How long should your blog posts be in 2020?

Published Mar 18, 2020 | Written by Katie Hughes

New HubSpot data reveals the ideal blog post length for search engine optimisation (SEO) is 2,100-2,400 words.

I can almost hear you gasp.

Really? We should be writing blog posts of over 2,000 words?

Before we all panic, let’s backtrack just a moment.

The answer to how long your blog posts should be really isn’t as simple as that.

There are many variables to consider when deciding the best length for your blog posts. Like who your target audience is - and how long you need to successfully convey the information in a way that resonates with them.

But it is true that blog posts are getting longer.

Let’s take a look at the bigger picture.

How does the length of a blog post impact SEO?

Longer content typically leads to higher search rankings. That means a blog post of 1,500 words on a given subject is likely to rank higher in Google and other search engines than one of just 500 words.

But it’s not quite that simple. Search engines don’t decide how to rank a page purely based on its word count. The length of a blog post is correlated with higher search rankings, but it’s not the length per se that causes this trend.

Longer blog posts tend to be more comprehensive and informative than short content, which causes them to earn more backlinks. And backlinks are a significant factor in improving search rankings.

Longer content also correlates with longer dwell time. And Google’s Machine Learning algorithm, RankBrain, pays a lot of attention to how long someone spends on a page. The more time people spend on the page, the more authoritative Google remarks it to be and the higher it gets placed up the rankings.

What’s more, social media users value longer content. SEO guru Neil Patel examined his own posts and found that his longer ones received 68.1% more engagement on Twitter and 22.6% more on Facebook.

How long is the average blog post?

The average blog post is 1,236 words long, according to the latest research from Orbit Media Studios.

The Chicago-based web services company have been tracking blogging trends for the last six years, and have found the typical blog post length has risen steadily year on year. In 2014, the average blog post was 808 words long.

Their latest research also reveals an increase in people writing blog posts of more than 2,000 words and a decrease in people writing blogs of less than 500 words.

Crucially, those who write longer content are far more likely to report success. More than half of those who go big reported “strong results” from blogging.

Is there a minimum blog post length?

There is no official minimum length for a blog post. Most sources recommend at least 300 words. This is because studies have shown 300 words to be the minimum word count necessary for blog posts to rank in search engines.

But all the evidence seems to show that we should be aiming for longer blog posts as standard - though there can be exceptions to the rule.

If you’re mostly writing blog posts between 1,000 and 1,500 words you will help your website build authority amongst search engines, and the odd shorter blog post will still rank high.

Does it really matter?

With the internet awash with content all competing for attention, many companies struggle to cut through the noise and stand out from the crowd.

So if longer content tends to rank higher, shouldn’t we always be aiming to create longer blog posts to help us get found?

Not necessarily.

Long blog posts with upwards of 1,000-1,500 words are great for informative, thought-provoking pieces. But shorter posts of 700-800 words can be great for generating discussion.

Longer blog posts are also better for complex topics that may be difficult to understand, as users will be looking for more informative and detailed insights. While more generic topics that are easier to understand can often be better as shorter, snappier pieces.

The buyer personas you are writing for may also influence your blog length. Are they people that like to read lots and consume detailed inch-wide mile-deep type content? Or do they prefer to consume bigger picture, punchier content?

And remember, creating great content is just one piece of the puzzle. You need to think about how you’re going to promote it. Social media channels, influencer outreach, and even pay per click (PPC); so it gets found by people searching for it.

So what now?

As with many things in life, the key is to focus on quality over quantity. If you put too much emphasis on the average length of your blog posts you could end up overcomplicating a subject for your readers or going so far into the basics that it’s like teaching them to suck eggs.

Everything we know tells us that substance is important, but it’s not worth putting a 2,500-word blog post out there is if it’s repetitive or oversimplified.

To reassure you, we did a little digging into our own blog analytics. We identified the 10 blog posts with the most views in the last 30 days and the average word count was 1,197. The shortest was 769 words and the longest 2,086 words. That’s a huge range!

In practical terms, longer blog posts take longer to write. So if you or your team are currently writing blog posts in three to four hours and they are averaging between 700 and 1,000 words, then a longer blog post requiring more research and writing will need additional time. But it’s not about upping the word count per se, it’s about creating more valuable content for your audience.

If you are writing longer blog posts, be sure to include subheadings as they will become even more important for helping people to navigate and digest your content.

Here at Equinet, we aim for all of our blog posts to be at least 1,000 words. We’d recommend that as a baseline to aim for. Don’t be afraid to hold back if you pass 2,000. But equally, don’t make it your goal. And some topics will warrant shorter content, so don’t panic if you don’t always hit 1,000 words.

Ultimately, put your focus into creating the most helpful, engaging and optimised version of your content for your target audience as possible. If your audience appreciates your content, then it will be reflected in your website analytics.

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Published by Katie Hughes March 18, 2020
Katie Hughes