How Long Should A Blog Post Be?
What is the magic number for blog posts length? How long should a blog post be to rank on page one? Yoast, for example, says articles need to be at least 300 words. But what is the right answer, and furthermore, what is the best length for SEO? We all want our blog posts to rank high in search results, so understanding this relationship seems like good knowledge to have. We have a process we will show you later on in this post that works for us as we evaluate what topics we want to write about, not only because they interest us, but because we can add value to the community, which is Google’s stated goal, even they give search traffic to big sites just because they are big, even with super-thin content that helps no one. Sorry Google, we hope you will still rank this page!
By simply implying that page length is significant draws a presumption that Google sets minimum word count requirements for blogs. We want to make it clear that this is not true at all, as there is no benchmark for length.
Why Do We Care How Long Should A Blog Post Be?
Having a preset number is in our DNA and within our processes. As humans, we want to check things off the list. Therefore, having a content length goal is almost addictive. We have arguments for both longer and shorter content articles. Our process is rooted in our observations and experiments for longer and shorter pieces.
It is not illogical to think you have more opportunities to rank for keywords by creating longer content. However, there is also no benefit in making a page full of keywords that are just there to appease the mighty Google search gods. Satisfying Google seems like the goal, but it is not our actual focus.
How Did We Use This Knowledge to Improve Our Own SEO?
By looking on the internet for nearly any search term, you can see that many companies have a preset content length requirement for their writers. Think about it this way. We have our staff and contract writers that create hundreds of articles every year for our clients. We initially found ourselves setting benchmark content length for client content creation. After all, how do we gauge that our writers are doing their jobs?
What we found was, we had thin articles that were keyword-stuffed, and they were not that useful. How we countered this process failure was with a comprehensive SEO process review. Our process now requires our SEO experts to review existing SERP results for the target keyword or phrase and gauging the intent, relevance, and amount of effort other people have put into their articles. Based on this review, we either move forward, or we may change our plans. Instead of trying to rank for a keyword or phrase where all of the articles found on the first-page SERP result articles nail search intent, are researched and on-point.
How Much Were We Able To Improve Our Content Marketing Results?
We saw massive gains when we managed our content creation by setting expectations before the writing process began. By doing this, we avoided misguided articles. We immediately had a better understanding of intent, the competition’s ability to create authoritative content, and the overall potential for the material to rank.
We may still specify 1500 words if we are up against a few elaborately researched articles. However, we always tell our writers that if they can compete with existing pieces and provide compelling information in 800 words, we will listen to their approach. We also pay our writers bonuses based on the results of their work. If a writer consistently creates great content that ranks in the top 10, we ensure they get rewarded accordingly.
There you go. That is the level of thought we take in our process of content creation, all the way down to budgeting. Not all marketing and SEO agencies are putting that level of thought into their content creation. If you want to consistently rank, you need to understand that the core is not length based, it is about becoming the authority. If that requires a lengthy article, then, by all means, ensure you have all relevant topics covered. But, to be clear, not all post articles need to be extensive and lengthy to win a first-page result.
Search Intent Should be Your Goal
To help you understand what is meant by intent, let’s look at the most basic of search forms. When a searcher wants to know how to spell a word or proper use of punctuation, they will want a concise answer. It’s easy to look up how to spell a word, and the search intent does not require a tremendous amount of research or content.
Ask yourself this question. What will fulfill the intent of the search query? Do you feel the intention of a searcher that typed in a keyword requires longer content to provide them with the answers they seek? If the answer is yes, then you should have longer, more extensive content created. What happens when the intent would require less content or text to answer. Maybe it would be better with more images and less text? In this scenario, optimizing images for SEO and reducing text may be the better tact.
Does Google See The Current Search Results As Valuable
As mentioned earlier, we have employed an SEO review process to help determine search intent. By simply googling the keyword or phrase we are focusing on, we can easily find out whether Google finds existing blog content valuable. If Google values the current blog content, is there information that is missing or confusing? How does the existing content look and feel? Can you do better? If you cannot do better, maybe it is time to reconsider going after this keyword or phrase.
Regardless of how you end up looking at it, a SERP analysis can help you understand a lot about the kind of content that succeeds in getting to the top of the search results for a given keyword. Search and learn, or as we call it, seek and destroy because we are Metallica fans. Regardless of what you call it, our keyword goals are usually to find keywords and phrases that have traffic, but the articles that Google is serving has thin or not very thorough content.
Again, you cannot win them all. High authority websites with credibility are going to be hard to unseat. As an example, if you are trying to rank for the word football, well, good luck with that. As we said earlier, this would guide us to target a different keyword or phrase. Don’t waster your efforts, money, and time going after already profoundly ranked targeting.
If, for some reason, you decide that you are going to target a heavily covered keyword. You better be willing to make your article the most authoritative on the web by performing substantial research. You will likely need examples, charts, and informative video content to prepare for a piece that is not only long but is also complete with valuable content.
Create Content With Substance versus Worrying How Long Should a Blog Post Be
For high volume keywords or phrases, the posts that you find on the first page usually have excellent content. They may be long or short, but whatever length they are, they answer a specific question and provoke thought. Answering how long should a blog post be is much less important than your content quality.
Longer articles will not necessarily motivate people to take action, such as to sign up for a website or to buy a product.
Guessing or hoping cannot replace actual research, understanding, innovation, and consistency when targeting and creating quality content. By creating compelling content, you can build trust, foster a rapport, build on your authority, and enhance your brand awareness.
Our Process for Determining How Long A Blog Post Should Be
Our Process for Determining How Long A Blog Post Should Be
Ok, here is our formula for analyzing how long we think a post should be to have a possibility to be found. It is also our process to determine if the keyword or phrase is even worth trying to target. Please do not confuse this with keyword research. This process will not determine that a keyword has traffic. You should have already established the keyword or phrase has traffic before you even think about targeting it. This process is purely intended to determine if you should target a keyword.
First, as we said earlier in this article, our research always starts with a search of the keyword or phrase we are wanting to target. For example, with this article, we used the longtail keyword phrase, “How Long Should A Blog Post Be.” Pretty funny, huh! This bad boy has some enormous competition, as you will see, so our odds of getting to page 1 are reasonably small. However, we are using this as an internal training piece as well, so we felt it was worth pursuing anyhow. Sometimes, you need a reason to write!
Step 1 – Open Google Search – You need to be logged out of Google or use a browser that you do not log into Google. If you are logged in, it can affect the results because Google feeds customizes searches to you based on your own interests. So to avoid any skewed information, make sure you are logged out.
Step 2 – Paste or type in your keyword or phrase and search it.
Step 3 – Evaluate the results for competitor blog posts. You need to disregard large websites like significant news outlets, Forbes, Amazon, established magazines, forums. You know who they are, the big-boys you cannot possibly compete with, so don’t try.
Step 4 – As you are evaluating all of the results, open all of the regular posts that show up on the first-page search results in a new tab. That is right; open them all up. If there are no usual blog posts on the first page, that is a good indicator you are targeting a keyword or phrase you are going to have difficulty ranking. You can check out page 2, but it may be best to move on to another target.
Step 5 – Open the first tab for the first website you opened and copy all of the text on the site starting at the top and go all the way to the bottom, not including any comment sections or information about the author at the bottom, leave that out. Note: You can copy over the images and capture all the text in one capture by starting at the top and dragging down, again excluding comments and author information. When you paste it into a word counter, the images will not be there.
Step 6 – Once you have copied all of the text as described in step 5, paste it into a word count program or website. We use WordCounter.net, and it is free, fast, and straightforward. We open it in a new browser and paste it in, and within seconds we scroll down and get a count, very easy.
Step 7 – Next, we pull the Domain Authority of the website. Note: We use MOZ for our SEO analysis, and we use the MOZ bar extension in Google Chrome. There are others that out that that will give you a website’s domain authority, so use whatever service you choose if you plan to analyze DA in this process.
Step 8 – Open excel and record the first websites word count in column A and the website domain authority in Column B. You can add headers if you prefer, but it is not necessary.
Step 9 – Perform the same steps for each website you opened and record each website’s word count and domain authority in rows b, c, and so on until you have them all.
Step 10 – Average all of the word count results. The average of the word count column gives you some idea of the range of the posts that showed up on page 1. If the average is, in the case of this post, is around 2250 words, you should be shooting for about 2250 or more words.
Step 11 – Average all of the results in the Domain Authority column. If the domain authority average is significantly higher than your website, you are likely to struggle to get to page 1. You better be offering something that will knock people’s socks off or it’s going to be a long road. You could take this a little further and pull page 2 and then page 3 results if necessary (and so on) to get some idea of where you may end up in the search results if you were to pursue it anyway.
We are doing this, but it by no means is an absolute sure thing. This is just one major part of our own research that allows us to filter to where we have a better chance for ranking. You still need excellent content, or none of this matters at all.
Measuring the Performance of your Content Helps to Know How Long Should A Blog Post Be
It is essential always to monitor your blog content performance to answer how long should a blog post be. In some cases, you can measure keyword ranking and the traffic of the post. You can go a step further and leverage information to help you understand if your content is performing as expected. By knowing this, you can make adjustments and increase the value of the material to your users. By doing this, it will ultimately help you maintain rankings in the search results over the long haul.
When measuring our content marketing efforts, our goal is to ensure users are funneled in a way to create conversions, increase reputation, and engagement. Content marketing performance is vital when you discuss to discuss the value you are creating for them. You will also become more focused on user goals.
Lead Generation Success
Content that is intended to generate leads needs to be tracked, so you know the success of your lead generation efforts and spend. This effort will help you understand what your customers are looking for and if they are willing to give up their contact information, and the kind of content that is generating more qualified leads. (Focus there, duh)
Revenue or Transactions
When dealing with e-commerce businesses, tracking transactions, and revenue through Google Analytics is probably your best bet. You can then add the initial landing page to determine if a visitor purchases after a specific landing page relevant to your efforts. If you only care about how what content eventually converted versus what they spend, you can use transactions as your primary metric.
Completions of Specific Goals
If your site does not have enough transactional activity or revenue to track, there are other ways to see what content is working for you. You can set up goals within Google Analytics that will allow conversion tracking without tying the metric to a dollar value. By tracking performance in this manner, you can see what web pages accomplish goals you set up in Analytics. An example would be completing a form, initiating a phone call, or signing up for an email list.
When you create content around a specific keyword or phrase, you should always track that keyword’s success. There are tons of tools on the market, such as MOZ, Ahrefs, and SEMrush. Searchorb uses MOZ for SEO and content performance tracking. However, we do use Ahrefs and other services for specific applications.
Do You Get It Yet, or are You Still Asking How Long Should A Blog Post Be?
The bottom line is this. If a post fulfills intent in 200 words, then it should be 200 words long. If you need to create an article with 4,000 words because the content requires in-depth research and lengthy explanation, then you should write a 4000-word post. There is no answer. A perfect SEO blog post length does not exist. It is all in the search intent and how detailed the solution needs to be.
For many keywords or phrases, longer posts tend to answer a searcher’s question more thoroughly. However, length does not lead to higher ranking, as can be seen in the search results because many top rank pages are 800 words or less. You should always do what you have to do to make your content more relevant than their content, regardless of text length, and you will be a winner.
So stop obsessing on article length, do proper research, and you have an excellent chance of ranking your content.