The common or garden blog post is a lot of websites’ bread and butter, not only do they present you with an opportunity to show off about your industry, but these types of articles can grab the attention of people by offering a definitive answer to a regularly searched question. As a Content and SEO Manchester agency we’re obsessed with long-form content – be it on a blog page or a key service page – and we recently got curious about how many words you need to write on an average blog post toward the back end of 2021, heading into 2022.
We work with plenty of B2B clients who will often ask us “How Long Should Blog Posts Be?” so we thought let’s put our money where our mouth is and put a definitive(ish) answer to this question.
How Long Blog Posts Should Be In 2022?
To calculate how long an average post should be we took the word counts from 50 of our most recent blog articles using a tool that calculates the number of words on a URL, we then took all those numbers, added them up, and divided them by 50 to get an average word count.
Our data told us that the perfect blog post length should be between 1600 and 1700 words, with the exact mean being 1656 words. Of the 50 blogs, the minimum word count was 899 words, the most comprehensive content came in at 2836 words.
Now, all this data needs to come with a caveat(!), any piece of content you write doesn’t have to be between 1600-1700 words. Of course, all blogs have different purposes and search intentions and all must be carefully thought through before you start writing them.
Google, Bing, and Yahoo et al aren’t just going to reward any old 1500 words, they’re going to offer high search engine rankings to high-quality content. To do that, it appears that a high blog post word count is needed but so are a bunch of other search principles, ask our SEO experts and they’ll tell you that! These include:
- Strong internal links to other relevant pages on your website and links to external websites that support your headline or sub-sections.
- Impeccable grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Lengthy blog posts are all well and gone but they need to be spelt correctly!
- Optimised images that have relevant titles and strong alt text.
- Optimise your content for the relevant keyword phrases that you’re targeting.
Why Create A Lot Of Content?
The short answer is “why not?” Seriously, why not? You’ve decided to write something that you hope will turn into a successful post and presumably bring you business, so why only do half a job? You’re much better off focusing your time on a lengthy post. Chiefly because this is your opportunity to showcase to Google and other search engines that you’re an authority and deserve to have ranking articles across relevant search engine results pages – shortened to SERP.
Long-form posts that meet the target word count of 1600/1700 words (or more, don’t be afraid to go higher than the recommended sweet spot) mean you can cover more, discuss more topics, answer more questions, in greater detail, that is being searched by your target audience. Whether it’s an industry study, in-depth guides, or a series of how-to blog posts, the top-ranking posts are long in nature and comprehensive.
It’s a well-known fact from an SEO perspective that there is a positive correlation between content length and organic search rankings. Thin content (the stuff between 75-300 words) just isn’t really liked by Google, this is because this kind of work has, in the past, been carried out by black-hat SEO people who spam that content with an awful link or three and do so at speed, not paying any attention to the UX (User experience).
By focusing your content strategy on something longer, you’re simply feeding the algorithm more awesome content that is allowing them to provide their users (i.e. your customer base) with more thorough answers and a better experience. Call me cynical, but offering a good experience is probably the only thing Google cares about so why not just supply that need with your content – it’s pretty simple when you think about blog content in this way.
As well as analysing our 50 most recent blog posts for an ideal blog post length in 2022, we’ve also carried out a wider word count study which further backed up our theory that the average piece of content should be thousands of words to rank well. Our study analysed over 24000 long(ish)-tail keywords and we found that to rank position one you need at least 2855 words – regardless of the type of post.
Further to this, going long means you can target longer tail keywords that relate to your main topic. By mopping up these smaller (in a search sense) keywords, you’re going to find yourself ranking for them, as well as your target phrase. Efficient content is that which features on lots of SERPs despite only being one thing. If you can create a huge piece of content you’re going to improve the efficiency of your online presence.
Checklist: What To Include In Long-form Posts
Having written a blog post or two in our time we like to think we know what goes into a successful piece of copy here at Embryo. So, to help you the next time you dip your ink in your quill (a.k.a. firing up your laptop and opening up Google Docs or WordPress) and write some longer-form content, have this checklist by your side and look at it from time to time. We’re pretty sure it’ll allow you to go to a greater level of depth and grab the attention of people.
- Low heading per paragraph ratio: This is one of the most obvious signs of lazy blog post writing and will be punished by Google. The term refers to a style of writing that features headlines – in the form of H2 or H3 tags – followed by a couple of sentences of content followed by another headline, etc etc. You’re not providing much information under that header and showing to Google that you haven’t really put much work into describing that subtopic or you don’t know anything about it and thus don’t deserve the organic traffic from the SERP. This is a rule of thumb but successful blogs will try to include 300-400(ish) words under each header. Or, group headers into one main header and have the content dispersed underneath it.
- Don’t over-optimise your titles: Your ideal word count target is all well and good but if it’s filled with your target keyword over and over again it’s going to look spammy and forced. Don’t worry, Google’s clever and will understand taxonomy and various ontologically relevant phrases to your target keyword. If every header has your target keyword in, you’re doing it wrong. Head over to thesaurus.com and find some synonyms for the keyword – it’ll look more natural and Google will appreciate the work you’ve put into it. For instance, if you’re writing a blog about SEO, you could include adjacent words such as “online marketing” or “long-form content”. By including this taxonomy you’re showing that you have a deep knowledge of this topic because you’re aware of related terms – this level of depth will keep attention spans and make you look like the expert you are.
- Link shingling: Internal links and external links in SEO writing are key to giving search platforms an idea of the context of your own website. And, when it comes to linking, you want to ensure the anchor text (the text that you’re using as the place to link a relevant page) is as descriptive and as relevant to the page it’s linking to as possible. Linking in this manner will leave no stone unturned and give Google no choice but to understand the make-up of your site. For example: If page A links to page C like so: “a great example of a flowery dress that is great for parties, or going out shopping at the weekend.” And, if page B links to C as follows: “one of our own favourite dresses that we have worn out to festivals and quick drinks on the town, too”, then page C – which has this page title: “Short Party Dress with Flower Pattern | Clothing” suddenly has the keywords ‘flowery’, ‘parties’, ‘dresses’, ‘festivals’, ‘drinks’, and ‘shopping’ all relating to it from just two(!) pages!
How To Write Website Articles That Exceed 1500+ Words
If you’re not a content executive or copywriter with a few years of experience in content marketing then the idea of writing a 1500 blog may seem incredibly daunting! Well, first off, don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal. Thankfully, there are a lot of different things you can do to ensure that, in no time at all, you’ll have 1500+ words written that are allegorically beautiful and full of ontologically relevant phrases. So, if you’re looking to write long-form blog articles, here’s a few things you can do to speed up the process while maintaining quality:
- Plan, plan, plan: To achieve the ideal blog post length you’re going to need to plan. Head to Ahrefs or SE Ranking and do a bit of rudimentary keyword research to find a target keyword that can be used in your H1 tag. If you’re using Ahrefs, you can also see the other relevant terms that you’ll want to intersperse throughout your content (remember us talking about taxonomy, well it’s this!). Then, get your heading structure in place, by doing this you’ll be able to break up the 1500-1600 word blog post into five or six 300-400 sections about different subtopics. All of a sudden the long-form blog post is just several small pieces!
- Write what comes to your mind: Starting off the cuff (after you’ve laid out your structure) can sometimes be the best thing to do. When you’re looking at a blinking cursor on your Google Doc it can be the most daunting thing in the world – ask content marketers, it happens to them too! To combat this, don’t feel like you have to start your awesome content at the beginning, begin by working on the section you feel most comfortable commenting on. That’ll get you into the swing of writing and you can always go back to the intro or conclusion when you feel confident too. You can always add in the strategic keywords before you go live.
- Use a content framework: This is by no means a hard and fast rule but selecting a content framework can help you contextualise and ground your topic into something material. Take your target keyword and funnel through titles such as:
- A Ridiculously Long list: This is where you take your topic and list out the facts, quotes, tools, or examples that feature in it. These lists can be 50, 75, 100+ points long.
- The Industry Study: Here you examine a sub-topic that relates to your keyword and offer your take.
- The Trademark Technique: If your blog’s topic is related to something that requires a process to complete it then you can create a piece that describes this. A step by step guide such as this can be as long as you want it to be.
- Crowdsourced Manual: Bypass writing your blog (almost) entirely and speak to your fellow industry experts to get their take on your topic.
- Awards Bait: Is someone out there doing something amazing within the topic that you’re looking to talk about? Then shout about that – it’s a great way to connect with them on social media and shows that you’re aware of the industry landscape.
Satisfied with how long blog posts should be?
We hope this blog has emphasised – via our very own data – the need to create helpful content that is thousands of words. As a content marketing agency in Manchester we can help you do all this and more, including PPC, paid social and digital PR campaigns. All you need to do is get in touch!