What is an ideal article length for SEO? This question has been debated for years since search engines were launched on the web.
So, how long should a blog be to rank on Google? Several studies found that a blog should be between 1,500 and 2,500 words to rank on Google, with a sweet spot at 2,450. Generally, an article has a higher chance of ranking on Google if it is a long, high-quality blog post of at least 1000 words.
I will show you Google’s take on word count in this article. I will also highlight what determines an article’s length and factors affecting your ranking chances. Let’s get into it.
You might also be interested in reading: How Long Does It Take To Make Money On a Blog? (With tips to earn money faster!
What Determines How Long a Blog Post Should Be To Rank On Google?
Google makes it clear that word count does not affect an article’s ranking. Back in July 2018, Google’s John Muller was asked on Twitter about this issue, and here was his response:
If the word count does not determine your ranking, then why write lengthy articles?
Two things should determine the length of your article:
- The article’s subject matter
- The searcher’s intent
To understand what I am talking about, imagine two articles- one is about how to tie a tie, and the other is about the invention of a multipurpose table.
These two articles will undoubtedly have different lengths, with multipurpose tables demanding more information that tying a tie.
You can cover less information on tying a tie than on a multipurpose table. Searcher intent helps a writer know whether the target audience wants to read a short or a long article.
Searchers looking for information on how to tie a tie will want a more concise article with visuals.
On the other hand, people looking for multipurpose tables may need more information, including history features, designs, benefits, prices, how to set up, etc. However, some may argue against long-form articles because people’s attention span has significantly narrowed.
While that is true, long-form content continues to perform exceptionally well in search engines.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that short content will not rank alongside long-form content. None is better than the other. Furthermore, numerous factors make a blog post rank on Google.
Let’s consider some statistics to help us settle this debate.
Statistics On Long-Form And Short Content
Before we discuss statistics on the length of an article and clarify one thing. There are good content and bad content regardless of their length.
You can peruse the internet and come across both stellar and mediocre content. Low-quality content cannot compete with top-notch articles, regardless of length.
Another thing we can agree on is that short-form content can be ready faster, providing a one-word or concise answer to queries.
But is that sufficient? True, some queries require short and direct answers like those that score on Google’s featured snippets, but that may not mean they are high-quality, resourceful, and educational content.
Plus, we know one thing: a blog post that ranks on Google should be compelling, easier to understand, rich in media and sources, and have a sensible structure.
Google and your readers want substance, facts, and evidence from authoritative sites. It is challenging to include all these in a short-form article.
And that is why long-form articles rank higher in organic searches than short-form content.
But what do statistics show? In 2021, HubSpot analyzed its top-performing content to establish how its length impacted its success, considering the topic, audience, post structure, and main promotional channel.
The company found that the ideal article length for SEO should be 2,100-2400 words. This length is higher than what many writers think is ideal- 500 words.
If you key in queries on Google search, most blog posts you will see on the first page will likely be those regarded by surfers and Google as resourceful, well-structured, and giving satisfactory answers to the query.
So, dive deep and give your readers well-structured and meaningful information when you write.
Understanding Google’s Statement On Content-Length
We had established that Google does not emphasize the length of an article. However, this does not mean you publish mediocre content that does not satisfy your readers’ quest for information on the subject.
Google may not care much about the number of words, but the algorithm cares about user intent. And more often than not, users want longer-quality content than short articles.
My understanding of Google’s position on the ideal article length is that you should focus on meeting searchers’ needs whenever you write a blog post.
If the query requires concise answers, there is no reason to create lengthy and fluffy content to try to please Google gods.
Quality Always Beats Quantity
I have seen bloggers hire cheap writers on Fiverr, Upwork, and other freelancing platforms with an emphasis on word count.
These bloggers do not understand that more than words are required for a blog post to rank well on Google.
Writing redundant long-form content that offers no real value to your readers is a waste of time.
Even with the correct keyword placement, readers will see through the chaff in a blog post and leave your site immediately after they click.
Google will see that people are not sticking to your content (pogo sticking), making it drop in ranking.
Therefore, before you begin writing an article, ask yourself the following questions: who will benefit from this content? What information are they looking for? What are their pain points? How will you address these concerns in your blog?
Write for your audience. Don’t leave your audiences wondering how your content benefits them.
If you feel you are losing creativity in your copy and are inflating your word count, your readers will feel the same way.
Google will also know if your content contributes no significant value to the internet. This means low-quality content can hold your blog back in the search results.
Know Your Audience: Personas, People, and Keywords
We have already discussed your target audience helping you with content creation, but let’s dig a little deeper.
Whether you are writing long-form or short-form content, it is essential that you know your readers.
What is their level of intent? What do they want to accomplish on the internet?
Some people are looking for basic information and may benefit from short content. On the other hand, others want to buy things online and want quick information to make a decision.
So, ensure your content reflects the persona of your target audience and their different user intent stages.
But how do you achieve that? Map out your content before you start creating it. The content you want to create should connect your business goals with the goals of those looking for that content.
However, your audience research may sometimes not tell how long your content should be. In this case, I suggest conducting deeper research to find out the content length your target group is already consuming.
You may have an idea of what they expect from you. The best thing is that you can search for relevant keywords linked to your prospects. Type these keywords on Google and examine the length of articles on page one.
The length of these articles will help you gauge how many words are required to answer those queries fully.
The rule is: content should satisfy your user’s search intent.
Go Beyond The Written Words
I have heard some writers fault long-form content for fluffiness and word fillers. However, high-quality long-form articles address the reader’s queries without being fluffy.
Your text should make sense, and the accompanying images and videos should be explained by well-written text. The goal is to help the user get the most out of your content and stay longer on your site.
Some topics require more than long-form content to explain a concept. You may need to create a video demonstration or detailed tutorial with bonus content to explain a concept fully.
But even if your topic requires photos or an audio presentation from an industry expert, ensure you accompany them with relevant texts.
Your content can either be short-form or long-form, depending on your subject matter and the searcher’s intent.
You can write in different forms to allow your audience to consume your content in various ways, thus giving you a wider reach.
One thing is clear: Your goal should not be about writing 2000 or 3000 words per blog post. Although the range looks perfect length for long-form content that will easily rank for organic search, articles differ in purpose.
If you are forcing your content to achieve the ideal blog post length, then you have missed the point of this article.
As a writer, you have but one goal: to create the best-optimized quality content that satisfies your target audience’s search intent. You want a person who clicks on your article to get all they need to know about the subject.
Write with your audience in mind, read the article out loud to feel how it sounds, and correct any errors. If the material is coherent and makes sense, your readers will love it, and it will rank higher on Google.
What else can you do to get your blog ranked on Google?
What to read next: