How Long Should a Blog Post Be for SEO in 2022
Content is king.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates would push this sentiment in 1996 with that very title.
We consume that content daily through text, images, video, and live streaming. A popular form of content among these channels is the blog post.
If you’ve ever interacted with digital marketing, you understand the power blog posts can have on SEO. But, what exactly is the ideal blog post length?
The answer isn’t objective. However, let’s explore the factors that dictate appropriate blog post length. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to supercharge your SEO in 2022.
Why Does Blog Post Length Matter for SEO?
When Google ranks a piece of content, it considers multiple factors. Among these are:
- Backlinks from external sources
- Page clicks
- Bounce rate
- Time spent on page
When we refer to length, we are referring to how well the content serves the needs of the reader. With that in mind, appropriate content length can vary greatly depending on what the blog is attempting to discuss.
As a general rule, longer articles tend to be more valuable for SEO.
Let’s say that two websites are writing about how to develop a technical SEO strategy. One blog post is 500 words in length. The competitor’s article is 2,000 words in length. In all likelihood, the longer article provides more valuable information as the increased length allows for greater coverage.
A longer blog post also allows for more keyword opportunities. Writers can not only highlight primary keywords but create additional headlines and paragraphs that delve into secondary or tertiary keywords related to the topic.
With greater information available, Google is better able to understand what purpose the blog post serves so that it can serve it to the ideal audience.
Blog Post Quality vs Blog Post Length
Blog post length becomes more variable regarding the user experience.
When someone searches for a topic or question on Google, they expect to get a thorough answer. If the subject allows for a deep dive with supporting information, it should be included to make a longer, better-quality blog post.
On the other hand, you might fall into the trap of padding a blog post purely for length. While it might provide more opportunities for “keyword stuffing,” it makes for a poor user experience.
Google has also improved its understanding of content padding. If your blog post contains unrelated fluff, duplicate content, or too many instances of a keyword, it can harm SEO.
All of this serves to illustrate the point that content quality matters more than raw blog post length. If you can expound more on the topic to better serve the reader, you can and should provide a better user experience. With an improved UX, you’ll see increased benefits to your SEO.
Likewise, if their topic does not warrant 3,000 words, do not stretch the material to help SEO.
Be aware that the more succinct and effective your answer, the more likely your blog post is to achieve the coveted “position zero” at the very top of SERPs.
How Long Should a Blog Post Be?
You now understand the critical factors that go into determining a blog post’s SEO value.
However, is there an educated estimate of the ideal blog post length?
In prior years, the often-quoted word count minimum was 500. This length allows you to provide bite-sized educational value to an audience without running into thin content warnings from Google. Anything less than is unlikely to positively impact SEO.
In 2021, HubSpot ran a study on its most-read blog posts and found 2,100 – 2,400 words to be the sweet spot.
Meanwhile, SEO company Yoast explains that articles should exceed 1,000 words for better results.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, marketing veteran Neil Patel and his team warn to avoid exceeding Google’s cap of 10,000 words. Even 5,000 words or more may offer diminishing returns.
These different findings seem to corroborate what we shared above regarding how audiences receive different types of content. Some companies find more success with quick, lean content on social media, while others fare better with well-researched, academic blog posts.
Determining the Right Blog Post Length for Your Site
The most effective way to determine how long your blog posts should be is to experiment and measure. This is a golden rule you should practice for all digital marketing channels.
It’s best practice to create a content calendar and plan out all of your blog posts in advance. This allows your SEO team to research ideal topics based on your keywords. The research will also allow them to look at similar, competing articles and their respective lengths.
Several metrics will indicate whether your blog posts are performing well. Keep an eye on:
- Page clicks
- Average time spent on page
- Clicks to other pages/blog posts
- Bounce rate
If short-form posts are not gaining the desired results, try to select topics that allow for greater blog post length. Your readers may be looking for more detailed articles that offer additional knowledge and insights.
At the end of the year, examine your top-performing blog posts. If they have a similar length in common, this may be the sweet spot you want to aim for regarding word count.
Finally, you can always ask your core audience what type of content they want to see. So long as you are striving to provide the best user experience, the issue of content length will typically resolve itself.
Conclusion – Focus on Blog Quality Over Blog Post Length
If you’re looking for an actual number, 1,500-2,000 words will likely get the most traction with Google SERPs.
However, the length of your articles will not positively impact your SEO if they do not serve the reader. You should not attempt to pad your blog with fluff simply to meet an imagined quota.
Brands have found success in digital marketing when writing short, 300-word articles. Likewise, many brands dominate the top rankings with regular 2,500-word posts. What matters is how loyal your audience is and how well your content serves their needs.
Finally, you should seek out your own ideal blog post length by experimenting with different types of blogs. Utilize free tools like Google Analytics to track key metrics that are direct indicators of user engagement. The more your audience interacts with and shares your blogs, the more likely they are to improve your website rankings.