Even if you’re a content genius, living and breathing words, knowing the ideal blog post length to aim for is never an easy question to answer. And that's because there is no right or wrong answer. Instead, it’s more important to focus on the word count that best aligns with:
The type of content you’re creating
Who you’re writing for
What the overall intention of the piece is
Your SEO content requirements
The platform you’ll publish it on.
All too often, we hear people in the digital marketing industry claim that XYZ words are the ideal blog post length. But if there’s nothing else you take away from this article, remember this: the quality of your content is more important than the quantity of it.
In saying that, there are ways you can maximize the value and helpfulness of your material by choosing a word count that allows you to tick all the right boxes for your audience. So, in this guide, we will explore the various lengths you can opt for, and what ones are better for specific content formats.
The many blog post lengths explained
How long’s a piece of string?
When you're wondering how many words to aim for, think about your current content marketing efforts: do you have a default blog length? Do you mix things up every now and then, using short posts and long-form blog posts? Does one work better than the other for your audience?
All of this matters. It’s not so easy to say 500 words or 1000 words for a good blog post length is the be-all-and-end-all of your strategy because that’s simply not the case.
But what’s more important is to consider who you’re writing for and why. Keep this factor in mind and you’ll be able to work out the exact word count you need to choose, using the below list of lengths as your go-to guideline.
Most commonly, you’ll find many marketers choose from the following blog post length buckets:
<300: We’re trying not to cringe here, but we highly recommend staying away from word counts of this nature, as they don’t offer any kind of user value, SEO benefits, or conversion advantages. If you’re going to spend time putting a piece together, we recommend opting for longer than this.
300 to 600 words: Designed to be short and straight to the point, the aim of these is to spark conversation and engagement. However, it’s vital to note that these are not SEO-friendly, as Google favors in-depth, longer-form blog posts over thinner, short-form ones.
600 to 800 words: This is the absolute minimum length that we’d recommend when you’re creating any kind of website copy or blog content. They provide enough of a digestive, bite-sized read for your audience, are SEO-friendly at a base level, but don’t necessarily go too far into specifics. If your audience prefers quick reads, this may be the best option.
800 to 1200 words: More complex and informational, these educational pieces can adopt a journalistic style or remain more informal. Their main intention is to give more helpful guidance and explanation to the audience, and are ideal for building an SEO foundation.
1200 to 2500: If your audience likes to sit down and read more detailed material, this may be the perfect lead generation tool for your strategy. If you write high-quality, valuable, and keyword-researched content at this length, you’ll find you’ll get opportunities across lead generation, link building, and SEO rankings.
2500 to 4000: We love these blog posts. Like, really love these. Articles of this length have been thoroughly researched (i.e. the one you're reading right now), they are designed to give very helpful tips to the reader, and essentially solve problems for the user. That’s exactly what search engines love, so it’s only natural that you’ll receive better search rankings in return, complete with backlink opportunities because you’re acting as a credible, reliable source.
Once you know that these are the baselines you should aim for, you can move on to working out what your audience demands and where the engagement will likely come from. For example:
Are they more likely to enjoy short-form content in a social post?
Do they have time to read longer blog posts?
Would they be interested in a word count that nears an eBook length?
Are they after quick answers to their questions – like those found in FAQs?
The ideal blog post length for various formats
Like it or not, some lengths work better for different types of content formats. Use these to your advantage and you’ll find yourself with strategic, useful material that your audience will eat straight up.
Below are the unofficial blog post length guidelines we follow for various types of content.
If you’re taking an SEO stance, HubSpot recommends a minimum word count of 2100 to 2400 words. That means creating pillar content – i.e. long-form, in-depth material – needs to go even further beyond this.
Pillar pages demand content quality, which you simply can’t achieve in short-form articles. Without the freedom and space to do so, you’re unable to effectively answer the biggest questions from your target audience or really solve any problems. You're likely giving surface-level advice, too.
When you write up long-form pillar pages, you’re creating content that's designed to be the cornerstone and pinnacle of your other material, so it needs to give the absolute most value possible to the reader. For this reason, we recommend approximately 4000 words for each pillar piece you publish.
The trick to hitting this word count is to create a solid outline that you can work from, allocating a sub-length for each section. In fact, we did that for this article you’re reading right now – and look at that! We hit over 2000 words.
Here's an example from Hubspot:
In reality, the optimal word count for any blog post means balancing comprehensiveness and brevity. The “ideal blog post length" is one that includes an explanation of the topic and an argument for its importance, using research, statistics, good sources, and examples as the body. If you can’t include all this somehow, you’re likely being gated by word count restrictions.
However, listicles do need some flexibility when it comes to length, but because they’re formatted in a more readable, at-a-glance- way, their length doesn’t tend to turn off audiences who may otherwise be inclined to avoid longer content.
So, that being said, we recommend between 2000 and 2600 words for listicles, keeping them well-structured and easy to scroll through.
There is a popular misconception that FAQ content should answer the question at hand and move on. But consider this: the objective of any form of content is to provide value. How do you do that in a sentence or two?
For this reason, we encourage you to aim for FAQ answers that are between two to three paragraphs long. While that’s not a specific post length, using this as your foundation will ensure you’re not being ‘too vague’ in your answers, which will only frustrate your users and Google.
Just like pillar content, how-to guides prioritize quality over anything else, and typically also tend to be the format of choice for lead generation tools and magnets. While they’re not necessarily as in-depth as pillar pages, you still need to aim for enough substance to please audiences and search engines.
To tick those boxes, we recommend you write articles that carry 1600 to 2200 words. Oh, and would you look at that! We’ve hit that criteria, too.
The minimum ideal blog post length
As we discussed above, shorter blog posts are less likely you are to rank in search results, or really satisfy your end-user. But if you have to aim for a shorter word count, we recommend sticking to 600 to 800-word bracket, and not under.
If you need to build content shorter than this, it’s likely that a blog post isn’t even the right format to be opting for anyway. For example, a time-poor, on-the-go audience may engage more with a quick video clip on social media or YouTube, rather than read 300 words that don’t answer their question.
Beyond this, search engine optimization is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate, with algorithm updates meaning content quality and substance is more of a priority.
The shorter you go for, the less likely it is that you’re in the good books of Google. In fact, today’s average word count for any type of blog post now sits at 1500 to 2000. If you’re falling under that, you’re already below average.
The benefits of long-form blog posts
By nature, longer posts tend to be more engaging and rewarding to read, with lengthier pieces four times more likely to get traffic than those hovering around the average length we mentioned above. That means aiming for content that’s above 4000+ words can give you massive boosts in SEO rankings and organic traffic.
But rankings and traffic aside, there are more perks to enjoy by maxing out your count in longer blog posts:
SEO appeal: Beyond rankings, having evergreen content is a great way to keep your overall campaign consistent, fresh and stable. You can update and tweak these pieces to increase performance over time, and keep ahead of your competition. Not to mention they're helpful for including internal links.
User experience: If readers are intrigued by your material and sit down to digest the entire piece, they’re effectively spending more time on your site, minimizing bounce rates, and increasing overall website engagement by generating discussion. From there, if they’ve found your content useful, they’re also more likely to convert.
Lead generation: As humans, we love content that fills gaps or answers our biggest questions, so snatching up a guide that does this – whether as a freebie or a special offer – is hard to say no to. If all a user has to do is enter in their email to have all their prayers answered, it’s a small price to pay.
Content repurposing: Creating long-form content also means you can repurpose it easily into other formats, like eBooks, infographics, other blog posts, social media snippets, and more. Remember, one piece of content can be turned into infinite others – you just have to use your imagination.
Sound good? Well, before you head off to start putting those fingers to the keys, there are still a few more basics to cover off on how to optimize your content appropriately.
One more cup of coffee and let’s jump straight in.
How to optimize blog length for SEO
While we could go on for eternity about this part of the topic, we’ve reigned ourselves in to give you a quick guide on how to optimize your chosen article length.
We know it’s super tempting to just throw in keywords everywhere to ensure search visibility, but trust us when we say that’s not the best path to take. This is especially true if you’re erring on the sound of thinner, shorter content.
Instead, choose a handful of terms through keyword research that have a good search volume, and that will naturally fit into your content. Then, aim for a few mentions in the body, heading, and once in the introduction. More than that and you’re toeing the line of over-optimization.
Pro tip: Use a keyword density checker to see if your percentages are too high. We recommend 1-2% for your clusters.
Use your headings as a way to guide users through your material and to signify to search engines that you’re appealing to a user's search query. Place your primary keywords in these positions, complete with appropriate heading tags to show the hierarchy, including:
H1s: One H1 should appear on your page. This is your main heading.
H2s: Consider these sub-headings. You can have more than one and they should feature a keyword. Try to include a different keyword to the one in your H1.
H3: Used mostly for further structure, put these in your longer pieces to help create readability. They do not have to have keywords in them.
H4, H5, H6: You can choose to include these in how-to articles or pillar pieces that are much longer in nature and need lots of structure. Keywords are optional here, but we recommend using them only to help you create a digestive format.
Additionally aim for a shorter word length to keep your headings snappy and clear.
A blog article should always be well-formatted, especially when they’re longer and more time-consuming to read. Nothing’s worse than having to wade through slabs of text without any white space or break in the text.
Stick to paragraphs that are three to four sentences in length and nothing over. Comparatively, avoid paragraphs that are just singled-out sentences on separate lines – that’s a no-no. Instead, cluster these loner sentences together and use transition words to connect them seamlessly.
If you do have a fair bit of content to map out in one area, use bullet points to help you structure your piece. With 60% of searches now conducted on mobile, this also ensures users on other devices can make their way through your content more easily, too.
Images and alt text
The longer your content is, the more images you should include. This will help break up paragraphs, keep the reader engaged and also act as quality supporting material for your topic.
If you use a tool like SurferSEO – for example – it will also give you a guideline number of images to include for your exact topic. When in doubt, look at your content and assess if there are too many paragraphs in succession. If you can break it up, you may as well.
Additionally, for every image you include, it’s important to optimize it with the right alt text. Essentially alt text is written copy that appears in place of an image if the website happens to have trouble loading it. And it’s crucial to SEO.
Calls to action
Calls to action are a key component of good marketing. A well-placed message encouraging your audience to head off to your landing page or to complete the desired action (conversion) is always worth including.
Remember that most users won’t go and sign up for your newsletter, give you a call or buy your products without a reminder or incentive to do so. Use call to action mid-way through your content and at the bottom of it, to ensure you’re giving it your best shot.
We know this is a lot to take in, but there’s one thing you need to remind yourself of when it comes to figuring out your ideal blog length:
What would your audience engage with?
At the end of the day, if your users won’t read it, search engines won’t rank it. Plus, by incorporating our key points above, you can ensure you’re already on your way to creating a more optimized approach to any content format you put forward online.
To round it all up, here are the primary points you need to keep in mind at all times:
Shorter content is less likely to rank or give users more value.
The average blog length is now 1500-2000 words.
Pillar pages require at least 4000 words.
Listicles are better suited to 2000-2600 words.
FAQs should be at least two to three paragraphs.
How-to, high-quality content performs better when between 1600-2200 words.
Assess what your audience will engage with.
When in doubt, aim for longer-form content.
Optimize for keywords, alt text, headings, paragraphs, call to actions, and images.
Of course, the experts at Online Marketing Gurus are also always happy to help you create the perfect content marketing strategy. Simply get in touch for a no-obligation chat
It's time to start writing!