300, 500 or 2500? How long should a blog post be?

A client of mine wanted his site to be ranked first on Google, and we got into a heated discussion because he tried to support his point about how many words should be in a post on his newly created blog so he can rank at the top of google.

He argued based on his experience within his field of work, while my SEO experience marked a trend towards “more is better” (at least in his niche).

Although it was difficult for him to understand the motives behind my successes, and still is, I managed to give him enough reasons to at least re-evaluate his position.

No rules, just data …

There are no established rules and, bloggers, marketers and SEO experts all pitch something different depending on the niches.

That pitch is based on experiments they have done in their niche using these two factors

  • First, the source of potential traffic (the distribution channel)
  • And then, what a user is looking for, ideas, concrete data, entertainment, etc …

The Post length depends on the Traffic Source

In order to decide how many words the post should be, it is necessary to determine the primary source of where the users who will read the post are coming from; That is the distribution channels.

Where will users come from?

  • Social networks
  • Emails Lists
  • Google and other search engines

How Many Words Should a Post Have if it’s meant to be shared on Social Networks?

When a post is intended to be distributed through social networks such as Facebook it is usually for entertainment. A post for s social network should be between 750-1500 words. For example, a 1500-word post with an engaging entertaining title with quality (or controversial) content tends to be shared more than, say, 500 words.

Post for Mailing Lists (Email List)

Sending links on a recent posts to your email list is very important and will guarantee that you get repeat visitors to your site and some engagement and shares.

Posts that are sent via email can get a lot of comments without necessarily being extensive. In these posts 300 – 750 words is the sweet spot. The post should be entertaining, useful and even thought provoking enough to generate engagement.

How Many Words Does an Post Have to Have for the Search Engines?

In Google the posts that rank the highest are usually very detailed long posts.

The data indicates that when a user has an interest in a subject he expects to find as much information as possible and at the same time allows him to clear doubts and clarify concepts.

Marketing company Hubspot analyzed its own data and found that its articles with an average of 2250-2500 words receive more organic visits. (Ref .: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/character-count-guide )

The Big Question?

If the length of a post is so important for ranking on Google, then why are there some post that are in the top positions and have no more than 500 words, ranking higher than those that have more than 1000, 1500 or 2000?

Because it depends on what a user is looking for and other factors like external links and on-page SEO. Below are two examples of what users look for.

  • Concrete data
  • Extensive Information

Concrete Data – Post with 300-1000 words

The post with specific data are those that consist of very specific information on a topic, usually responding to a question and are backed up with statistical data, reports or studies.

Posts on specific data are short, precise and concise. An example of a search query for specific data in a search engine is:

“Acetaminophen Side Effects”

Users who search for that keyword are expecting to find in the search results very specific data and information to support this data.

Extensive Information – 1000 words or more

When we talk about extensive information we refer to any post that contains very complete information on a particular topic. These types of posts are much more extensive and profound. A extensive information post includes specific data and information that supports them as sources, case studies,  ests and / or statistical data.

An example of a query in a search engine that generates results with extensive information is:

How to make money online

For keywords like these a user expects to receive extensive information.

What do the Experts say about the length of a Post?

According to Marieke van de Rakt researcher and project manager at Yoast a post must have a minimum of 300 words to rank in a search engine; However, the longer posts are better ranked because they give a better idea to search engines like Google about what the text on the post is about. (Ref .: https://yoast.com/blog-post-length/ ).

In a article by Mike Sall, the data analyzed by the company Medium showed that the average reading time of their post is 7 minutes, at a rate of 300 words per minute, the ideal length of a post is 2100 words. (Ref .: https://medium.com/data-lab/the-optimal-post-is-7-minutes-74b9f41509b )

What is the ideal length of a blog post?

It is difficult to establish an ideal length or word count ; However, we can conclude the following based on the experience and data analyzed by experts in the subject:

  • 300 to 1000 words: The minimum length for a post should be 300 words. With 300 words, a search engine can determine what the content is about and a reader can get specific information about a topic.
  • 750-1500 words: The length of a post that is intended to be distributed on social media must be accompanied by a great title and content entertaining and controversial.
  • 1000 to 2500 words: Larger articles provide more information to searchers about what a topic is about and are ranked higher in search engines.

Blog Post Length Conclusion

Yes, the length of a post is important because it indicates to the reader the expertise of the author on the topic, However, we should not ignore variables such as the distribution channels of the article, the type of information (concrete data, broad information, entertainment, etc.) and what is the purpose of the article (get shares, get subscriptions or sell a product)

From your experience, how many words in a post have you found works for you and your niche.? Let me know in the comments below.