What’s the ideal blog post length for SEO in 2020?


What’s the ideal blog length for ranking on Google in 2020?

Is there a perfect length for ranking on Google? Is it 1,000 words, 2,000 words, 10,000 words? In this post we’ll cover:

  • The length of some of the top ranking posts on Google
  • Actionable tips for ranking beyond simply having enough words on your page
  • The ways that blog length fits into a larger SEO strategy

What’s the average length of top ranking content on Google?

graph of Average content length in top 10 search results

According to serpIQ, the average content length of content in the number one position is on average, 2416 words, compared to 2,032 words for the 10th result for a search.

So, should we all write blog posts that are 2,416 words in length?

Not so fast. Longer content DOES rank better on average. However, not every piece of content is the same. Some searches should have long answers, others should have very short answers. 

What’s the search intent?

You don’t want to try to stretch out your content or make it way different than it’s meant to be. For MOST blog posts, a longer post will do a better job answering their question. However, that isn’t always the case.

You never want to “pad your content”. It shouldn’t have unnecessary words. Even for in-depth and longer posts, edit your content. Don’t make it longer than it needs to be.

Look over your content before you publish it. Would a visitor on your website say “wow, this was exactly what I was looking for”?

Some of the top ranking posts that I highlight later on are more than 11,000. Keep reading to find out what they’re about.

Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What are they looking for?

pinterest pin on the ideal blog post length for SEO

When they’re looking through Google, what type of response do they want? If they are searching for “how to start a business, they will likely want a detailed and in-depth article that covers a variety of topics. It should have sections on coming up with ideas, gaining funding, registering your business, gaining proper licenses, creating a website, and finding customer. Currently, the top ranking article from Entrepreneur.com has 4357 words in their article.

On the other hand, I have one post that’s on organizing the sections of your Facebook Business Page. What does the website visitor want with that page? They want to quickly and efficiently learn the steps to organize their Facebook Business Page. I can always include extra Facebook Bonus tips at the end, but it’s important to teach them the steps as quickly and efficiently as possible. 500 words would be a great length for this type of post.

What does Google want?

Google wants to provide an amazing user experience. If you search “how to run Facebook ads” and you need to visit 7 webpages to get your answer that’s a horrible experience. Google wants for you to visit 1 website and have their question answered in full.

According to Ahrefs.com, Nick Frost, the head of Google Brain had this to say:

Google is now integrating machine learning into [the process of figuring out what the relationship between a search and the best page for that search is]. So then training models on when someone clicks on a page and stays on that page, when they go back or when they and trying to figure out exactly on that relationship. 

Or, in less technical terms, it’s likely they take into account how long people spend on your website. If someone spends a few seconds, that’s bad, not just for losing valuable visitors, but also for ranking on Google. If someone spends 3,5, or 10 minutes engaging with your content, that builds trust, and will likely increase your ranking on Google.

Amazing user experience isn’t only for Google. I offer a 1 on 1 strategy session to provide a “knock your socks off user experience” here.

Why you should write longer blog posts:

Shorter blog posts are faster to write (obviously). So, why is it worth the time creating blog posts that are longer in length. Doesn’t it just make sense to target keywords that only merit a short response?

Short blog posts can be a part of any SEO strategy. However, you’re missing out on big opportunities, here is why:

If the search can be answered very briefly, many people will glance at the featured snippet but not click through to the webpage.

For example, here’s the result for “how to upload a photo on Facebook. You’ll see that the question can be answered so quickly, that many people can read the text of this “featured snippet” and they won’t need to read the article. This will mean no website traffic.

In fact for the search term, “What’s the population of denver colorado”, Google simply serves up the answer. There is no website, simply give you the answer. That means no one will gain any website visits.

Longer articles can build more trust

If someone spends 20 minutes reading your long article and taking notes, this will build much more trust and goodwill compared to briefly reading a short article.

You want to establish yourself as a trusted, valuable, and knowledgable authority. If you answer a simple and easy question, that’s no a lot of value to the person reading. It’s not going memorable and isn’t likely to drive sales in the future. And, since the average content length is over 2,000 words, that means Google sees the “best responses” as often being several thousand words.

If you’re interested in building your trust, authority, and driving more sales, I recommend taking a look at my 1 to 1 strategy session on increasing user trust and reputation. There are small changes that you can make that will have a big impact on your business.

Pro Tip: See what’s already ranking before writing your content

If you’re curious about what’s already ranking for the search terms you’re looking for, go take a look at what type of content is ranking.

The top result for the competitive term “video marketing” has over 11,000 words and it’s from a high authority website.

Look at your competition, see what they’re writing, see what you’re going up against because that right now is what Google thinks is the best answer to the questions people are asking. Your goal is to be in that number one spot or at least, the top set of options.

Google has already decided that provided a great answer to the question. How are you going to going to write something better? You could:

  • Go more in-depth and write more words
  • Provide additional tips and strategies
  • Include better videos, images, and infographics than the competition
  • Answer more questions or touch on something that’s not included on the top ranking pages

Do your keyword research first

Writing a blog post, whether it’s long or short can be a waste of time unless you’ve considered 3 things:

  1. Are people searching for what I’m writing about?
  2. Can I rank (show up in the top 10 results) for this topic?
  3. Can I write something that’s better than what’s out there.
  4. Bonus for business owners: can I send this directly to my potential, existing, or past clients?

Don’t skip this part. You could write the best post ever, but if no one reads it, it’s not going to give you the results that you desire.

Brian Dean of Backlinko wrote an incredibly comprehensive guide to keyword research. It ranks #1 on Google for that term and it’s over 18,000 words. Yes, your read that right.

To count words on pages, the simplest tool that I’ve found is https://websitewordcounter.flap.tv/

Conclusion: The ideal blog length on average is 2,416 words, but there’s more to it than that.

While it does depend on the topic, it’s usually beneficial to write longer, more in-depth blog articles that answer your topic or question. I encourage people to take a deep look into the blog articles that are ranking well in their niche.
Google wants people to find a complete answer for all of their questions and doesn’t want to make people double back and spread their search out over a variety of pages. When you’re taking your content into consideration, here’s the steps to take to find the perfect length

  • Do keyword research first.
  • Look for keywords where you can provide an in-depth answer
  • Research what’s already ranking. Make sure you can create something even better.
  • Aim for a length that provides the best possible answer to the person’s search.
  • Provide amazing images, videos, and infographics.
  • Edit your content. The ideal answer requires many words, but you want your content to be fast paced and easy to understand.

What’s next?

To learn more actionable advice on marketing and reaching new customers, take a look at my ultimate guide to marketing.

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