You might have heard the often-cited statistic that the average 1st-page result on Google has over 2,000 words. As a result, many content marketers have focused on “Definitive” and “Ultimate” guides to nearly all topics in an attempt to seize the number one spot on Google by sharing exhaustive content.
But, if you’ve ever read a “Definitive” guide, you likely walked away exhausted. These posts have multiple takeaways. As a result, you have a long list of action items. This actually causes inaction because you don’t know where to start.
Good news, it turns out that many blog posts perform well on Google with fewer than 2,000 words. These posts are digestible for your readers and less time-consuming to write.
How Long Should a Blog Post be in 2021?
Like many things in SEO, it depends. Target 800 — 1,200 words as a good standard. An 800 - 1,200 word blog post is:
- Long enough to cover a specific topic thoroughly.
- Short enough to write in 1-2 hours.
- Easy to read in 4-5 minutes.
Of course, there are times when you will write fewer than 800 or more than 1,200 words.
A how-to blog post is a great example. Some how-to guides are short because the task only includes a few steps with little nuance. Others will be longer as the task is more complex or lengthy. At these times, your goal isn’t a specific length, but rather getting the job done. If you find a how-to post is getting exceptionally long, look for ways to narrow your topic to make the task more specific.
What about Google and Blog Post Length?
There was a time in SEO when the length of a blog post made it stand out from the crowd. Google rewarded this long-form content and the weight of the word count of the post was dominant in the search results.
Then, everyone started writing massive posts and we were back to competing based on domain authority.
So what does a blogger do?
Focus on specific topics. Write more often.
Tackle a Topic from Multiple Angles
The best way to differentiate your blog is to tackle a topic from multiple angles. This post is a good example. I could have written, “The Definitive Guide to Blogging”. You can imagine that this would be a 5,000 - 8,000 word post because I’d need to cover so many different subtopics.
The post would be cast into a high-volume keyword space for keywords like “blogging” or “how to blog”. Turns out, that high-volume space is also highly competitive. Our site likely wouldn’t rank well.
Instead, I’ve broken blogging into a series of topics and written an 800 - 1,200 word post for each one.
- Does My Website Need a Blog?
- How Often Should You Blog?
- How To Think of Blog Post Ideas
- How To Create a Content Calendar
- How To Outsource Blogging
These smaller topics hit on more specific keywords like “should I blog” or “how often should I blog”. My site is perfectly apt to rank in this less competitive keyword space. As a result, our website receives more traffic than had I written a “definitive guide”.
If you haven’t already, start brainstorming blog topics with this concept in mind. Here’s how to think of blog post topics. Then, get writing!
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