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How Long Should a Blog Post Be for SEO in 2021?

By Tim Brown
Updated November 22, 2020
21 Comments

 
best blog length for seo 2021
Tim Brown
Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

Have this post read to you in a natural voice, so you can do other things:

In today’s post, I’m going to give you the best blog length for SEO in 2021.

But first, I’m going to give you 5 things more important than blog length for getting insane amounts of traffic.

In fact, I’ve used these exact strategies to get over 5,000 page-views every weekday to our blog at Hook Agency, and get our clients 400% + traffic year over year, consistently and like clockwork.

How do we do it? Read on – for what are ‘open secrets’ in the SEO industry. (Check out our Minneapolis SEO Services if you want us to apply all of these things for you.)

best blog length for seo 2021

More Important Than Length:

There are A LOT more ranking factors than blog length – here are 5 – and the data to prove it:

  1. The number of outside domains that are linking to your website matters way more than the length of your content Graph with statistics about backlinks and the number of referring domains. SEO Statistics and graphs
  2. Keywords in subheadings seriously impact ranking. ON Page SEO - Important Ranking factors. Graph / Statistics - SEO Ranking factors 2018
  3. Having a targeted-keyword in the first place is the number one most important thing you can do for your blog!  Fancy YouTubers and SEO pundits might say “just blog about what you care about” – but I’m sorry if no one is searching for that, it’s a waste of your TIME, and that’s sad.
  4. The blog that HOOKS the reader at the beginning wins in the long run – since “Time on Site” is something that Google actually factors into what they algorithmically show the next time. If people’ Bounce’ off your page quickly – then you’re more likely to be displayed lower in the results the next time. Later in this post, I’ll give you 3 ways to get people to stay longer on your site within their first minute of reading.
  5.  Yes – Human beings want shorter posts, so make it feel like it’s short – I get that. A poll we did recently found that – 68% of marketers are reporting that they believe 200-700 words is the ideal length for blog posts on THEIR SITE. The important point is that you can make posts feel shorter (but still give Google the length it loves) by putting bullet points, bigger paragraphs at the beginning, scannable headlines… and then have the post go on afterward. This way, you can achieve both the short and long post.What is the ideal length for a blog post 2020, statistics, poll, marketing graph
  6. Lastly, 1,760 words – 2,400 is the absolute ideal blog length for SEO in 2021 (using a blend of 5 expert opinions and this graph below)– but you don’t want to hear that, so blog away about how I’m wrong! 🙂 Also, keep reading for a dead-simple method to find the most ideal blog length for YOUR SITE. 

    Average content length for the top ten results - Most important ranking factors 2018

    The best blog length for SEO in 2021

    The best blog length for SEO in 2021 is 1,760-2,400 Words. According to numerous studies over the last ten years – Google’s algorithm prefers more content when going head to head on shorter content posts–helping blog posts with over a 1,000 words do better on average–and driving up the average significantly. At a minimum, blog posts should have 300+ words. Having more than 300 words keeps your blog from being considered ‘thin content’ on your website.

    Other’s Conclusions:

    Many other articles from reputable sources seem to indicate this level of effort is the new normal – here are 5 other conclusions for the best length for blog content (in the last couple years.)

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    1. Search Engine Journal – 1,900 Words
    2. WesFed – 1,600 Words
    3. Moz- Best length for SEO is BS
    4. Satish Gonesh – 1,000 – 1,500 Words
    5. Buffer – 1,600 Words

    How Long Should a Blog Post Be for SEO? The result of our original research in 2018 determined that the ideal blog post length was 1,200+ words. Medium.com had reported in 2013 that the ideal length of a blog post is 7 minutes or 1,600 words. In short, the ideal blog length depends on your situation.

    The Elements To A Perfect Blog Post

    1. Have a target keyword (use Ahrefs or SemRush to identify things people are searching – ideally try to find items with a low difficulty)
    2. Use an image or a video towards the top to snatch people’s attention.
    3. Use bold or bigger text towards the beginning, a provocative question, a hot take, or promise value to get them to continue reading. You have to hook the reader!
    4. Use bullet points, and boil the main points down into the headlines for scannability.
    5. Use the keyword at the beginning and end of the post, in subheadlines, and bolded – make it feel natural.
    6. Name-your-images-like-this.jpg with keywords, and use alt text with keywords and a description of the image.
    7. Support your key points with data and examples.
    8. Make sure to answer ‘shoulder questions’ too – not just the main question they asked.
    9. Use a short link (URL) like this one /blog-length/ so that someone could share on social or easily change devices.

    What’s the best blog length for YOUR site? – It Depends…

    I’m going to give you a dead-simple way to get YOUR best blog length in about 3 steps, in the next 10 minutes. I call this method the ‘Top Ten Average Method.’ It simply means taking the ten posts on your website that get the MOST traffic from search engines and determining their average length.

    As for our Top Ten Average Method, some might ask: “Why such a simple method?” Because I actually want people to use it! What good are fancy formulas that involve powerful tools – if most people don’t own those tools? Our longer method below uses Screaming Frog and walks you through a more specific option – but in a much more scientific and detailed way. Before diving into that, I’ve decided – it’s more important that you actually DO IT than have it perfect.

    But it really depends on your website – here’s how to do the calculation.

    When I did the ‘Top ten average method’ – this is what my formula looked like:

    33,192 – (125×10) = 31,942 / 10 = 3,194 words was our ideal blog length.

    1. First, find your top 10 posts in search by filtering analytics by ‘Organic search’

    Best Blog Length Checker - 2020 Best blog length

    2. Then take your top ten blog posts and determine their lengths using the Bulk web page word count checker.

    3. Determine the amount of content in your header, footer, and sidebar – for me, I got 125 words, so I subtracted that times ten (1,250) from the total of our top 10 blog post lengths combined (33,192).

    Top 10 Blog post lengths combined MINUS (Header, Footer, Sidebar length x 10) = Corrected Total Top 10 Blog post length DIVIDED BY 10 EQUALS your best blog post length for 2019 using the Top Ten Average Method.


    What did you come up with using this method? I’d love to add to this post using the responses of people that read it – if you don’t mind taking 1 minute after you get your result and dropping it in the comments below.

    If enough people respond, I can add some further content, rounding out some of this anecdotal research into a more in-depth piece of content.

    How to focus on quality rather than quantity

    The most important piece of blogging – if you’re just joining the blogging community or this SEO-focused subculture within the marketing community, is that you create content ‘of substance.’

    The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post

    What does creating content ‘of substance’ mean?

    • Try to introduce new concepts in each of the blog posts you put out – don’t just regurgitate facts that others have already shared. For instance, in this blog post, I came up with the ‘Top Ten Average Method’ because I knew it would be easy to remember, and perhaps it would make the concept of coming up with a website specific ‘best blog post length’ easier for the average person.
    • Think about what kind of media would enhance the content experience – There are a wide array of things that could help your reader digest the concepts you’re sharing: Videos, memes, gifs, diagrams, graphs, infographics, quizzes, and calculators are just a few of them!
    • Really consider what the intent of people searching for the thing you are writing about are looking for – and how can you fulfill their need. One time I wrote a guide about ‘Conversion Rate Optimization’ (the art of getting more visitors to do what you want on your website), and it got traffic for things related to ‘converting files/optimization’, and I dumbly started to modify the article to be a little better suited for that term by adding variations of the keyword that would get people to click – but the article didn’t fulfill that NEED. So people likely left quickly and didn’t have a good experience on the site. That is bad.

    Overall – you want to try to increase traffic on your site, for things that you are actually the best at, and can help people with – not just mindlessly increasing traffic for traffic’s sake.

    Getting to 1,760-2400 words – 5 ways to find additional points for your article:

    There are so many ways to increase word count, and yes – if you’re wondering, I’m feeling a bit of the pressure to make sure my article is as long as my ‘Top Ten Average’ – so that this becomes one of my top posts as well. 🙂

    But how does one do this without it feeling – forced or contrived?

    Enter – LSI Keywords to the rescue!

    LSI Keywords are other terms that are related to what you just wrote about and can allow you to answer adjacent questions, or speak on topics related to your main topic, thus helping people further on their search journey.

    Here are 5 ways to dig up these kinds of topics. 

    1. Look at what Google suggests when you search in their search box:

    Suggested searches as a way to beef up blog length

    Have you covered all of the angles that these ‘suggested searches’ might indicate people are looking for?

    Consider adding new elements to your post to cover some of these questions. For instance, by using this method in this article, I determined people might want to also know the best title length for blog articles because of the common query’ best SEO blog title length’… So I’ll answer that now, it’s UNDER 70 Characters – so that it doesn’t get cut off in search results. 

    2. Use the people also ask box for SEO

    How to use the people also ask box for SEO

    So now – in the ‘people also ask’ box, I see that people are asking ‘does blog help SEO‘ – and I can offer a couple words about that. The answer is YES! I’ve gone from 100-200 people on my website to 1000’s a day just because of blogging, and many of those people become clients!

    The concept here is that – you may not have thought of the questions people could be asking that are around what you just wrote about – so check out the ‘people also ask’ box for amazing, and ripe questions to offer answers to at the end of your post.

    3. Use ‘LSI Graph’ to increase the length of your blog post with useful content.

    After searching ‘best blog post length for SEO’ in LSI Graph, I got ‘blog post length best practices,’ ‘ideal blog post length, ‘optimal blog post length,’ ‘SEO content-length,’ ‘1000 word blog post,’ perfect blog post length,’ and ‘average news article length.’

    Although I might not always use these ‘LSI keywords’ to add items to the end of my blog post – I can get some context about some of the things people really want as far as content goes and perhaps identify additional angles. So, do you want the best practices? 🙂

     

    Use LSI Keywords to increase the length of your blog post - Best blog post length for 2019

    Blog post length – best practices for 2021

    1. Always do keyword research before starting your blog post. It’s a shame to spend a bunch of time on something no-one will read, and no-one wants to write 1,500+ words without confidence that it at least *is possible* it could get 100+ people reading it, and be long-term helpful for your ideal customers. Amazing tools for this include Ahrefs.com and SemRush.com.

    2. Always determine your ‘distribution strategy’ before starting a blog post. If your’ distribution strategy’ isn’t SEO – and is Facebook, LinkedIn ads, or any number of other methods – fine, but determine that before writing your epic blog post. That way, the promotion strategy and mindset can be built into the post from the very beginning.

    3. Average the length of your top ten blog posts – and make sure MOST of your effort goes towards blog posts of this length, rather than just churning out short blog posts for the sake of frequency. Why make articles no one will see in 2 years?

    Why not finding YOUR best blog length is a mistake

    ‘Time on site’ matters A LOT.

    So the fact you’re still with me – and the fact I put in the work to write an article that I wanted to be useful all the way to the end allows Google’s algorithm to see that this site serves up QUALITY CONTENT.

    That means – people that write 300 words… or people that write FLUFF for that matter, and don’t do original research, don’t include images, don’t make videos, don’t have ‘co-citations,’ or find supporting evidence for their articles – will generally see people jumping off their sites back to search results quickly. 

    The most important aspect of blogging in 2021 – determine your distribution strategy before each blog

    Even if the way you’re getting the blog post out there – is not SEO, you need to know how you’re going to get 100+ people to see this post. If you’re not lucky enough to have rabid fans that come back to your blog every day just to consume your content (very rare, anyway) – you need to either do keyword research and really have some solid keyword targets for the article… or you need to have an ad budget to promote the piece.

    Either way – we’re too far in the game, for you to think ‘if you write it – they will come,’ your choices are keyword research – or generally spending other money in some way shape or form to get people there. To me, getting really good at keyword research (or having us do it) is a massive opportunity for most marketers today. If you’re going to go deep on one skill in 2021 – my suggestion is keyword research.

    The magical ingredient? You need too fulfill keyword intent

    Why does long content work?

    Comprehensiveness.

    If you’re writing a lot – the likelihood you provide the information someone is looking for goes up. And that all comes down to identifying what the ‘keyword intent’ is for a particular keyword and fulfilling on that.

    Here’s how to do it in a short video:

     

    Other Frequently Asked Questions About Blog Length

    What is the average blog post length?

    The average blog post length is 1,050 words (Source: Orbit Media). Many folks feel like 500 is acceptable, 750+ is preferred, and 1,000 and above is minimum for many professional websites who take their publication very seriously. This, of course, is due partly to Google’s algorithm’s seeming preference for longer content.

    How short can blog posts be?

    Some experts say writing short posts can be really good for generating comments if you’re provocative with your questions or requests for discussion! 300-600 words may be acceptable in these circumstances, though most professional websites don’t accept anything beneath 750 words these days, because it doesn’t come off as comprehensive a lot of times. It really depends on the subject matter – if you have a listing of images, gifs, or memes, for instance, 300 could be plenty and still keep people engaged on the page long enough for SEO purposes.

    How long does it take to write each 500 words?

    A 500-word blog about a specific topic will most often take someone around 30-40 minutes. If you need to research, it may take longer.

    How many pages are each 500 words?

    One single-spaced, or two double spaced. 1000 words are on average two pages single-spaced, and 4 pages double-spaced. If you get how this breaks down into larger amounts of words/pages, you can break it down quickly for any project that requires a certain number of words or pages for an assignment.


     

    Watch this quick video to see how savvy businesses save time and hook better leads:
     

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    Tim Brown
    Tim Brown

    Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

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    Garry
    Garry
    2 years ago

    It’s true! Now the bias is on the user. Who is familiar with SEO, knows this as a “user factor”. For yourself (if you are planning to do site promotion), you need to highlight the main steps: If you are just starting to learn SEO, its basics and principles, you will not be bothered (I even highly recommend) to read the recommendations of the web masters from Google. After all, the main search engine (SS) that you are most likely to use is google. It will become familiar with the main SEO tools – in fact, there are not very… Read more »

    Shaurya Jain
    Shaurya Jain
    3 months ago

    Thanks Tim for posting such a useful article. For experienced SEO professional like me already know all of these tricks and tactics but it would a great help for newcomers  


    Jason
    Jason
    7 months ago

    This is a great article, but being over 5,000 words, it tends to invalidate the blog post length that it suggests is ideal. Great article though — it ranked No 1 for “Best Blog Length”

    Arqum Ali Khan
    Arqum Ali Khan
    7 months ago

    Such an amazing post. What I believe is the word is irrelevant if you convey your message in the most incorruptible manner.

    But at the same time, I do believe that the long-form content works better in search results as it covers many related aspects as well.

    I always head up to write succinct content. Succinct could well mean 1700 words or it could be 3200 words.

    Regarding the semantics, semantics are the modern keyword stuffing. No longer the old ways of stuffing keywords work as google have grown up and understood well.

    Jess Perna
    Jess Perna
    11 months ago

    Brilliantly written and clear advice. Thank you Tim! Do website pages also need to have as much text as blogs? I have both and since they are about art it is difficult to find enough words. I feel I am writing about what people are seeing and since art is supposed to be worth one thousand words it pretty difficutl to do.

    Jess Perna
    Jess Perna
    11 months ago
    Reply to  Tim Brown

    Thanks. Once again well thought out and clearly explained.

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