Content has never been more crucial to marketing. According to SEMRush, 84% of companies have a content marketing strategy—of which blog posts are the most popular content format. Between companies and bloggers, it’s no surprise that an estimated two billion posts are published yearly.
In tandem with blog posts, SEMRush’s study showed that most companies rely on organic traffic and search engine optimization for content distribution. Knowing how important SEO is for their blog posts, content marketers are constantly trying to optimize theirs. One heavily debated question is: how long should a blog post be to rank highly on search engine result pages?
If you’ve wondered this, we’re here to answer your question. We spoke to a little over 100 SEO experts and analysed several studies to bring you a response that may give your content marketing a new direction.
How long should long-form blog posts be to rank on search engine result pages?
According to Yoast, any posts 300 words and longer could rank on SERPs. Still, ranking highly for competitive topics is harder with short posts that length.
After thorough research and consulting industry experts, we’ve concluded that the ideal blog post length is between 1500-2500 words. Of course, experts agree that the length of a blog post is not one-size-fits-all and will vary across industries, niches, and subject matter.
A study by OrbitMedia shows that on average, blog posts have gotten progressively longer over the years. Currently, the average blog post is 1,416 words long.
As such, readers and search engines are beginning to favor longer posts. In turn, more bloggers and content marketing departments are focusing on long-form content at least 1000 words long.
Katheriin Libert, Head of Marketing at Outfunnel says, “I've been in content marketing and SEO for about 5 years now, and in my experience, length still matters when it comes to blog articles! Shorter blog posts (under 1600 words) just don't start ranking as well. And 3000+ word articles seem to be the "stickiest" on Google search”
Adam Connell, founder of the website Blogging Wizard also acknowledges that many experts prefer longer articles because they “allow you to include more keywords, particularly long-tail keywords.”
Founder of Inkwell Content Services, Liam warns marketers not to go crazy trying to hit the maximum word count. He says “all content will need to be updated eventually to maintain its SEO power. So sometimes, when writing an article for the first time, it's wise to leave some wiggle room for updates in the future.”
But is the length of blog posts the only metric that affects Google rankings? It doesn’t seem to be so.
A study by Backlink.io shows that sometimes the longest posts do not win the coveted number one spot. Backlink.io researchers discovered that “word count was evenly distributed among the top 10 results. The average Google first page result contains 1,447 words.”
So, which other factors are worth noting when it comes to determining optimal SEO blog post length? Let’s take a look.
Factors to consider when deciding on a SEO blog post length
When we surveyed SEO experts and marketing professionals, they shed light on how long a blog post should be—based on their case studies and personal experience. They also highlighted various factors that affect SEO ranking besides post length.
So, here are some things to keep in mind while deciding on SEO blog post length:
1. Focus on search intent
Every one of the 100+ SEO experts we surveyed emphasized the value of content that focuses on search intent. Qhubekani Nyathi, SEO Pillar Content Expert at Wholesome Commerce insists that “the ideal word post length for a winning SEO blog post is as many words as it takes to address the search intent, no more, no less.”
Nyathi continues, “For example, I rank #2 for the keyword ‘SEO writing example’. My post is 2400 words long while the #1 article has 1600 words. The #6 post is a 9000-word monster guide—the word counts of the leading posts are all over the place.”
Joseph Raczka, a content executive at Twinkl agrees. He reports that his team writes a range of posts between 500 - 4000 words. So far, Raczka notes that “rankings have had less to do with length and more to do with three factors: the quality of the blog post, lack of repetition or fluff within the text, and the blog post’s relevance to the search intent.” Still, after surveying his team’s top 5 performing posts, he says they’ve been “in the range of 1800-2200 words”
Want your post to do well on search engines? Satisfy the reader by answering their questions.
Brendan Tully, the principal consultant at WP Speed Fix adds that writing for search intent means not treating the reader like a dummy.
Tully says, “If the visitor is searching for ‘best SEO tools for content marketers,’ they already know what SEO and content marketing are, they don't need paragraphs of text explaining this like they're a dummy.”
2. Subject coverage
In addition to meeting search intent, blog posts that rank cover the subject matter in detail. Hence, the advent of pillar pages. The study by Backlink.io confirms this.
It reports that “comprehensive content with a high “Content Grade” (via Clearscope), significantly outperformed content that didn’t cover a topic in-depth.”
Manick Bhan, founder of Linkgraph acknowledges that there is a direct correlation between content length and higher SERP rankings. Still, he says, “although content length is correlated with higher rank, it doesn’t cause it.”
According to Bhan, “what really matters to Google is topical authority, and it’s much easier to show that authority through long articles and blog posts with multiple headers and keywords.” Topical authority is how comprehensively your website covers a particular topic. This is a marker of high-quality content.
Bhan insists that with rounded subject coverage, your posts have a solid chance of ranking—and for many topics, you’ll probably hit that word count sweet spot too.
3. Competitor posts
If you’re still not sure how long your post should be for any given topic, Adam Connell recommends checking out the length of competing articles to get a solid starting point.
Akinduyo Eniola, SEO expert from Gurus Coach agrees. He suggests that marketers study their niche and see what's working for their competitors. Quoting Matt Diggity, Eniola reminds marketers: “you don't want to be the black sheep on the search engine.”
Basically, if Google search ranks several articles in a similar style highly, they’re probably doing something the algorithm likes. It would be best to stay in the same neighborhood. So, if the high-ranking pages for a query have an average word count of 1500, writing a 3000-word article would likely be overkill—and might work against you.
4. SEO tools
With the SEO boom, SEO tools like SurferSEO and Clearscope are becoming more commonly used in keyword research and content marketing. These tools can help bloggers figure out a ballpark figure for their word count.
Freelance B2B Saas writer and founder of the Elite Content Marketer site (which gets up to 50K visitors monthly), Chintan, relies on these tools as a starting guide.
However, Chintan says he doesn’t blindly follow the tools’ guidelines as they can often be flawed. SEO tools typically analyze all the top-ranking pages and these page rankings depend on several factors besides on-page SEO.
According to Chintan, “Some pages may be at the top of the results list based on their domain's authority alone. Meanwhile, the pages ranking highly with relatively lower domain authority are those doing on-page SEO well.”
So, how can you get the most out of your SEO tools? Chintan says, “Optimize your content by integrating relevant subtopics and keywords the tool suggests.” This makes your piece more comprehensive.
With an encompassing post that matches search intent, Chintan insists, “even if your word count is below other ranking pieces, you can end up with a great content score and that paves way for landing in the top 10 in SERPs.”
5. User-friendly post features
Some topics simply require short posts and keyword stuffing will only hurt your site’s reputation. So how do you make a shorter post (under 1500 words) more appealing to search engines and readers? By using user-friendly post features. These include:
- Screenshots and images
- Embedded videos
- Readability aids like bullet points
- Navigation tools like a table of content and back to top buttons
- Light and dark mode screen options
Note how this lengthy blogging statistic post by Orbit Media remains enjoyable to read with graphs and quoted text.
[orbit media study - how long should a blog post be]
Micaela, an SEO and content marketer for Empact Partners states that “readers don't mind long pieces as long as there are navigation menu options that they can jump to if they are only looking for a certain section.”
Nathan Hughes, the marketing director at Diggity Marketing agrees. Hughes says, “A short blog post of around 1,500 words can rank higher when used properly. Some of the ways to make your blog post rank higher include adding the right keywords, providing proper backlinks, adding alt texts, and media-rich content to the post.”
Make your post a pleasure to read no matter the length. This will keep readers engaged and search engines will reward your page for being engaging.
How Jasper helps you write comprehensive long-form SEO articles
Writing high-quality long-form content is no joke. As we’ve seen, the best-performing posts on search engines are between 1500-2500 words long. Writing that volume of blog content regularly can become tiring, especially since it requires heavy keyword and competitor research.
Enter Jasper: An excellent AI writing assistant designed to make your content marketing life easier. Jasper has been trained by real-life expert copywriters and has over 52 templates for every content need.
If you’re preparing to write a long-form piece, we recommend using Jasper’s Blog Outline template to generate a holistic outline that covers the subject matter thoroughly. Once your outline is ready, feed it into the Jasper Long-Form Assistant template. The more information you feed the assistant, the better it will write.
The final step is to click “Generate” and watch Jasper work its magic. Want to see it in action?
Voila! You can keep tweaking the article along the way by returning your cursor to a particular point and leading Jasper on. Want to figure out how you can master Jasper templates, check out the Jasper Bootcamp. But first, sign up for Jasper (to write blog content of any length).