If you want to blog and actually be successful at it, to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor, which to most people means being able to make money, then you don’t just go out there and start writing a bunch of stuff with no direction and no idea what you are doing.
You need to know it works so that you don’t end up wasting hours upon hours of your life with little to no progress made.
And this brings me to the age-old question… How many words should a blog post have? This is a particularly important question if you are looking to rank in the search engines like Google and enjoy free traffic coming into your website, which is going to be the focus of this post here today.
So how many words should your posts be?
Well… Unfortunately the answer isn’t as straightforward as we would like it to be, and there is a lot of confusion associated around this question… As well as some misinformation as well.
Before I get into what I would suggest for all of the bloggers out there looking to turn their blog into a success, let’s first go over what we know does NOT work…
What We Know Doesn’t Work
What doesn’t work is writing a bunch of short really crappy posts trying to target as many keywords as possible.
Gone are the days where you could rank a ton of keywords with a short 200 or so word post. Sure, maybe you can still rank for crappy posts like this with very uncompetitive keywords, but for any decent keyword out there this is out of the question for the most part, especially if you are a small blogger whose website doesn’t have much authority in the SERPs (search engine results pages). And since you are reading my post here today, I’m guessing that you probably are not the owner of some massive authoritative website.
Google is all about providing the best user experience possible, so they want their algorithm to sort through the masses of information out there in choose what will best serve the user’s search entry.
Back in the early days of the Internet search results could be easily manipulated and you could rank incredibly easily for keywords with little work on your part. However, with massively increased competition and the Google algorithm just getting better and better, this isn’t even worth considering anymore.
Is longer really better?
When it comes to length there are mixed opinions, some will say yes and I agree a lot of the time, but I also have disagreements on this as well.
If I had to give a yes or no answer to the question of whether or not longer is better, I would say yes. However, there are times when I don’t think this is best.
Just think about it for a second… Google is all about providing users with what they are looking for when using their search engine, and I for one know that when I am searching on Google I am not always looking for some massive 5000 word article that I have to pick through to find what I’m looking for.
However, that said, Google definitely does seem to be in favor of longer, more packed content than they ever have been. And the favoring more and more on longer content, there seems to be less favoring of “longtail keywords”, which are basically long and very specific keywords.
Take this for example…
Below you can see a screenshot were a typed into Google “is oatmeal good for constipation”…
And as you can see the first result that came up is titled “6 foods to help fight constipation”.
The title doesn’t even have the darn word oatmeal and it! Yet it is still the number one result on the first page of Google when I type this in.
And what you may also notice about the article was that it is that of longer content. You can tell just by looking at the title because it is obviously going to be a list of 6 different foods along with information on each, about how they can of course help fight constipation for you.
There our some top-level bloggers out there that every post they write as at least 3000 words and it, which may be enough to scare you away from even thinking about wanting to be a blogger anymore. However, you definitely don’t have to be writing 3000 word articles.
As mentioned, Google is always trying to make their algorithm better so that users are more pleased with their search results. In this sure as heck doesn’t mean the longer the better, although often times it is.
It all depends
While I can’t give you any straightforward answer to the age-old question, because I simply do not know the answer for myself, as a general rule of thumb I would say to shoot for at least 1000 words minimum, usually I try to go for at least 1500 words minimum however.
This seems to be the best advice I can give, as far as post length, based on my own experience and what I have read from SEO “experts”.
But again… This is just a very general rule of thumb and by no means does this mean that if you were to write every post longer that it will rank better than if it were shorter.
The Other Upside to Longer Content
Another upside to writing longer content is that you will be able to rank, not only potentially better in the search engines for the specific keyword you are targeting, but also for many more keywords.
The more words your post has, the more keywords you can potentially rank for, even ones that you have no idea about.
You Will Probably Regret Writing Short Crappy Posts… I Would Know..
If you go out and write a bunch of short crappy posts, you will more than likely regret it later on. I for one would know, because I used to do this.
On my site here I used to pump out multiple 750 word posts per day. And while I thought that my well oiled printing press of a website was going to skyrocket in traffic, things just didn’t turn out the way I had hoped.
The truth is I was pumping out as much content as possible and didn’t really care too much about the quality. And of course Google did not like this so I was not rewarded as I had planned.
The outcome of this all was a bunch of content that was pretty much worthless the end of that I had wasted a heck of a lot of time on.
This brings me to my next point, which is that quality might be more important than length, although this is definitely open to a lot more opinion and more hard for Google’s algorithm to rank based on.
Quality vs Length
I don’t know about you, but when search for information in Google I am not looking for a lot of “fluff”. Usually I am looking for information that is right to the point and that I don’t have to spend a lot of time reading.
I know a lot of other people out there like this as well and because of this, I see the future of Google favoring quality much more over length.
Sure, you can stuff a post up with a bunch of fluffery and get it to 3000 words… But are you really providing people searching online with the best information possible? No you aren’t.
It is in all about length, but rather is about how you use the length of your post. You could have a 1000 word post that is complete crap or you could have a 1000 word posts that is jammed packed with awesome information that readers are going to love.
Good quality posts are going to bring about more social shares, more backlinks, more comments etc.… All of which are important ranking metrics that we know Google uses.
So don’t get some number stuck in your head that needs to be met for every single post you write. If you don’t end up beating that word count at the end, don’t just go out and just fill it up with a bunch of fluffery that doesn’t matter.
While I did give you some general roles of thumb, these are DEFINITELY NOT set in stone by any means. In fact, I’m at less than 1,500 words right now and I don’t give a shit because I think I provided some pretty good content here.