In the world of blogging, you can never have too many questions. Like:
- What topics should I write about?
- Where should I publish my posts?
- How can I attract more readers?
By asking these questions, you give yourself the opportunity to grow and improve. However, there’s one question that you must always answer upon writing a new piece.
How long should a blog post be?
For new bloggers, it may not sound too important. But for those with experience, it could mean the difference between a successful article or just another forgettable, run-of-the-mill post.
You see, the quality of writing that goes into a post is only one factor that determines its value to your audience. Even if you’re the most talented writer in the world, you can’t let a single post drag on forever.
Allow me to share five crucial points that you need to consider when figuring out how many words should be in a blog post:
1. Do Your Research
It may be the most stereotypical advice in every branch of marketing, but it’s also vital when it comes to determining a post’s ideal length.
Put simply, the length of a post depends on a number of variables that require some research.
Let’s start with your target keywords.
Keep in mind that in content marketing, articles are tailored to keywords — not the other way around. This means the target keyword also determines the topic, writing style, and the post’s length.
Long Tail Pro is perhaps one of the best keyword research tools out there for content development. It works by expanding a seed keyword to generate hundreds of long-tail keyword ideas.
To start your keyword research with Long Tail Pro, create a new project and fill in your seed keyword.
Let’s say you want to write a post about email marketing. Simply enter your seed keyword, click “Retrieve,” and watch the tool do its work.From there, you should be able to come up with a handful of useful keyword ideas. Just remember to balance the keyword’s level of competitiveness and the monthly search volume.
As a tip, a keyword competitiveness or “KC” level of 30 or less is a perfect target for small businesses, especially if it has a decent amount of monthly searches.
If the average KC exceeds 30, then that keyword is a bit more competitive — not to say that you can’t rank for the keyword, just that it may take more time, money, & energy to do so.2. Check the Competition
If you’d rather skip the number-crunching and directly observe what your top competitors are doing, then you can use Long Tail Pro’s “Competitor Keyword Suggestions” feature which is available in our Agency Plan. It works by scraping off keyword ideas using a competitor’s domain URL.
For the sake of this guide, let’s say your top competitor is big ol’ Neil Patel himself — who is known to produce epic posts with thousands of words each.
All you need to do is enter the URL into the “Page or Domain” field and click the “Retrieve” button.After a few seconds, you should be able to figure out the most profitable keyword ideas for your next post. Since we used Neil Patel’s blog as an example, you can find a couple of interesting topics to cover:Moving forward, you can also view the actual post itself to determine how many words are needed to do well with that particular keyword. A smart way to do this is to perform a search on Google with the “inurl” operator.
For example, by using the keyword “get followers on Instagram,” you can search for the following:From there, check out the top results and manually measure the word count. Just copy and paste the entire post into a word processing tool like Google Docs to view its word count.
Another effective way of checking the competition is to do a search of your keyword in Google and pull the top 3 organic search results.From there you would analyze the word count and topics covered in these posts to determine how long you wanted your post to be.
The first 2 results are paid (as donated by the ad logo in front of the url), so you wouldn’t count those. You want to analyze the first 3 organic results that are written content, since you’ll be writing a blog post.
3. Create Your Estimate
When determining how many words a blog post should be, you can’t undermine the importance of your own estimations.
Once you have a suitable topic that balances search volume with keyword competitiveness, you can estimate the number of words needed to convey your message.
For example, an in-depth guide to on-page optimization may require around 1,500 to 2,000 words to cover the topic — depending on how detailed you want your post to be, of course.
A post about scheduling a post on WordPress, on the other hand, may require no more than 500 words.
It all boils down to the keyword, the topic, and the outline you chose earlier. However, as a rule of thumb, your content should be at least 300 words long to avoid being flagged as “thin” content.
4. Create an Outline
Another strategy you can use to estimate the best blog post length is to create an outline for the entire post.
Suppose you want to create a guide to creating a lead generation campaign. Here’s what your outline can look like:
- Intro (100-150 words + in-post image)
- Keyword Research (150-200 words)
- Creating Landing Pages (150-200 words)
- Developing an Opt-In Bribe (150-200 words)
- A/B Testing (150-200 words)
- Tools for the job (200-300 words)
- Conclusion (50 words)
Remember that the main purpose of creating an outline is to ensure the flow, structure, and word count consistency between each section. Adequate placement of subheadings also make the post more digestible and skimmable in the eyes of readers.
Based on the example above, a post on creating a lead generation campaign can take anywhere between 950 and 1,300 words. This can be considered as the average length of a blog post in digital marketing websites and publications.
5. Go Longer if Possible
At this point, you should have a clear idea of how many words you should write for a particular post.
There’s just one more thing you need to know: When it comes to optimizing your articles for SEO, more words are usually better.
A Backlinko study revealed that the typical blog post length for the pages ranking first on Google’s SERPs have 1,890 words, which is more than attainable for those who can research and outline their posts properly.
Whatever you do, you should never cut corners when it comes to your content. If you want to write a 2,000-word post on a specific topic, make sure every single line adds to the reading experience and value that the audience will get.
If possible, throw in some visual content to keep your readers engaged. Memes, for example, are perfect if you’d like to add humor to your posts and increase its shareability.
Pumped to start writing? With the information above, you’d have a couple of points to benchmark on when writing stellar content for your next post.
Just remember that post length depends on a number of factors that need a closer look, such as your target keyword, topic, and the practices of your competitors.
If you are interested in conducting a comprehensive keyword and competitor research, you can take advantage of our zero-risk free trial here.