Not everyone agrees on the ideal number of words per blog post. You’ll find blogs that rarely feature pieces over 800 words and others that always publish posts surpassing 2000 words. Their page views might be similar despite the disparity in blog post length, so not everything is about those numbers.
To figure out the best word count for your blog posts, you’ll need to consider several factors unique to your blog niche, your audience, and your goals. Let’s break down how to be strategic about the length of your content.
The ideal blog post length for humans
How often do you click on a search engine result hoping to uncover answers, only to be thwarted by a dense wall of words? Most online sources won’t distill answers down to a sentence or two, but no one wants to wade through murky waters.
A search query represents a problem that needs to be solved, and sometimes it’s an emotional journey. We want solutions, and we want to know where to find them. Is your content doing this well?
It’s important to be selective about what’s included in your blog post. Every paragraph should carry weight. If deleting a few words or sentences doesn’t change the outcome, ditch the fluff.
“Writing is 1% inspiration, and 99% elimination.”Louise Brooks
But you absolutely should present a thorough examination of your topic. Include everything necessary to fully answer your audience’s questions so they don’t need to look elsewhere. Complex topics might require more words to dig into everything readers want to know, while a more straightforward subject can get to the point without as much detail.
If you’ve done due diligence and feel like your blog post length still isn’t robust enough, you can try increasing engagement by turning it into an open discussion through comments and social media.
For blog posts with significant scrolling, pay close attention to organization. Readers should be able to skim, scan, and skip to the sections they are most interested in exploring. Use clear subheadings and add these to a table of contents at the top of your post.
Takeaway:The ideal blog post length for humans is as long as it needs to be to provide whatever your readers are seeking in a relevant, concise manner that engages them throughout. I recommend aiming for at least 700 words whenever possible, but don’t discount short-form blog posts that deliver.
The ideal blog post length for robots
Yes, I’m afraid search engine robots must be appeased too if you aspire to reach more viewers. Your blog post might be absent from search engine results if you fail to consider the bots (or spiders) crawling your site to determine its ranking.
Writing for humans is still your priority because modern search engine algorithms don’t want anyone gaming the system with lackluster content that misses the mark. Search engines like Google prefer quality results that earn trust so users revisit their service.
However, in order for search engines to share your blog in their results, they need to locate all the juicy keywords that match user requests. If you scatter keywords throughout your article, it’s more likely a reader will find your website organically through a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Be aware that keyword stuffing can harm your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings. Instead of trying to cram in as many keywords as possible, be strategic about their placement so your writing reads naturally.
Longer blog posts have far more opportunities to incorporate a greater variety of keywords without forcing it. This gives search engines more reasons to present your website to their users. If you ignore SEO altogether, you’ll have a much harder time getting your blog posts in front of the audiences looking for that type of content.
Additionally, higher word count can lead to readers remaining on the page longer, which can also boost SEO scores. As mentioned above though, organization is key. If readers become overwhelmed and can’t find what they need with a simple scan of the page, they might leave unsatisfied. Don’t drown out your message with needless segues.
Takeaway:The ideal blog post length for robots is typically a higher volume of words, but only if it makes sense to do so. The lower end for long-form blog posts is 1200 words, with those reaching 2500 often earning the most search engine love.
The ideal blog post length for you
I haven’t forgotten about you. Successful blog posts do require planning for your audience and search engine visibility, but they also need an author who takes their own preferences into account when the project is a personal endeavor.
Sometimes you’ll need to compromise on your ideals because it’s the right thing for you and your website. Maybe there isn’t time to dive as deep as you’d like, so you need to pivot in a way that still produces a satisfying result. Or perhaps you sacrifice some SEO because it upsets the flow of your work.
You also don’t need to stick to only one target blog length every time. Mix up your posts with compact short-form content that gets to the point and long-form content that provides detailed information worth featuring. This way, you can get some organic traffic from SEO while appealing to different audience preferences throughout your blog.
Note that if you are creating blog posts for someone else, you’ll need to take their requirements into account and meet their expectations. But if you are writing for yourself, go ahead and define your own rules.
Takeaway:The ideal blog post length for you should reflect your goals. There’s an audience waiting to connect with what you have to say, whether it takes five or 15 minutes to read. Write authentically.
To learn more about content writing that appeals to readers and the machines we rely on, I recommend checking out Maddy Osman’s book: Writing for Humans and Robots: The New Rules of Content Style. It was written with professional writers in mind and is full of wisdom for anyone writing content for an online audience. Yep, her book title also inspired two subtitles for this post.