best article length for seo

This post is to answer a question I had looking at an article length for the best search engine ranking. There are many factors that go into the best article length for seo, but this article will focus on nailing down what exactly is best.

Page length is one ranking factor in search engines. It’s also a popular myth within the Search Engine Optimization industry that page length has been proven to directly affect rankings. This article will dive deep into the correlation between page length and rankings.

Too short, and people won’t read it. Too long, and they’ll get bored. It’s a romantic notion that every reader has the time and will to read every word you write. They don’t: they have other things to do, and you need to respect that. If you make it easy for them – telling your story in a captivating and engaging way – they’ll spend their precious time with you, returning to your content time and time again.

Best Article Length for seo

And most of the time, you’ll hear an answer that sounds something like this: “However long it needs to be.”

There’s certainly a nugget of truth in there — you shouldn’t beholden yourself to a character count that’s either too low or too high. However, any experienced blogger will tell you that there is an ideal length or range for how long your blog posts should be, especially when you take certain criteria into account like your audience, the topic, the structure of the post, and what your main promotional channel is.

We’ve published thousands of blog posts here at HubSpot, and we analyzed our top-performing ones to see how blog post length impacts success in all of these areas.

Read on to see how long your blog posts should be in 2020.

→ Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post Templates
Ideal Blog Post Length for SEO 2021
For SEO, the ideal blog post length should be 2,100-2,400 words, according to HubSpot data. We averaged the length of our 50 most-read blog posts in 2019, which yielded an average word count of 2,330. Individual blog post lengths ranged from 333 to 5,581 words, with a median length of 2,164 words.

But before you go writing your 2,300 word blog post, keep in mind that not all blog posts need to be super long — in fact, 16 of our top 50 read posts (or about one-third) were under 1,500 words, so there’s still plenty of opportunity to get your posts ranking even with a lower word count.

This can be accomplished by following SEO best practices, including:

Proper backlinking.
Attempting to capture Google’s featured snippet.
Adding alt-text.
Going after the right keywords.
Achieving domain and topic authority.
Incorporating media-rich content in your post body (videos, social media embeds, etc.).
For an overview of everything that goes into getting a blog post to rank on Google outside of word length, check out this blog post.

Ideal Blog Post Length for Lead Generation
Unfortunately, there’s often a disconnect between the posts that generate traffic and those that generate leads or new contacts for your business.

Typically, posts that get more traffic do so because they’re searched for by a wider audience, which sometimes means the topic you’ve written about is more generic and doesn’t align closely with your business.

To speak to this gap, we looked at the 50 posts that brought in the most net new leads for HubSpot in 2019 to see if there was a difference in average length, and to see if writers should adjust post length for posts written to generate leads.

Spoiler alert: there was, and they should.

Based on HubSpot’s data, the ideal length of a blog post intended to generate leads is 2,500 words. The 50 posts that generated the most leads in 2019 were an average of 2,569 words long and had a median length of 2,529 words, which is approximately 250 and 400 words longer than the average and median lengths of the most-read blog posts. The longest post in this cohort was 8,197 words, or approximately 2,500 words longer than the longest most-read post.

So, for a blog post intended to build your contact database, writing longer content definitely works in your favor. Longer content reinforces your knowledge and authority on a subject — particularly if it’s a keyword or a topic for a very specific audience. When your coverage is more in-depth for these ideas, you increase your chances of ranking better — and while your audience might be smaller, your chances of converting readers into leads are far greater.

Ideal Blog Post Lengths for Different Blog Post Types
We didn’t stop there: there are different types and formats of blog posts, so we wanted to see how blog post length impacted the performance of these different post structures.

You can use these six free blog post templates to build out the perfect length post for your subject for each of the blog types listed below.

blog post templates for google docs

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How long should pillar pages be?
Pillar pages should be around 4,000 words, since they are supposed to cover significantly more content than an average blog post.

A pillar page is your attempt at being the all-encompassing guide to any given subject available on the Internet as a blog post. These posts serve as the “pillar” to a cluster of blog posts, all of which relate to the topic explained in the pillar. You can learn more about pillar pages by watching the video below.

To arrive at the suggested 4,000 word blog post length, we averaged the lengths of our most-read pillar pages in 2019 and found an average of 4,048 words and a median length of 3,639 words. Word lengths for these pillar pages ranged from 2,137 to 10,939 words.

That amount of words might seem scary, but keep in mind how extensive the work that goes into pillar pages — and the content that they cover — should be. Pillar pages should take several days to write, cite multiple sources, and link out to all of your related blog posts on the subject. The work will pay off, however, and you’ll likely see more traffic to the pillar post and the supporting cluster content.

Need help getting started with writing pillar pages? Try using our free blog post templates for organizing and writing your pillar pages.

How long should listicles be?
Listicles, or list blog posts, should be 2,300-2,600 words.

List blog posts are probably the most approachable blog post format for new bloggers. Anyone can make a blog post just by listing off and explaining a few examples, tools, resources, or ideas for a given topic. When it comes to the length of these blog posts, it seems that the rule of thumb is: the more examples, the better.

HubSpot’s most-read listicles in 2019 were an average of 2,574 words and had a median length of 2,332 words. They ranged between 1,040 and 5,581 words in length. All of these numbers are either around the same or higher than the lengths for the average blog post, suggesting that list blog posts perform better when they are longer.

And if you think about it, this makes total sense. When you search for a list of ideas or examples, would you rather see a list of five or a list of fifty? This post format demands plenty of list entries — preferably with images, explanations, and links to their original sources — so put in the effort to build an authoritative and complete list for your readers.

You can use these free listicle blog post templates to get started writing your list posts today.

How long should “how-to” blog posts be?
How-to blog posts should be between 1,700 and 2,100 words.

Because how-to posts describe, well, how to do something, the ideal length of the blog post depends on how difficult it is to do what you’re explaining how to do. For example, this blog post on how to type the shrug emoji is just over 300 words, while this blog post on how to start a business contains more than 8,000.

For our top-read how-to blog posts, we saw an average length of 2,151 words and a median of 1,669 words. While this a rather large range, it shouldn’t be too surprising, since readers don’t need too much — or worse — too little information on how to accomplish their desired task.

Writing a how-to blog post for the first time? Remember that they should be concise and clear, contain section headers, and leave little or nothing to the imagination. Readers are coming to you for instruction, not inspiration, so ensure the post succinctly covers your chosen topic. You can also use this how-to blog post template if you need help organizing and writing the post.

How long should “what is” blog posts be?
“What is” posts, or blog posts that answer a question (such as the one you’re reading right now), should be between 1,300 and 1,700 words (which this one is!).

This type of post is definitely the poster child for making blog posts “as long as they need to be.” When readers search for what, who, or when something is, they typically want a quick answer or explanation. Based on our data, bogging readers down with too much unnecessary information doesn’t always equate to more views — 30% of the HubSpot’s most-read “what is” posts are less than 1,000 words.

If you need help structuring these posts and keeping them short, try using these blog post templates.

Minimum Blog Post Length
Technically, there is no official minimum for blog post length, though Yoast recommends at least 300 words. That said, HubSpot data suggests writing longer posts should be the rule rather than the exception for your blog. This practice will help your website build authority in the eyes of search engines, which can help shorter blog posts rank better.

“Generally, it’s easier for longer content to rank,” says Aja Frost, HubSpot’s Head of Content SEO. “But unless you’re publishing hundreds of [blog] pages with less than 100 words, you won’t get dinged for thin content.”

While longer blog posts tend to perform the best, that’s not to say that every single blog post you publish must be more than 2,000 words. If you feel you’ve covered your topic well enough in 300, 800, or 1,000 words, then so be it.

Getting Started With Your Blog Posts
Now that you know how long your blog posts should be, it’s time to start writing! We’ve compiled a list of resources you can start utilizing today to make your blog more successful.

A Guide on How to Start a Blog
A Blog Post on How to Write a Blog (Please forgive us for being so meta)
A Collection of Free Blog Post Templates [Download Now]
CMS Software to Host Your Blog Content
Marketing Analytics Software to Measure Blog Post Performance

In today’s post, I will give you the best blog length for SEO in 2022 😱

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

I’ve used these exact strategies to get over 2,500 page-views every weekday to our blog at Hook Agency, and help our clients double their traffic year over year, consistently and like clockwork.

YouTube video
Why did we do this research + write this comprehensive post? We serve contractors and home service companies with marketing + web design! Check out our blog posts about Plumbing Leads, Electrician Leads, Roofing Leads, HVAC Leads, Construction Leads, Remodeling Leads.

Table of Contents
MORE IMPORTANT THAN LENGTH:

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

The number of outside domains linked 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
Keywords in subheadings seriously impact ranking.ON Page SEO – Important Ranking factors. Graph / Statistics – SEO Ranking factors 2018
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.
The blog that HOOKS the reader at the beginning wins in the long run – since “Time on Site” is something that Google 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.
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
Lastly, 1,760 words – 2,400 is the absolute ideal blog length for SEO in 2022 (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 2022
The best blog length for SEO in 2022 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 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 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 of years.)

  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
Have a target keyword (use Ahrefs or SemRush to identify things people are searching – ideally try to find items with a low difficulty)
Use an image or a video towards the top to snatch people’s attention.
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!
Use bullet points, and boil the main points down into the headlines for scannability.
Use the keyword at the beginning and end of the post, in subheadlines, and bolded – make it feel natural.
Name-your-images-like-this.jpg with keywords, and use alt text with keywords and a description of the image.
Support your key points with data and examples.
Make sure to answer ‘shoulder questions’ too – not just the main question they asked.
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 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 DO IT than have it perfect.

Need SEO + Writing Services? Check out our Plumbing SEO, Electrician SEO, Remodeling SEO, and HVAC SEO services!

BUT IT 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

  1. Then, take your top ten blog posts and determine their lengths using the Bulk web page word count checker.
  2. 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 additional 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 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 isn’t good.
Overall, you want to increase traffic on your site for things that you are the best at and 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!

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LSI Keywords are other terms 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 2022

  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.

“If you aren’t on the first page of Google for your “money” keywords, you’re at a serious disadvantage.” – Sacramento SEO – Lockedown Design

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.

Want to have all of your writing + SEO done for you (or have us do your Google ad management?) Check out our Roofing SEO, Roofing PPC, Contractor SEO, and Contractor PPC Services to dominate Google.
THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF BLOGGING IN 2022 – 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 2022 – 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:

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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.

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