How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

If you’re a blogger, you’ve probably asked your editor how long your post should be. And most of the time, there’s never a direct answer. 

Crafting a compelling blog post takes a lot of time, and in the past, an article’s word count may have had an impact on its search engine ranking. 

But, in the age of AI, it’s important to note that it is becoming increasingly harder to create content that is unique and differentiates you from the competition. Longer content doesn’t mean it’s of good quality. 

Gone are the days you need to care about how long your content should be. You now need to focus on: 

  • Your page’s purpose 
  • Audience’s interest 
  • Information accuracy
  • Breadth of coverage 
  • SEO potential 
  • Visual elements 

…the list goes on

So, to cut to the chase, how long should a blog post be in 2024? 

Word Count and Search Rank Have No Direct Correlation

Google has stated time and time again that word count does not directly impact a page’s rank. 

John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google said it best in 2018: 

‘‘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 and relevant to queries. You know your content best (hopefully) and can decide whether it needs the details’. 

In a study conducted by Backlinko, 11.8 million Google search results were analyzed to answer the question on every bloggers mind: 

‘Which factors correlate with first-page search engine rankings?’ 

Here’s a summary of some of their key findings: 

Authoritative domains tend to rank higher in Google’s Search Results

Content from authoritative domains often reflect a high level of expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T). 

The relationship between domain rating and higher first page google rankings.

Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines emphasize the importance of E-A-T in assessing quality content, particularly for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) queries in domains such as medicine, finance, and science. 

This is integral to modern SEO strategies as it influences how Google’s algorithm evaluates and rank content. For YMYL content, the stakes are higher. 

By focusing on expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, a blog post is likely to perform better in search results by improving metrics such as bounce rate and session duration, which are important for SEO. 

Pages with more backlinks rank higher than pages with fewer or zero backlinks

Backlinks help Google discover your page. When Google bot crawls the web, it follows links from one page to another. 

Hence, pages with more backlinks are more likely to be found and indexed by Google, ensuring they appear in search results. Pages with little to no backlinks might remain undiscovered. 

Graph showcasing that pages with more backlinks rank higher than pages with fewer backlinks.

Backlinks can also drive traffic to your page. When users visit your site through these links and engage positively (e.g. spending time reading/scrolling the page, clicking through to other pages), it sends positive signals to Google about the user experience and value of your content. 

This in turn contributes to higher rankings as increased traffic and user engagement indicates to Google that your content is relevant to those topics

Quality > Quantity. Comprehensive content facilitates higher rankings

The principle of ‘Quality over Quantity’ is fundamental in SEO and comprehensive content plays a crucial role in facilitating higher rankings. 

Backlinko ran a study on their entire URL dataset utilising the Clearscope content analysis tool.

The results showed a positive relationship between ‘Content Grade’ and Google rankings for both desktop and mobile results.

comprehensive content correlates to higher rankings

First, comprehensive content provides detailed and thorough coverage of a topic. 

This depth of information ensures that a user can find all the answers they need in one place, thus reducing the likelihood of users bouncing back to search results to source additional information. 

Second, comprehensive content incorporates a wide range of related keywords, synonyms, or phrases that users might search for. 

This directly improves the content’s relevance for various search queries as it caters to a wide range of user intents by including a variety of information such as FAQs, how-to-guides, and case studies among many others. 

Third, comprehensive content has a longer shelf life. 

Comprehensive, evergreen content remains relevant and valuable over a longer period compared to shorter, less detailed posts. The longer shelf life means that your content can continue to attract traffic, backlinks, and engagement long after its initial publication.

The mean word count of a Google first page result is 1447 words 

No, long-form does not outperform short, 300-word blog posts. 

Longer content does accumulate more backlinks compared to shorter blog posts but there is no direct relationship between word count and search rankings. 

Long-form content generates more backlinks than short blog posts

According to data collected, long-form content generates more social shares than short content but there’s diminishing returns the minute it hits the 2000-word mark. 

This means that content that is between 1000-2000 words appears to be the ideal length for maximizing shares on social networking platforms. 

However, according to HubSpot, the ideal blog post length for SEO should be anywhere from 2100 to 2400 words. 

But, that depends on the kind of content your blog post covers. 

Ideal Blog Post Lengths for Different Blog Post Types 

According to Yoast, 300-words should be the minimum for the average blog post. On the other hand, Reddit suggests that the minimum should be raised to at least 450 words. 

This is because pages with a low word count, 300 words or less, typically aren’t enough to answer a question sufficiently. You want to avoid having thin content. 

Thin content is problematic for several reasons: 

Poor user experience 

The low word count often lacks the required depth and detail necessary to be valuable.

While there is no strict word count that defines thin content, very short pages rarely rank well unless they precisely answer a specific query. 

A poor user experience will result in high bounce rates, low user interaction time with a page, and an overall decrease in user satisfaction. 

Negative SEO impact

Google’s search engine algorithms are designed to identify and demote thin content. 

Pages that offer little value will significantly lead to lower rankings. In the long run, this could lead to a drastic reduction in visibility in search results all together. 

For instance, Google’s Panda algorithm launched in 2011 was designed to lower the rank of ‘low-quality’ or ‘thin sites’. 

Sites with content that is considered thin, duplicated, has a higher ad-to-content ratio, and an overall poor user experience (difficult to navigate, intrusive ads and pop-ups) are demoted. 

Reduced Authority and Trust

Thin content can damage your site’s reputation

If the information on a blog post is superficial or inadequate, it can reduce repeat traffic to the site. This makes it harder to build a loyal audience. 

It’s not always possible to write an elaborate text for everything, so here’s a guideline on the ideal number of words for the type of content you’re publishing. 

According to WIX, here is a general correlation between the length of a blog post and the kind of content it’s commonly used for: 

  • Less than 300 words

Don’t do this. Unless your post is designed to generate a discussion with the aim of eliciting comments. 

  • 300 – 600 words 

This used to be the ‘standard’ but now it is too short to rank on search engines and doesn’t give you enough room to craft a comprehensive post. 

  • 600 – 800 words 

This is the most common word count for newspaper articles. Opinion pieces, product reviews, and listicles may fall within this category as well. 

  • 1300 – 1700 words 

This is well-suited for in-depth comprehensive content that covers a topic in detail. In-depth reviews, research-based articles, and educational content are some common examples. 

According to Medium, ‘the average total time spent across all visitors of a post plotted against post length: 7 minutes.’ That translates (based on average reading speed) to about 1600 words.

Ideal word count based on average reading time
  • 1700 – 2100 words 

This is an ideal blog post length for explainer articles. This is a good starting point for organic traffic generation from search engines as well. 

  • 2300 – 2500 words 

This type of blog post is usually referred to as a cornerstone article. It is a comprehensive, in-depth piece of content that serves as the foundation of a website or blog. 

Does blog word count matter? 

Well, the answer is, it depends. 

Simply put, it’s no longer about content quantity but quality. If you generate enough excellent content, it will rank on Google. 

Over time, SEO has gotten increasingly sophisticated. A well-thought out marketing strategy is crucial to achieve long-term success. 

Focus on the intent of your blog post, your targeted audience, and the originality of your writing. 

Offer as many insights as possible and whatever word count that comes with it will then be the perfect length of your blog post.