronology of certain events covering that period.

7. Writing style matters.

One’s writing style does matter in his/her ability to explain things and impart knowledge.

In writing content, one can expand topics by just spinning up phrases and paragraphs.  Yet, the readers are left in a state of confusion.  Or if not, they seem to react as if to ask: “So what’s the bottom line?”

This is not what we are supposed to strive for as professional writers.  We supplement our content with the objective of clearly conveying information to our readers and not just to increase word count and rank well for SEO.

To do so, a good writing style entails the use of prolific words that not only communicate our messages well, but rather make things easy for the reader to comprehend the topic.

8. Your typing tools matter.

Here at MVXWEB, we invest in the right tools to aid us in drafting our blog posts.

We usually don’t recommend tools, but there’s no harm in trying Google Docs, Grammarly and Copyscape.

To be able to come up with longer content, it is best to use the right tools with the right information.

We draft our blog posts using Google Docs which are then shared with our editors who make changes and revisions until the final phase.  The word count tool keeps us updated on the number of words a post has already reached.  Remember that we do not only write for higher word count.  We still try to keep some posts as short as possible depending on the topic.

Grammarly Premium allows us to update some phrases and paragraphs to improve clarity and check out spelling errors. 

Copyscape does our plagiarism checks to avoid intellectual property issues.

9. Consider the changing times. Future-proof your articles.

Another area of concern where content may be expanded is its adaptability to changing times.

In other words, the information provided by the blog posts may be augmented by well thought-out possible future implications brought about by a change in certain beliefs of generally accepted knowledge.

To future-proof your blog post is not to predict the outcome of the future but merely to emphasize that a certain state of things may or may not be the same and that certain improvements need to be undertaken which come in the form of recommendations.

This necessitates the need for additional content and elaborate on existing sub-topics.

10. Be on the lookout on the latest technology for SEO and copywriting tools.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is one of the aspects of Blog writing where most companies concentrate their digital marketing efforts. 

To rank well in search results means to drive additional organic traffic into your site. This means additional leads that can yield to conversions.

There are tools that provide keyword insights such as SEMRus, Serpstat, Mangools and BrandOverflow.  There are many of them but those are our favorites and suit our workflow well.

On the other hand, we have seen the proliferation of GPT-3 AI writing tools. While this blog post was written and has undergone several revisions from our content editor, it is nonetheless written 100% by a human author.

Just to name a few, we have tried Contentbot.ai, Nichesss, Conversion.ai and Rytr.

11. Invite people to proofread your post or fact-check its contents.

You may share your post to different social media platforms and invite people to comment on it.  In this way, you get to receive feedback and fact-check your content for some inaccuracies in the form of objective criticisms.

You may have already seen a lot of blog posts which have undergone several updates like: UPDATE 3/10/2021 at the beginning of the post.  This means that the author has modified or revised some of its content based on some comments from the readers.

12. Optimize your content for load speed. 

Lastly, we don’t want to be too selfish not share one of our battle-tested strategies to maintain a higher rank in the search results.  In the final section of this post, we’re sharing the result of our own study involving the top 10 SERPs for the long form keyword: IS THERE AN IDEAL LENGTH FOR A BLOG POST?

Since we are aiming for a longer blog post, there is a need to ensure that the post page load speed does not suffer.  This is a matter that cannot just be ignored since Google has emphasized its implementation of Core Web Vitals in one of its posts for developers.

The said Google update means that we do not only concern ourselves with the quality of our content (E-A-T), but likewise there’s a need to give attention to factors that affect page load times such as the hosting provider, CDN, and content resources such as unoptimized images, infographics and videos.

Optimizing the Content of a Blog Post For Page Load Speed

Search ranking in Google can be affected by a lot of factors. One update in Google’s search algorithms and the top-ranking result page could end up on the 20th spot.

In an April 2021 article posted at Google Search Central Blog, it was stated that Google is rolling out a major update to its search engine by including page experience as a ranking factor.

Accordingly, notable page experience signals including Core Web Vitals: LCP, FID and CLS shall be incorporated in its search algorithms onwards.

The three Core Web Vitals stand for: LCP – Largest Contentful Paint, FID – First Input Display and CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift.

As a blog writer, you may think that those are developer stuff.  But it generally tells us that Google is measuring the page load speed. Largest Contentful Paint involves the loading speed of items like hero or feature images in a blog post. First Input Display deals with the time when the first input element such as links or buttons first appear on the page. The Cumulative Layout Shift as its name suggests, concerns the layout of the blog post.

The lower the time spent to load these core web vitals, the higher the chances of landing in the top spots of the search results.

Hence, it makes sense to optimize certain aspects of your blog posts that you have control of.

Generally the hosting provider is the one that first comes into play.  A good hosting provider is one that provides top-notch server performance and 99.9% uptime.

It also makes sense to optimize the image, infographic and video contents before the blog post is published.

A CDN is a good option considering that a blog post is mostly composed of static contents hence, may be cached.

Page Performance of Google’s Top 5 Search Engine Results Pages

You may ask if we have numbers to back our claims regarding page speed optimization of blog posts.  The answer is: YES WE DO.

We have surveyed the top 30 to 50 SERP from Google and tested the first 10, the 20th, 30th and 50th pages through GTMetrix and PageSpeed Insights.  And we can confirm that these pages are in the “A” grade or have a 90-100 overall score.

We only share the results of the top 5 pages because there are some prominent blog sites at the lower end of the results that scored poorly and thus, we do not want to damage their reputation.  

So here it is:

https://databox.com/blog-post-lengthGRADE A – Performance: 97%
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-long-should-your-blog-posts-be-faqGRADE A – Performance: 90%
https://www.bramework.com/ideal-blog-post-length/GRADE B – Performance: 81% *
https://www.blogtyrant.com/long-vs-short-blog-posts/GRADE A – Performance – 99%
https://thewritepractice.com/blog-post-length/GRADE A – Performance – 93%
* possible issue with render blocking JS scripts per GTMetrix report but doesn’t affect content quality, hence, on the top 3 results.

As we can see, 4 out of 5 of them have a GRADE A performance score of 90% and above.  In the full report, the top 6-10 have the same page performance.

ideal blog post length optimized

Contrast this with some of the pages at the far end of the spectrum, the 60th to 100th results pages which have a rating of GRADE C to D.

If you want the full report in PDF form, you may opt-in to our monthly newsletter and we’ll send you the detailed report together with the raw data right in your email address.

Summary

As a recap, the ideal blog post length is between 1,500 to 2,500 words.  The longer, the better.  However, the quality of the content should not suffer at the expense of longer content.

Keyword research plays an important role in SEO but keyword stuffing must be maintained at the bare minimum.

Optimizing blog page load speed should also be considered in the light of Google’s page experience update which deals with Core Web Vitals such as LCP, FID and CLS.

A good content is one that is comprehensive enough but without sacrificing page performance.

MVXWEB.COM

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