Rethinking your word count: is there an ideal blog length?

Like a longer blog or rather keep things snappy?

Either way, your word count won’t directly impact the ranking.

Back in 2016, Brian Dean and Eric Van Buskirk analysed one million websites to discover the factors behind a high ranking page. They found that:

longer content tends to rank higher in Google’s search results. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.”

 

Since then, hitting the 2,000-word limit has been a hard and fast rule for many content writers. But in the world of search, things move fast. SEO is a constantly-evolving landscape – and it’s no longer the case that blogs with a certain word count will automatically rank higher.

 

Think links

When it comes to copy, insightful and user-centric content should always be your number one goal. But it isn’t the length or even the style of your copy that helps you rank; it’s all about the number of backlinks your blog receives.

It’s true that longer blogs typically receive more backlinks compared to shorter pieces. But that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically receive more backlinks if your blog has 2,000 or more words. A higher word count alone won’t encourage people to link back to your site.

If your blog is stuffed with irrelevant content, you won’t get those all-important links. Likewise, if your blog offers genuine value, credible sources are more likely to link back to it – even if it has little copy. It really is that simple.

 

Are you answering a question?

It always pays to think about your audience’s search intent before anything else. Let’s say you’re writing a blog about the best time to visit Japan. Your audience is probably searching for specific results about the weather for their trip.

A shorter blog with easy-to-digest information – like a comparison table of temperatures and relevant images – would offer more value than a lengthy 2,000-word account of your personal holiday. While some people might find the latter interesting, it’s not going to fulfil the search intent for the majority of your audience.

A high bounce rate could indicate you’re not answering your audience’s questions. And if that’s the case, your ranking could take a hit as a result – no matter what your word count is.

Don’t fluff it up

Google doesn’t like content fluff. If you’re just writing extra content for the sake of it, you could be actively hurting your chances of ranking.

When you’re bulking up your copy to hit a certain word count, you could run the risk of straying into irrelevant content. For example, if you’ve run out of things to say about visiting Japan, you might decide to talk about India to reach your word target.

This can confuse Google about the purpose of your blog. Instead of ranking your blog for the initial search query, Google may flip flop between ‘Japan’ and ‘India’ – with neither topic taking top spot.

Copy isn’t always king

Sometimes, things are best conveyed without words. Technical subject matter could be better understood with the help of some user-friendly infographics. Or a tricky recipe could be more easily explained by a step-by-step video.

Choose whichever method of content works best for your audience and subject matter. If your audience finds value in your content, the backlinks will follow – regardless of your word count.

So, what is the ideal blog length?

It shouldn’t be your goal to chase a specific word count. Cater your blog around your audience’s needs – if you accurately answer their query within a smaller word count, it doesn’t make sense to fluff out your blog with additional content.

Our only recommendation is to stick to at least 200 words on your important pages. Any less and you could run the risk of falling into the ‘thin content’ category. Aside from that, it’s best to put your reader’s experience ahead of anything else; and allow your word count to fall into place naturally.

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