Blog Post Length

What the optimal blog post word count should be in order to make the most of SEO is something of a thorny problem. Probably best that can be said is what it shouldn’t be: under three hundred words.

Actually, some sources say two hundred and fifty words, but let’s play safe and err on the high side. And erring on the high side is probably the best practice all round.

According to Google, they don’t take word count into consideration in their algorithm when it comes to determining your page rank. You have to have a minimum to be regarded as a credible article, and in attempting to signal that what is being written is credible, article writers have become more and more…well, verbose, to be frank.

Some articles definitely demand 2,000 to 4,000 words or more, and I’ve written many articles in that range on my other blogs. If I’m enjoying writing, and the subject requires it, then I find it easy to pump out these sorts of “novellas.”

Problem is, because analysis of some of the top ranking articles reveals word counts in the 1,500+ range, and with some sources stating the average is 2,200 to 2,500, with word count expected to increase in 2017 (of such articles), you can find yourself reading an initially interesting article, that soon descends into boring fluff in order to make the experts recommendation of SEO-inspired word count.

But as Google said, it’s not just word count that ranks an article.

The term “quality content” is often bandied about too, but this isn’t something Google can directly ascertain from scanning the text of a blog post; the algorithm is good but it’s not a human reader that can determine anything that subjective! Instead Google is looking for cues. It can scan for keyword stuffing, simple grammar and verb usage etc., but it can’t give a ranking based on how informative it thinks your article was on how to make a chicken curry. For that, Google is looking for clues such as length of time spent on the page, if it’s shared and commented on.

The longer people spend on the page, indicates that they did so in order to finish reading the article. If it’s linked then that suggests the information is worth sharing. Comments show engagement, and subject interest.

None of the above can be guaranteed by producing longer articles: longer isn’t necessarily better.

You can write 4,000 words or more, but that can put readers off. If you’ve just fluffed it out to that length then Google will have some idea of the expected read time based on the word count and will recognise that a page duration of two minutes isn’t sufficient to read the entire article.

What will make readers stick around to the end, is that they were enjoying the reading experience. This is a bit harder to provide a tick list on how to achieve. SEO tick lists are easy, literary ones, not so much.

So, with that in mind, I say write just enough as is needed, and don’t try and pad your articles to meet some arbitrary word count that you’re hoping will please the great god Google into rewarding it with a heavenly listing on page one.

I know of some very popular blogs reporting more than a million hits per month and the average article size is 500 to 750 words! Some are much longer, but a very great number are around that mark. That’s probably because the authors of these blogs post every single day – and they don’t outsource the writing – so writing posts three or four times that size regularly wouldn’t leave them much time to do anything else.

So, to go with other indicators, note these sites also have a great deal of content – and the more content the better.

From what I’ve seen, I’d say sacrificing article size for more articles, is the better strategy, providing you’re still writing articles that people want to read, and add that elusive quality of “value.”

To follow my own advice then, I’m going to boldly end this post with a word count of just under 700 words!

I don’t think it required more.

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