How Many Words Should a Blog Post Be?

how long blog posts
how long blog posts

The research is clear: In general, blogs post should be more than 1,000 words. And the longer your post, the more likely it is to rank higher in Google searches.

Of course, blog articles should only be as long as they need to be. Some posts can get their message across in 300 words. And many people argue that no one is reading anything online that takes more than a few minutes to read. But the fact is, when researching online, most readers want more information that a 300-word article can convey.

Most topics need extensive research to provide the kind of in-depth information that a variety of readers might need.

That’s why the most successful blog posts are 1,000 words or more, with an optimum length of 1,600 words per blog post. This length keeps reading time under six minutes on average. Your readers are 94% more likely to read your posts to the end when you keep it within that six-minute margin.

When you dig down into a topic, there are usually lots of angles to cover. For example, in this post, not only do we need to show you how many words your blog post should be, but we also need to cover other factors that go into making a post something readers will devour, such as these:

Quick Takeaways:

  • A blog post should be well over the minimum of 300 words to cover the topic adequately— at least 1,000 words.
  • Longer blog posts need to contain actionable information that will help their readers solve problems.
  • To retain readers’ attention, though, you need to split up the text in smaller, scannable chunks— with attention-grabbing subheadings, visuals and bullet points.
  • Blog post length, however, isn’t the only factor that helps your blog move up in the search engine ranks.
  • To rank well, you must publish posts often — at least two to four times a week.

Write 1,000-Plus Word Blog Posts as a Rule of Thumb

With Google’s search engine algorithms getting smarter by the day, they have come to see synonyms — words that mean the same thing — as keyword equivalents. Furthermore, they look at related words and phrases as complementary to that topic.

Naturally, the more in-depth your post, the more likely you will rank #1 for your main keywords in search engine queries. The same is true with synonyms and related terms.

For example, a longer blog post about “How to Care for Your Cherry Tree All Year Long” will usually involve care for the blossoms in the springtime, as well as specialized care for the different varieties.

Subheadings, therefore, could include:

  • Cherry Blossom Tips for a Successful Spring
  • Picking Cherries in the Summer
  • Fall Cherry Tree Care
  • Wintering Cherry Trees Successfully
  • Tips on Caring for Each Cherry Variety
  • Sour Cherry Care
  • Caring for Yellow Cherry Varieties
  • Black Cherry Care Pointers
  • Sweet Red Cherry Care

All of the parts in this hypothetical blog post deal in some way with the major topic. (This is how we research and write for our blog and our clients as well, btw).

Google’s algorithm will pick up on those related words, phrases and paragraphs to rank the post higher than shorter posts that tell you only a few basic facts that you probably know from common sense anyway.

Regardless of Word Count, Blog Posts Should Provide Useful Information

Google algorithms prefer informative posts plugged into their ranking criteria. Google didn’t rise to the top of the online search platforms by disappointing readers.

Early on, it took the lead in penalizing blog posts stuffed with keywords and little actionable information. As the algorithm underwent improvement down through the years, it “learned” to recognize an informative post through its logical structure and natural keyword usage.

Make Longer Blog Posts Easy to Read and Share

You’re not only writing for search engines. Many bloggers make that mistake, concentrating on the keywords more than on making their 1,000-plus-word posts easy for human readers to finish.

Not only do you want your readers to finish your posts, but you also want them to share those with their friends and colleagues. Believe it or not, backlinks from shares or mentions are often more valuable than getting the keywords right.

Here are some ways to make your readers want to read and share your blog posts:

  • Make sure you’re meeting your target customers’ needs. People aren’t reading your blog posts for fun. They’re looking for information, trying to solve problems. To find topics that will grab their attention, start with your customers’ needs, likes, pain points and goals. Then create blog posts that address those needs. Once you do that, your readers will want to share your posts with others who have similar needs.
  • Break up the text into smaller, scannable chunks. Readers today have a short attention span. Start with your subheadings. Title each section clearly. Keep each section relatively short — less than 350 words if possible. Use bullet points to draw your readers’ eyes to lists.
  • Vary sentence and paragraph length — but err on the side of brevity. If a shorter word, sentence or paragraph can do, don’t tack on extra words to meet your target word count. Instead, provide more in-depth information on the topic. The same goes for words. You’re not showcasing your command of the dictionary. If a simpler, shorter word will get your point across, use it.
  • Use active voice verbs and the power word “you” whenever possible. Active voice verbs —  like their name sounds — move the action along, keeping your readers on the edge of their seat. Wouldn’t you rather read “You need to use data to drive your revenue” rather than “Data should be used to drive a business’s revenue?” So do your readers. Talk directly to your reader and keep the action moving.
  • Use visual content to break up the monotony. Studies show that visuals entice people to read your content by a factor of 80 percent. The more images or videos you can intersperse with your written content, the greater likelihood there is for a reader to share your content — up to two times as often on average.

Other Factors Affect Your Blog Posts’ Search Performance

Simply writing blog posts of 1,000 words or more won’t cut it in today’s competitive digital environment. You need to publish relevant blog content regularly.

Consistent publishing builds trust in you, your brand and your products. But don’t take my word for it. The statistics tell the story. A content marketing strategy that emphasizes consistency yields 13 times the likelihood that you’ll see a positive ROI.

Frequent Blog Posts Drive Better Results

Finally, you need to publish blog posts often to get the traffic you need to rank high in searches for what you sell. Our studies concur with other industry results: Companies that publish two to four blog posts each week show the best results in both visits and conversions.

Size doesn’t matter. Your industry doesn’t matter. Whether you sell to other businesses or directly to consumers — it doesn’t matter. When you blog that many times per week, you’ll see a dramatic result.

“But,” you say, “I barely have enough time in my day to do what I started my business to do. How in the world can I write a lengthy blog post twice a week — let alone four times a week?”

Glad you asked. A blog writing service can help your business realize a higher return on your marketing investment than practically any other marketing campaigns.

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A blog writing service specializes in writing quality, keyword-optimized blog posts of the proper length to hit the SEO sweet spot. With an average yield of three times more leads than paid search ads, the ability to increase your website traffic by 2,000 percent, and six times more revenue than websites without a blog, it pays to outsource your blog writing to a proven professional. It’s an excellent investment in your business’s future.

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content that’s published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today–and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

14 thoughts on “How Many Words Should a Blog Post Be?

  1. “The research is clear: A blog post should be more than 1,000 words. And the longer your post, the more likely it is to rank higher in Google searches.”

    Just no. This is a huge over-simplification.

    Is this “research” (citation missing?) you reference Buffer’s? According to their own research: “We’ve found that 2,500-word posts tend to do best for us.” But that is only for social shares. It has nothing to do with Google ranking.

    Also that’s one company. Meaning that figure is basically meaningless. 1,600 is great for Buffer’s “time on page” (again, this has nothing to do with Google ranking).

    As a quick example, a search for the term “SEO”.

    #1 result: 989 words
    #2 result: 531 words
    #3 result: 2890 words
    #4 result: 9,679 words

    By your logic, the 9K word post should have a higher chance of ranking higher. So why isn’t it? The top result doesn’t even hit 1K words. #2 doesn’t even come close to 1K.

    There is much more going on than word count when it comes to Google rankings.

    Not everybody needs to create massive 1600-2500+ word posts.

    There is no “optimum” length. There is no minimum. These are all imaginary concepts.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I truly do appreciate it. It is a complicated concept that I am trying to simplify and you are 100% correct that there are many, many factors that go into search rankings. (You would know better than most for sure.)

      And while I do think the random search for “SEO” is not representative of most searches, I did state that some blog posts only need to be as long as they need to be to answer a reader’s question.

      Businesses and writers need to start with some idea of word count. What direction and guidance would you provide? 80% of the content on your own site (according to Buzzsumo) is over 1000-words and by far the highest percentage (37%) are 3,000 words or longer.

      I’m not sure what concepts you state are imaginary. Length is something that needs to be considered when handing an article project to a writer. Length (of time or words) is something that needs to be considered when a brand budgets for their content strategy over the course of the year.

      I spoke to an editor recently who told me they were restricting their articles to under 750 words because that’s what drove engagement for them, By that logic, why not publish articles with just a sentence or 2?

      Again, I understand and respect your feedback and hope you would provide some constructive guidance on how to answer the real question on the minds of a content marketer: how long should my blog posts be, in general?

    2. People will always ask this question.
      People will always try to give good answers.
      I commend the effort.

      My best answer is “As long as it necessary to make the best page on the internet for the topic.”

      Another response I sometimes give “I try hard to write short words, short sentences and short paragraphs, but I never try to write a short article.”

      The goal is quality. Detailed, thorough articles tend to be longer (just look at Wikipedia) but this isn’t always true. I once wrote an article explaining how to share access to Google Analytics. 800 words and it’s done! That’s all it took. There was nothing else to say.

      Ideally, the topic drives the length, just like in the book publishing world. Big topic? Big content.

      Having said that, there are credible correlation studies that show a relationship between length and rankings, but as with any study that tries to isolate a single ranking factor, they shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

      Weak content is bad for readers and rankings.
      Strong content is good for readers and rankings.
      Strong content is often longer than weak content.

      That makes sense, right?

      1. Thanks so much Andy. You always have the “best answers” to these tough questions. And yes it makes sense! Very helpful.

        I usually sit down and have 1,000 words or so in my head as a a general guide. Some of my articles end up at 750 so I go and find a video to support my points, or some data, or an example or 2. I think I average about 1,300 words on this site but it’s not because I start out to write 1,300 words. I just try to answer the question.

    3. This is a sticky issue, but I’m going to say what I’m going to say without any offense to Danny, Michael, or anyone who’s commented here. Bear with me please.

      “The research is clear: In general, blogs post should be more than 1,000 words. And the longer your post, the more likely it is to rank higher in Google searches.”

      Can’t say much about the research (or the people doing it), but I certainly know from experience (of writing about 500 posts and editing a lot more) that “in general” (the emphasis lies here) blog posts should be more than 1,000 words. The longer your post, it is certainly “more likely” (the emphasis lies here) to rank higher in Google searches.

      It is a simplification, Michael, but not such a huge one after all, Danny!

      For the term “SEO” here’s what I see – https://postimg.cc/LhrS0z81

      1 – Moz Beginner’s guide (Historically ranking giant piece of content. I’d assume Moz knows their SEO. My friend Britney Muller certainly does!)

      2 – Search Engine Land (Same strategy as Moz, with a list of “chapters” that link to other content, so I’ll take it Google counts it as one.)

      3 – Google Support (Giant piece again)

      4 – WordStream (A looong one)

      5 – Neil Patel (As wide as his smile. Michael, you need a special emoji in your comments to represent Neil Patel.)

      Okay, SEOs have this penchant for long content (heck, I write 1,000-word comments myself: https://twitter.com/searchrook/status/631152035673473024) so let’s take a look at another query “what is marketing” where a definition would suffice for the “reasonable surfer” as Google calls her. However, Google shows:

      1 – ama.org – While the title itself says “definition,” the post is much longer than a simple definition, including “green marketing” and “keyword marketing” which are *definitely* not needed.

      2 – HubSpot – Stretched copy of the AMA post

      3 – Michael himself! – Slightly shorter than a Peter Drucker book on marketing

      Yes, while I agree that long posts wouldn’t be a good strategy for every company, it definitely would be for *most* companies.
      Let me make myself clear: There is NO “optimum length” for blog posts. “Comprehensive content” is often misread as “word count.”

      Read that again.

      However, the most significant clue that Google has given as regards its notorious “core updates” lies in this post – https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2019/08/core-updates.html – under the very first section “content and quality questions.” It encourages you to ask yourself:

      – Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?

      – Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?

      – If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?

      So yes, there is much more going on other than word count when it comes to Google rankings, but everything else being equal and given a choice, I would make that word count longer (with quality to boot, needless to say).

      Not everybody needs to create massive posts… *IF they have site authority, brand loyalty, or a more profitable source of customers other than Google search. The rest of us need to keep wearing out our keyboards.

      1. Wow, thanks Rohan! I can’t disagree and appreciate your perspective on this. My “what is marketing” post was just me doing my best to answer the question. I told a story, used a few sections to differentiate between confusing topics and provided my perspective. I didn’t start out by writing a long post. Just one that answered the question as completely as I could.

        But still, I started out thinking 750 words would not be enough. Maybe length is a starting point guide post. But “completeness” is really the end goal.

        Again, just looking to provide some simple guidance to a complex but very real and often-asked question. And you did just that Rohan. So thank you!

  2. Rarely do I get excited to read comments in a post these days, but I appreciate the dialog. First off, Danny appreciate the spark here for conversation. Michael it’s a solid post and I value that you respond constructive and appreciative in the comments. Andy, in my writing my philosophy is similar to your own and posts need to be as long as it takes to be the best. In my experience, this ends up being over 1,000 words. Similar to Rohan, “The longer your post, it is certainly “more likely” (the emphasis lies here) to rank higher in Google searches.” I’d say is my take too, but I have had cases where something can be answered in a clear and concise way for less and it’s ranked well, but I’d say the chances are higher with longer posts. I think the focus of creating the best post compared to what’s out there is great and I do think that at least now many of those posts will be longer. Things could change overtime so just keep testing. Michael, good post to get the industry talking so keep them coming 🙂

  3. First of all, thank you everyone for such an insightful topic of discussion.

    This is a bit of a deja vu for me because, back in the days, people used to say 300 words was the sweet spot for blog posts.

    Is the total word count a Google ranking factor? Certainly not, but I can’t deny that there is a strong correlation, based on my own experiences and my colleagues in the SEO industry.

    Is a well-researched, in-depth content beneficial for the user experience? And can that lead to positive organic search performance? You betcha.

    As a refresher, or if you haven’t already, check out Google’s own Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/guidelines.raterhub.com/en//searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf), a good clue to Google’s guidelines on what constitutes as a good content.

    Here’s an interesting bit in it that signals Google ‘may’ value longer-form content over shorter-form.

    Section 6.3 (pg 34): Unsatisfying Amount of Main Content. Some Low quality pages are unsatisfying because they have a small amount of MC for the purpose of the page. For example, imagine an encyclopedia article on a very broad topic such as World War II that has just a few paragraphs.

    My personal philosophy on blog posts is, to perform well on Google, always put yourself in the minds of your users. Why did they type this query into Google? If you can answer that, and create content to fulfill it, you will do well on Google.

  4. +1 John Hall!
    Miss the old days were blog posts would get 100+ comments and great debates like this going.

    Feel Andy C. sums this up beautifully: “My best answer is: As long as it necessary to make the best page on the internet for the topic.”

    Also love Rohan’s point: “Let me make myself clear: There is NO “optimum length” for blog posts. “Comprehensive content” is often misread as “word count.””

    My ‘length debate’ hypothesis: With Google’s integration of BERT (continuously being fine-tuned), length will have less of an impact, the primary factor will be quality and fulfilling searcher intent.

    +Unpopular opinion: The best succinct, short summaries (these can be appended to longer content) will win out over time as Google continues to wage their war on Question & Answering within the SERP.

    A quote from Google’s Tensorflow team:
    “Existing natural language models have been focused on extracting answers from a short paragraph rather than reading an entire page of content for proper context. As a result, the responses can be complicated or lengthy. A good answer will be both succinct and relevant.” –https://www.kaggle.com/c/tensorflow2-question-answering/overview

    1. Britney, thanks so much for your reply and comment. I also agree with your “unpopular opinion.” I’ve been trying to include top takeaways, main points, conclusions, tweetable bytes into my content for years. I also LOVE list posts which are not necessarily long but convey valuable info quickly. I think they support your view as well!

  5. Props to all for sharing their insights here – comment threads in blog posts are a rarity these days. Well done on creating engagement here Michael.

    Despite the changing nature of search engines and consumer behavior, SEO continues to be a process driven practice creating enthusiasm for rules and specific questions like, how many words should a blog post be?

    The reality is that marketers who skim the surface of their craft solely with operational best practices are satisfied with a certain number answer to that question. And then there are those who consider specific insights about customer preferences, competition, current situation and goals that understand it’s not about word count, but about the content quality and effectiveness.

    500 words, 1500 words, whatever. Count them after you’ve made your content the best answer for the topic your customers care about.

    1. Great answer Lee! It is nice to see some hefty debate in comments these days!

      It is all about the quality and it’s easy to get caught up in boxing in on a specific number.

      I love the idea of using insights, customer preferences and goals to derive the answer to this very difficult question.

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