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How Long Should a Blog Post Be In 2022?

13 January 2022
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How Long Should a Blog Post Be In 2022?

Writing and publishing blog posts regularly will boost your visibility and rankings in search engines, get more people sharing and linking to your content, and drive crucial metrics like traffic and engagement. That’s why they continue to be a primary format for both content marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO).

But there is always one variable that marketing managers have to decide on when they green light a new piece of content: How long should it be? Google’s vague but accurate answer to that is “it depends”. There is never a one-size-fits-all approach to blog management. You will need to tailor your word count based on the task at hand.

What should I consider when deciding?

The task can be categorised based on two factors to begin with: search intent and subject matter. It’s easy to lose sight of search intent when you are focused purely on metrics. Obviously, you want your blogs to generate clicks and meaningful actions that benefit your business, but they first need to cater to the needs of a target audience. Would they prefer a shorter or longer piece? Do they want to make a purchase or learn something?

The subject matter also dictates its length. Blogs that act as “pillar” pages, exploring a topic comprehensively and aiming to answer a range of questions, tend to be longer. Google likes posts with 1,000+ words as they are more likely to satisfy search intent. But that might not always make sense for a targeted review, tutorial or listicle.

Google’s John Mueller also notes: “Word count is not indicative of quality. Some pages have a lot of words that say nothing. Some pages have very few words that are very important & relevant to queries. You know your content best (hopefully) and can decide whether it needs the details.”

Why does word count matter?

If higher word counts don’t always translate to quality, why does it matter how long a blog is at all? Research shows that more in-depth blogs have a better chance of achieving higher rankings. While it’s not always the case, longer content tends to perform better. HubSpot’s head of content, Aja Frost agrees, adding that it’s just “easier” to rank when a piece goes beyond a certain threshold.

This is due to the complexities of SEO and the signals that Google’s algorithm can get its hooks into to better understand what your content is about. Optimising long-form blogs with the right mix of keywords, links, headings and images creates a greater whole with a mass of high-quality, relevant information. You are hitting all the right notes for SEO and delivering content that offers value. Google always wants to serve blogs that searchers will find useful.

And after someone has clicked through to your page, they are more likely to stick around and read a piece until the end and then take action to continue to the next stage of their journey, which could involve creating an account, contacting you directly or making a purchase. Longer content can reduce bounce rates and increase engagement. Google will recognise this and a blog can then get another boost in visibility.

The opposite is also true. It is generally agreed that blogs with less than 300 words won’t be as effective. Google is more likely to view your content as “thin” when there are very few words on a page, and readers are less likely to share it. Though again, it’s all about deciding whether you have covered a topic in the right way, rather than targeting a word count just for the sake of it.

Is there a magic number for blog posts?

HubSpot claims to have found the “ideal” length for a blog post for SEO, based on its own research, but this should be used as a guide rather than a strict target. For its 50 most-read blogs, the average word count came in at just over 2,330 words, though 16 of those blogs were actually less than 1,500 words. Other ideal lengths for different blog types include:

  • 2,500 words for blogs that aim to generate new leads
  • 4,000 words for pillar pages
  • 2,300-2,600 words for listicles
  • 1,700-2,100 words for “how-tos”
  • 1,300-1,700 words for “what is” blogs
  • 2,100-2,400 words for blogs that aim to drive traffic

Semrush’s research on the “anatomy of an article” found long reads with upwards of 7,000 words resulted in the most unique page views. But interestingly, blogs between 1,200 and 1,500 words generated the most backlinks and were very competitive in terms of shares. Commenting on page length, Semrush said the most important thing is to focus on “core elements” such as whether it is unique and engaging, has relevant information, and strong research, before deciding whether it is long enough.

Are SEO best practises important?

Optimising content for SEO is an excellent indicator for hitting the right word length for your blog post. Yoast SEO is one tool that analyses your text and rates it accordingly, based on the number of internal and outbound links you have included and its keyword density and distribution. A blog has a better chance of ranking on the first page of Google when you have optimised it for search. It’s generally better to have shorter content that is tailored for different aspects of SEO than longer content which has text length as its only attribute.

To conclude, long-form blogs are the way to go for most content briefs, with word counts between 1,000 and 2,500 words the “ideal”, depending on your objectives and what the reader needs. You don’t always have to be exhaustive, though. If you want to invest in a series of shorter blogs, you can still make an impact if you showcase your expertise. Optimising for SEO should be a constant across all blog lengths.

If you want to start writing in-depth blogs but don’t have access to an in-house team, Atlas SEO can help. Our blog management service will enable you to create content that ranks and gets your business noticed online. Contact us today to find out more.

Content marketing

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