Every content marketer (especially our friend in the picture above) has come across this question at least once in their career: “how long should my blog post be for the best SEO results?” As much as we’d love to send you on your way with a magic number in hand — the real answer is a little more complicated.
Google’s algorithm is in a constant state of increased sophistication and blog posts need to reflect that. You might have been able to get away with writing a 500-word post to get a good ranking a few years back when Google was still in the “figuring it out” stage of its SEO knowledge, but those days are long gone.
Content marketers are playing in a different league in 2018. Google has become far more reliant on detailed content that answers specific questions for users with legitimate information backing up blog posts. It’s also about offering those same users better content than the competition because Google needs a reason to highlight your post versus another post on the same topic.
In order to truly determine how long your blog post should be for the best SEO results, you need to keep a few key factors in mind.
Does an Optimal Blog Post Length for SEO Even Exist?
Don’t worry, we’re not trying to confuse you with a philosophical question about the nature of SEO perfection here — it’s just some food for thought.
A good chunk of content marketers out there will tell you longer is better. Many of those people subscribe to the idea that blog posts should be around 2,000 words in order to really grab Google’s attention for SEO purposes.
There’s even a good chance you’ll find that kind of answer when you type in “ideal blog post length” on Google because that data is generally conceived from two isolated studies from two different sources. That’s not to say the information depicted in these studies is inaccurate by any means, but it is important to note that it is specific to those studies.
So does that make this 2,000-word marker completely arbitrary? Well yes and no. Since those studies used specific keywords, it wouldn’t make sense for you to follow the exact same formula solely based on a number of words. That being said, a 2,000-word blog post can certainly be an answer if that is what the average post length for your keyword calls for.
Know Your SEO Keyword Competition
Nobody wants to waste time and money creating blog posts that are longer than they need to be. This is why competitive keyword analysis is absolutely crucial in determining the best blog post length for SEO.
It’s all about understanding the average blog post length for particular keywords you’re using. For example, if you’re writing a post with the keyword “what colour is Justin Bieber’s hair?” then why in the world would you write 2,000 words explaining that it was brown before he dyed it blonde? You wouldn’t.
Since it’s a pretty straightforward answer, you would only go into enough detail to answer that particular question for a user. If most of the answers for that keyword are about 100-200 words, all you need to do is ensure that the question is answered accurately and with trusted sources. Once you do that, putting together a post around 1,000 words could, in theory, give you a better ranking.
In that sense, finding an optimal blog post length for SEO goes from macro to micro. The keyword itself really dictates how long you should be making your posts. It’s also about understanding who that post is catering to and what kind of information those users are looking to extract from their Google search.
Study Your Target Audience for SEO
Whatever kind of blog post you’re creating, you need to know who is reading it and, more importantly, what they’re looking for. The content should be centred on satisfying the user who is consuming it.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, you also need to know their level of intent. Are they ready to purchase a product or service you provide right now? Maybe they’re in the beginning stages of their search and need more information? Knowing your target audience’s level of intent can help determine how long you need to make your blog post.
Equipped with this information, you might even find that you’re creating blogs posts with different word counts on the same topic. That comes from understanding where certain people are on your user intent scale.
If someone is already highly motivated to purchase your service or product, they might not need a lot of general information. Alternatively, if they know next to nothing about your product or service, you may need to spend more time breaking it down. Having this information simplifies the writing process and allows you to focus on the mission itself and not the size of the vessel.
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