How many words should a blog post contain for the best SEO? This is a common question. And an important one with the recent changes to Google’s search algorithms. Search engines are now placing websites with high quality content higher up on their result pages, making it necessary to know just how long your website content has to be to be considered more likely to be ranked higher. Along with a number of other contributing and influencing factors.
Unfortunately, this question does have not a quantifiable straight forward answer. Especially, when all websites are different in some way in look, function, target demographic and pull factor. And a lot of websites are ranking really well, despite the length of their content. So, what works for some may not work for others.
However, there are some good ways to find out what works for YOUR website and SEO writing.
Several studies have shown that long form content (1000 to 2500 words) tend to rank higher than shorter form content (300 to 1000 words). These figures vary depending on the niche and type of blog post. For example, a tutorial website will do better with long form content than an ecommerce store or a portfolio website. Above and beyond word count, the two most important things to consider are:
Your target audience
Will they have the time or patience to read through a lengthy post? Or are they the kind of people who need quick, bite sized information. Remember, the goal is to gain organic traffic so you should provide content your readers will enjoy.
The nature of the topic.
It is important to tailor your content to the information you want to pass across. Don’t write a long form article with limited information as this will result in low quality content. Especially if you are repeating the same thing over and over or keyword stuffing. Which we’ve already identified as bad SEO practice and displeases Google. Similarly, summarising a lot of information into a short form article will leave out some important details and leave your audience wanting more or seeking other sources (often your competitors) to provide that top level of info that they are after.
Longer than 1000 words
Some statistics show that anything over 1200 words per content article is best.
‘According to some incredibly detailed research from serpIQ, the top 10 results from Google all have a minimum of at least 2,000.’
I often purport that 500 to 800 words is ideal. The reason I do this (despite the consistent message that longer is better for ranking higher) is because a lot of people will forego excellent content when trying to reach that higher word limit. And will post less frequently, if at all. It can be too intimidating to start. With my own website and client SEO writing work, 500 to 800 words has still seen exceptional results.
Advantages of longer blog posts
With more lengthy blog posts you have a better chance of keeping your audience reading your page longer, which leads to better SEO. Although never confirmed by Google, it’s suggested that an average time on page is at least two to three minutes. Once again, however, it’s more about user intent and how people read and use your website but this is a good metric to start with and aim for.
With longer blog posts you also get the opportunity to write about your SEO keywords and semantic keywords more.
What’s more is that ‘…posts which contain more than 1,500 words gained 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes.’ And that’s worth experimenting with for those odds.
The most important thing
Overall, how long a blog post should be and its performance still depends on the quality of the content. In most cases, it may even be more beneficial to have a series of articles, each feeding into the next or two articles that talk to each other than a longer one. As your visitors move to the next page, they go deeper into your website which is great for your ranking.
The top 10 average method
This is a simple method. However, it does require accurate website analytics and tracking. Simply take the top ten posts that pull in the most traffic on your website and add up their lengths. You can find your top performing blog posts by filtering by organic search on your Google Analytics dashboard. Easily find out their lengths using a bulk web page word count checker and add them up. Divide the total number by 10 and you have your average post length. You can also do this for your main competitors or others in your industry ranking for your keywords.
Aim to stick this average word count for your next ten SEO articles and monitor their effectiveness over time. As long as you are maintaining the highest standard of SEO writing and using SEO best practices, this experiment cannot hurt.