Discover the Best Blog Length for Google Rankings & SEO

Feb 27, 2019 | Blogging, Content Creation, Search Engine Optimisation

Kevin Fouche

Discover the Best Blog Length for Google Rankings & SEO

Posted by Kevin Fouche, Pixel Fish Director

Kevin handles the planning, design, launch and training of every website that Pixel Fish creates. He ensures that every website is highly engaging and aligned with our client’s goals. With over 20 years of design and web industry experience to draw upon, Kevin aims to pass on his knowledge to our clients and like-minded businesses wanting to grow their online presence.

Your target audience will probably differ from the audience the next person who reads this blog will be trying to target. As target audiences differ, the ideal blog length for higher Google rankings and optimum SEO will vary depending on the blog’s topic and content. Let’s Discover the Best Blog Length for Google Rankings & SEO.

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

Content is king

When determining how many words make up an ideal blog post’s length, we have to begin with two significant 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 helpful, informative, optimised to meet your target audience’s needs and ultimately delivers the information – or answers – your reader was initially searching for.

People’s importance on word length when 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 more straightforward blog packed with useful information is going to provide a better user experience than a more extended blog full of blather. However, a quick blog devoid of the information a user seeks will give 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 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 a longer range allowing for more naturally included backlinks. Good content will offer to source, 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 usually 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 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 recommends blog writers analyse their data to determine what their audience prefers.

Your tailored solution

You can analyse your successes to discover what sits best with your target audience. 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 choose whether your content is regarded as high quality.

If you write a useful blog from beginning to end, your audience may stay with you longer than they expected. 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 return 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, 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 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 use essential keywords naturally.

While the above is a helpful 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 adding unnecessary filler to bulk up a word count, it will do more damage than good if you fail to deliver a valuable blog to your audience.

A helpful 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!

Further Information
Top 10 Steps to Start a Successful Online Store
What Is Google PageSpeed Insights and How it Can Improve Your Website
How to Successfully Balance UX and SEO for The Most Effective Website
10 Reasons Your Website Is Fundamental to the Growth of Your Business

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