A question that seems to be coming up quite a lot these days is: “So, what IS the perfect length for a blog post?”
There are many moving parts involved. Too many, in fact, that we can't weigh in with a definitive number for you. The experts in the industry have their opinions, many grounded in studies they’ve conducted on their own audience. We have our own internal style guide here at Aspiration Marketing, based on our goals for the blog. How about this? We’ll cover the topic in our usual way and leave you to decide for yourself?
Unpacking the question
What are you writing about? Do you want to be seen as “authoritative” by Google, or are you more interested in getting people to share your piece on social media? Are you writing a scholarly tome, or doing more of a recipe sharing kind of thing? Where does SEO rank on your scale of importance?
Because the answer to "what is the ideal length of a blog post?" will differ for each of those scenarios:
For Google to view your site as an authority you want to make the pieces longer, in the 2,000+ word range.
For social media shares the ideal range is 600-1,200 words.
For posts where you’re looking for a conversation keep it to under 500.
For SEO pull... actually there’s more involved there, so let’s leave that one alone for now.
Additionally, keep in mind that if you’re posting short pieces to gather comments, these posts actually hurt your SEO pull. And if you’re new to blogging, you may want to try a variety of these lengths to see which ones attract more readers. Alternate 2,500 word content bombs with some catchy little 350 word comment magnets. Then, as your readership grows, you can decide which way you want to take your site.
What the experts have to say
Of course, the experts have plenty to say on this. What they don’t have to offer is a consistent answer. Here’s a sampling of answers from various respected authorities in the content/SEO world:
Hubspot research reports that the ideal post length is ~2,100 words, especially if you’re looking for SEO juice. They go on to say that that number will, of course, vary by topic and intent.
Medium, on the other hand, determined that time-to-read is a more valuable metric, and on their platform that means 7 minutes is the ideal to keep engagement high. (Spoiler alert--that post has a LOT of charts, if you’re into that sort of thing)
Moz, on the other hand, wants you to ask better questions when you see numbers like this. Questions like:
Do the keywords used in this study have anything at all to do with my topic or industry?
They also point out that correlation and causation are 100% NOT the same thing. In other words, just because the #1 post has 2,367 words, doesn’t mean that it’s #1 BECAUSE it has 2,367 words. That may just happen to be how many words they used to write the best post in the world on widgets. They also talk quite a bit about posting frequency, but that’s not our topic today. It’s a great post, however, highly recommended.
So three industry leaders say either 2,100 words, 7 minutes, or ask more questions.
Taken together, though, these expert opinions can render a fair bit of useful information on our quest to find the right blog post length. We now know that SEO likes longer posts, readers tend to like things mid-length, and that it’s important to know what your own goals are before getting started.
Our own hot take on this subject
To be honest, we’re fans of the N=1 style of research. In other words, what matters to YOU? Do your own keyword research if you’re not sure. It doesn’t take much time and can give you FAR more accurate information as far as the ideal post length for YOU and your goals. Here are some steps to get you started:
Search a handful of your primary keywords (you’ve done your general keyword research, right?)
Open the first SERP (Search Engine Results Page) worth of links—paying attention to blog posts in particular
Do a quick word count on the posts that seem the most relevant to YOU, then rank them by which came up higher on the SERP
Et voile! You have your own version of the “the ideal post length is…” spreadsheet to get you going
Oh, one more thing before we wrap it up
We wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t touch on the important subject of headlines. Yes, headlines have an ideal length, too. We covered it here, so this is the short version (see what we did there?)
Headlines should be approximately 60 characters. This is primarily because that’s the average number of characters allowed before Google truncates the headline on SERPs. So if you want the entire thing to be visible (which you do, because it’s how you draw readers through to your page, right?)—keep it brief.
Here’s a fun statistic for you, 60% of readers admit to reading the headline only. So you want to pack as much into those 60 characters as possible to entice them to read on. And if you want your pieces shared on social media, best divide those characters out into 8-14 words.
OK...so what is the ideal post length?
Hopefully you’ve picked up on this, but we’re not here to tell you what the one correct blog post length is. It depends.
What you will see is that here on the Aspiration Marketing blog we keep our posts to a bit north of 1,000 words. That’s because we tend to present a lot of information in each post and don’t want to lose your attention before you get to the good stuff at the bottom (like the prize at the bottom of the cereal box, remember those?) We also compile some of our best stuff into pillar pages, and occasionally release ebooks as well.
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