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How Long Should Your Blog Articles Be?

Unpopular opinion: I think people are overly concerned with word count when creating content.

You can produce a 10,000-word article. But if the content and quality suck, then the article doesn’t deserve to get ranked. You lose.

Of course, that doesn’t stop people from asking me: how long should a blog post be for SEO?

So, my team and I have done some digging. Whenever I enter a new industry, we conduct thorough research to find out everything we can about what makes for great content in that industry. Then, we begin to engage in content marketing while constantly looking at our data to see what moves the needle.

And guess what?

Shorter articles are ranking better than ever. That’s partly due to recent algorithm updates, but it’s also down to changes in the way we consume content (I’m looking at you, TikTok).

The ideal length also changes significantly between industries, so don’t trust articles that give you a single broad answer.

I certainly won’t. In this post, I’ll share the results of my research and provide an ideal word count for blog posts across a dozen industries.

Key Takeaways

The ideal length of blog articles has evolved significantly.

Two decades ago, the average length was between 500-800 words. By the mid-2010s, however, articles were in excess of 2,000 words.

The need for longer articles came for multiple reasons,  including the way readers scan articles online and the psychology of equating length with quality.

Today, more concise articles are in fashion. These aren’t quite as short as 800 words, but they are short enough to quickly answer the reader’s questions.

How Ideal Word Count Has Evolved

Ryan Velez, Sr. Content Production Lead at NP Digital, breaks down how word count has changed over time:

“Ideal blog length has always evolved over time. As a response to the wave of 750-word content, things expanded to be a lot more comprehensive, 2,500 words-plus. Now, with the wave of AI-generated content flooding the internet, word count doesn’t guarantee quality to the same degree. Combine that with the “TikTok Effect,” and ideal content size is smaller now and quicker to get to the point. Think 1,500 to 2,000 words.”

As content marketing became more popular and the SERPs became more competitive, articles started getting much more comprehensive. Add link-building techniques like SEO skyscraper into the mix, and it wasn’t uncommon for blog posts to exceed 3,000 words.

I’m not ashamed to say I was one of the thought leaders pushing for longer blog posts.

That’s because research cemented the idea that long blog posts mattered. In 2019, HubSpot found the ideal blog post length was between 2,100 and 2,400 words. In 2022, Semrush found articles with over 3,000 words got 138 percent more search traffic.

But I believe this trend is leveling out.

Orbit Media’s graph above shows the average word count has been holding steady for the past three years, and I actually expect it to fall in the future.

The rise of AI-generated content, SGE, and short-form media means people want fast, concise answers to their questions.

My bet? Google is going to start rewarding short-form content a lot more in the near future.

Long-Form vs. Short-Form Content

Here’s my take on why long-form content became so popular.

First of all, it covers a topic with a level of depth that’s simply impossible with a shorter post. Therefore, long-form creates a perception of higher quality.

Second, it’s perfect for scanning. See, most people don’t read content word for word. They simply scan the page in a lawn-mower pattern:

Headings, subheadings, bullet points, and other elements common in long-form content make this easy.

Third, I feel like creating content with a high word count leaves the author with a sense of achievement that doesn’t come when writing 500-word articles. I think all the research I’ve mentioned above has left marketers feeling like they need to create long-form content to get traction in the SERPs.

But times are changing. Users are falling in love with short-form content. It’s part of the reason U.S. adults spend almost one hour per day on TikTok.

Even 60 percent of business videos are less than two minutes long.

Couple these statistics with the fact that half of adults believe attention spans are getting shorter, and it’s not hard to see why consumers are placing greater emphasis and trust on concise articles that quickly answer their questions.

Ideal Word Count for Blog Posts

Ideal blog length can vary massively between industries for a variety of reasons, from the topics they cover to the target audiences they serve.

Let’s dive into the different options for blog length and how they perform:

Short-Form: Less than 1,000 Words

You’re going to start seeing a lot more blog posts this length very soon.

Posts of less than 1,000 words are already common in several industries — which I’ll discuss below — and shorter posts will become even more popular as customers across industries demand quick and to-the-point content.

Anyone who reads tech websites will be familiar with this kind of concise post. Much of the top tech blogs are news sites, which lend themselves to AMP-loading content and easy-to-digest blurbs.

If you look at most of the content on TechCrunch, you’ll notice that most of the articles are not long-winded manifestos.

They are fairly short commentaries on a product, technology development, or event.

Fashion is another industry where short posts are in vogue. Fashion readers don’t care about the why so much as the what.

You aren’t going to find many articles describing the history of a trend or a review of how garments are made. What you are going to find is thousands of articles explaining which looks are hot and how to recreate them.

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