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Discover the Best Blog Length for Google Rankings & SEO

Posted by Kevin Fouche on Feb 27, 2019
Kevin Fouche
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Your target audience will probably be quite different from the audience the next person who reads this blog will be trying to target. Just as target audiences differ, the ideal blog length for higher Google rankings and optimum SEO will differ depending on the blog’s topic and content.

While there is no exact ‘ideal blog length’ that will work across all content, we can offer you a guide to discovering the blog length that will work best for you, your content and your business’ goals.Discover the Best Blog Length for Google Rankings & SEO

Discover the Best Blog Length for Google Rankings & SEO

Content is king 

When it comes to determining how many words make up an ideal blog post’s length, we have to begin with two very important ones: quality content. 

It should go without saying, however when we talk about the number of words in a blog to describe its length, it should be clarified that those words need to be made up of quality content. Quality content is content that is useful, informative, optimised to meet your target audience’s needs and ultimately delivers the information - or answers - your reader was initially searching for. 

The importance people place of word-length when it comes to blogging is often a misplaced focus. Aside from ensuring your blogs aren’t considered ‘thin content’ by Google for sitting at 300 words or less, your blog posts also need to have substance to satisfy your audience - and secure your sought-after rankings.  

Provide value 

You may have been told that brief sections of information that can be quickly scanned over is best when blogging because shorter content is easier to dissect. A shorter blog packed with useful information is going to provide a better user experience than a longer blog full of blather. However a short blog that is devoid of the information a user is seeking will provide a poor user experience.  User experience does influence Google search results, although it is only one of the factors that work towards your ranking, it is well worth keeping in mind as you create your blogs. 

Consider this… 

Your blog’s performance and ranking is important, however your aim should be to answer your readers’ questions. Importantly, you will need to consider:

  • who your target audience is,
  • what they are looking for, and
  • how long your post needs to be to successfully explain the information thoroughly so as to meet your target audience’s needs. 

Will your target audience be after basic information to answer a quick query, or will more detailed explanations be required? Your content should reflect your user’s intent and satisfy your users’ common search queries. 

Short and sharp vs. longer form content 

Google’s algorithm prefers longer-form content, with blogs of 1,000 words and over often performing better in search results. Google can usually tell which content is high quality, informative, educational and useful, with longer content allowing for more naturally included backlinks. Good content will offer sourcing, be well structured and provide evidence. The additional use of rich media makes this content easier to digest, and this is often why longer-form content will often rank higher in organic searches than its shorter counterparts. 

What the statistics show 

While the average content length for a Google search Page 1 result is somewhere between 1,600-1,900 words, it is important to remember that Page 1 results may not always be made up of blog post results.

The best performing posts in organic search on Hubspot were between 2,250 and 2,500 words, Buffer recommends blog posts sit around the 1,600 word mark, while CoSchedule found posts around 2,500 ranked best. Moz recommend blog writers analyse their own data to determine what their audience prefers. 

Your tailored solution 

To best discover what sits best with your target audience you can analyse your own successes. Take the average of the length of the ten blogs on your website that got the most search engine derived traffic and you will have a guide to the ideal blog length that will work for you. You can now focus your energies into creating blog posts that resonate with your audience. 

That said, if the best way to satisfy your users needs is by creating an informative video which is then accompanied by a shorter, informative blog, then forget about word count. Your goal should be to satisfy your user’s requirements with the best, optimised and most informative content you can deliver. 

Google rewards higher dwell time sites 

Another factor to consider is ‘time on site’. Determining ‘time on site’ allows Google’s algorithm to determine whether your content is considered high quality - or not. 

If you write a blog that is useful from beginning to end, your audience may stay with you longer than they expected, and they may even stay after they have found the information they were initially searching for, but you won’t make them stay with 300 words of regurgitated and repetitive content (more on that here). Instead, they will jump back to their Google search results to find the information they are after.  

Extras to benefit user CX 

An interesting fact to note is that CoSchedule have determined that their top ranking posts were formatted to display an image every 200 words. Long posts that are well structured (think: formatting such as headings, sub-headings, images, graphs and other helpful items such as a clickable table of contents) all add value to a user’s experience. 

Nuts and bolts of it 

In short, long form content is your ticket to great Google rankings. While there is an avalanche of data available when it comes to the SEO benefits of long form content, blog length, performance and search engine rankings, as an average we have found that the following figures should give you a basic guide to word count when writing your blogs: 

Blog title tag: 70-80 characters 

Meta Description: 150-160 characters 

Blog content: 2,250-2,500 words 

Headings: 6-7 words 

Sub-headings: 8-10 words 

The pros and cons of embracing longer-form content 

Longer-form content scares people away because they often assume people won’t be bothered to read a large amount of information to discover the answer they need. In addition, longer-form content takes time and effort to deliver, and can mean you won’t be able to post with the same frequency with which you can post short form posts. 

However, longer-form content is consistently ranked higher in search results by Google, gets shared more, positions you as an authority on your topic, provides value and increases engagement, keeps your users on site for longer and increases your likelihood of quality backlinks and your ability to naturally use important keywords. 

While the above is a useful guide, the most important thing you can take away is that quality content should not be compromised to achieve any given word length. Whether that quality is compromised by cutting a blog down - or by adding unnecessary filler in order to bulk-up a word-count - either way, it will do more damage than good if you fail to deliver a useful blog to your audience.  

A useful blog will keep your audience on site longer, letting Google’s algorithms know your content is valuable. 

Looking for fresh and innovative ways to get your content in front of your target audience? We can help amplify your digital marketing to boost brand awareness, increase website traffic and lead generation. Reach out to us here and let’s chat!

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Topics: Search Engine Optimisation, Blogging, Content Creation