How Long Should a Blog Post Be for SEO? A Framework for Success in 2024

Sue Davison

May 13, 2024

How Long Should a Blog Post Be for SEO? A Framework for Success in 2024

Marketers love to get hung up on the topic of how long a blog post should be for SEO. The truth is, there are other things to be more concerned about – quality and relevance will have far more bearing on how your article ranks than hitting a specific word count. But, of course, the story doesn't end there. 

This article presents a framework for considering article length in relation to other factors that will influence the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. It takes into account recent research and industry trends, our experience as an agency and the experience of the most important people of all – your target audience. 

What does the research say about optimal blog lengths for SEO?

Ideal blog word count trends have changed over time and will continue to do so. According to research by Orbit Media, the average blog article is 77% longer than it was ten years ago. But why?  

Average Blog Post Length 2014-2023

The race to the top of Google has become increasingly difficult, with more and more businesses jostling to rank organically on page one of SERPs. Savvy marketers began writing longer, more in-depth articles to stand out as the best source of information. This suited the nature of online reading—headers, subheads, and bullet points make for easy scanning. Search engine algorithms tuned in to this consumer trend and began rewarding longer posts. For a long time, this worked, and industry-leading names such as Hubspot, Neil Patel and SemRush published compelling data confirming that long-form posts of 2000 - 3000 words generally performed better in SERPs than shorter-form pieces.

The trend for long-form blog content is shifting

From a reader's perspective, the optimal word count for blog posts is again on the move. In some ways, this was inevitable. The black hatters that once stuffed blog posts with keywords are now writing long, poor-quality articles designed to short-circuit search engine algorithms. Many use AI to do this; others use content mills and junior content writers who either don't know any better or don't care about quality. 

People are tired of being served long, bad blog articles, and Google has responded. In 2022, the leading search engine introduced its Helpful Content Update to "better ensure people see original, helpful content that leaves them feeling they've had a satisfying experience.". More recently, in its latest SEO Guide update, Google also explicitly stated that the length of the content alone doesn't matter for ranking purposes

Google Quote on the Length of Blog Content for SEO

But, the flood of substandard long-form blog posts is not the only reason online reading preferences are evolving. The "TikTok Effect" has had a huge impact, as has the advent of voice search. Today, consumers seek shorter articles that get to the point, answer their search query, and are easily digestible. Content marketers predict that the average blog post will drop to 1000 - 1500 words in the next few years. Watch this space for a Google algorithm update that reflects this. 

The danger of relying on SEO and content writing tools

We have noticed at FHC that many in-house marketing teams and content writing agencies have developed an over-reliance on AI-based tools to tell them how long a blog post should be and what it should contain. In most cases, this results in low-quality, unoriginal, and repetitive posts that are overly concerned with keyword semantics at the expense of the reader experience.

AI content writing tools can certainly be useful to help plan and shape a blog post, but it takes human judgement to craft an article that is informative, factually correct and a good read. A 90+% content score in SurferSEO doesn't necessarily translate into a high-quality blog post from the reader's perspective.  

Optimal blog post length by industry

Unsurprisingly, research shows that the average blog word count varies between industries. According to Neil Patel's recent observations, most industries favour mid-length posts, including retail, manufacturing, marketing, food, and travel. Tech, fashion and recruitment prefer shorter posts of under 1000 words, while industries such as healthcare, fintech, finance and sales that cover more complex topics are more likely to write posts of 2,000 words or more. 

Average Blog Post Length By Industry

Blog post length best practice for SEO

So, to sum up, if you want your blog posts to perform well in SERPs and satisfy your readers, it's time to stop getting in a twist about word count and instead focus on audience and topic-appropriate length articles. 

  1. Know your target audience – what level of detail do they want and need?

  2. Cover the topic fully – but stick to the point. Link out to additional resources that cover related points in detail rather than trying to cover them in one lengthy article.

  3. Focus on quality – your readers will thank you for it, and Google will reward your efforts. 

Need a hand creating SEO blog posts that your readers and search engines will love? Take a look at our blog writing and blog management services

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