As more businesses get wise to SEO and content marketing best practices, they’ve raised an important question: “What is the average length of a high-producing blog post?”
Many would say this question misses the point. “As long as it needs to be to cover the topic” is how they might retort. And while technically true, it’s not the most helpful answer.
The ideal length of a blog post is anywhere between 750 to 5,000 words. That’s the quick answer, but you can already tell by that massive range that the topic deserves a much deeper look.
This blog post will explore the average blog post length in 2023 and how you can stay competitive with your blog content.
We will also discuss why it is important for eCommerce store owners to focus on creating high-quality content that is both informative and engaging, and how this often — but not always — leads to longer content.
What’s so important about blog post length?
To understand the importance of blog post length, we first need to understand what is important about a blog post itself.
Many factors contribute to the effectiveness of a blog post, including the topic, the tone, the level of detail, and the length.
No one answer fits all businesses when it comes to length. The length of a blog post will vary depending on the industry, the target audience, and the business’s goals.
However, there are a few reasons why longer blog posts tend to be more effective than shorter ones.
Google tends to favor long-form posts for a multitude of reasons
First of all, the data is clear when it comes to online content: longer posts tend to rank better in search engines.
Remember, Google’s whole goal is to serve searchers with the content that’s most likely to satisfy their search intent. If your post covers a particular topic more exhaustively than all your competitors, Google is incentivized to bump your post higher than the rest.
But don’t think this gives you license to stuff your content full of fluff until you hit some arbitrary word count. The reason these posts do so well is what Google calls content depth.
In simple terms, it’s exhaustively covering a topic such that users don’t need to go anywhere else to get the answers they’re looking for. You are the one-stop-shop for everything they need on that particular subject.
Also, posts that cover a topic more exhaustively naturally tend to rank for more keywords in Google. Therefore, a single, monolithic post on a subject could rank for dozens or hundreds of search queries.
Long-form content can help lower CAC
Blog content is expensive to produce, edit, publish, and maintain. Suppose you can generate the same amount of traffic in one single, comprehensive post as you would in five smaller posts. In that case, this will result in significantly less marketing spend and a lower customer acquisition cost (CAC).
Plus, keeping a single post updated throughout the years takes fewer resources than keeping a half dozen updated.
Great long-form content keeps users engaged for more time
It’s much easier said than done, but if you can write long-form content that’s consistently engaging, your users will stay on the page longer.
The business advantage of this is more opportunities to present calls-to-action to them throughout the piece and a higher likelihood that they’ll engage with your other content.
Longer content tends to get shared more on social media
A few years back, it became very popular for brands to create “ultimate guide” posts. There are ultimate guides to everything under the sun — dog training, Facebook ads, playing the harp, or screen printing.
Why? Because they work. Due to their wide scope and thoroughness, these posts are high candidates for virality on social media.
Not only because of their comprehensiveness but because the more you cover a particular topic, the more people you’ll appeal to.
How long should my blog posts be to compete with the top players in my industry?
When it comes to blog post length, there is no one answer that fits all businesses. OkDork and BuzzSumo say it’s good to produce blog posts that are at least 2,000 words long, as they are more likely to go viral.
This will allow you to go into more detail about your products and services and provide valuable information to your readers.
In addition, they say that even longer posts (3,000 to 10,000 words) perform exceptionally well and get more shares.
In contrast, Moz and BuzzSumo teamed up to research content length and recommended that business owners should try to write a minimum of 1,000 words, saying that, on average, 85 percent of the content you find online is less than that.
So, if you surpass that number, the team reasoned that your content would probably do well on social platforms and search engines. However, the team went on to say that the effects start to wane when content goes over 2,000 words.
CoSchedule did a similar study and found that articles that were the most shared and had a top Google ranking had a length of 4,066 on average. Their findings agreed with OkDork’s and BuzzSumo’s when it came to recommending that a post should be a minimum of 2,000 words.
The researchers at CoSchedule added that the length of the post is not the only deciding factor and that quality and relevance matter, especially when it comes to social sharing.
Also, if you are going by how long content should take to read, Medium says seven minutes is the sweet spot to hit.
While these stats are interesting and probably helpful, they can’t possibly account for the massive scope of what could be included in a blog post.
For example, say you’re running an eCommerce store in the pet niche. If someone were to Google “how long do pugs live?”, they’re probably not interested in a 2,000-word dissertation on the history of pugs, pug breeding, or pug diets.
They simply want a quick answer to their question, and Google will reward the posts that offer the best, simplest, and most comprehensive solution.
However, say someone Googles “guide to owning pugs.” In that case, you better dust off Google Docs, get your research hat ready, and start typing, because that’s a perfect candidate for a massive, 3,000-word ultimate guide on pugs.
Each keyword or blog topic demands a length that best solves your audience’s problem (we’ll get into specifics later in this post). But you don’t have to pull these numbers out of a hat — you can steal the ideal word count from your competition.
Just Google the topic of your blog post, and study the top ten results on the search engine results page (SERP). Find the average word count of each of these, and shoot for around 10% more than the average for extra depth.
How can I break up my long blog posts to make them more readable?
Long blog posts are always at risk of falling into “wall of text” syndrome. Apologies to your middle school English teacher, but writing content for the web means you need to throw away all “conventional” formatting wisdom.
Paragraphs should contain two or three sentences, and each should be separated by a line break. After several paragraphs, aim to break up the content with interstitial elements like CTAs, images, graphs, or tables.
Just to show that we practice what we preach, here are some more helpful ways to break up your content (formatted in a numbered list, of course):
- Use subheadings and lists. This works especially well in long blog posts since it helps organize your thoughts and makes it easier for readers’ eyes to blaze through your content.
- Add enough white space or spacers in between headings.
- Use high-quality images with alt text and videos to break up the text and help keep readers engaged.
- Add quotes from industry experts to help illustrate your points.
- Add testimonials from customers in different styled text.
- Add in bolding and italics when appropriate.
- Add whimsical emojis if they match your brand voice.
- Use site styling to break up text (e.g., varying colors of boxes, gutter style bullet format instead of long-form, etc.).
Ideal blog post lengths for different blog post types
There are several different types of blog posts, and the ideal length for each type varies. Here are some guidelines:
Listicles are what websites like Buzzfeed and Bustle thrive on. They usually consist of a number of items presented in a list form (hence the name).
Listicles should be around 2,300-2,600 words, according to HubSpot. But again, this all depends on your industry and the subject at hand.
Pillar pages are kind of a new concept, but they’re SEO juggernauts. They’re like the big brother of blog posts and should be around 4,000 words (or more) to be of value.
They go incredibly in-depth on a topic and are often cited by journalists or bloggers as references. In addition, they form the foundation or top-level on which topic clusters are built.
Pillar pages are often formatted well beyond the bounds of a typical blog post with custom graphics, a table of contents, and several forms of embedded media.
It’s not uncommon for a single pillar page to be responsible for 40-60% of all organic blog traffic. For an example of this, check out Typeform’s monstrous pillar page all about customer success.
How to’s or DIY posts
How-to’s and DIYs are extremely popular types of blog posts because they help the user achieve a desired outcome.
Most of them clock in around 1,700 and 2,100 words but can go a little higher, depending on the difficulty of what you are explaining. Make sure you mark up your post with structured data to explicitly tell Google your post is a how-to. This also increases your chances of appearing in Google’s Rich Results!
Product reviews generally run anywhere from 1,000 – 2,000 words. Remember, the longer people are on your page, the more opportunities you have to present CTAs to them. And if you’re writing product reviews, you’re likely doing so for affiliate sales. A deeper, more comprehensive review may lead to more time on the page, which means more opportunities to click-through and purchase and more revenue.
Are there tools that help determine the right word count amount?
There are a few tools that you can use to help you determine an optimal word count for your blog post. One of them is Surfer SEO, a software platform that can generate content plans for your domain.
Surfer helps you write high-quality and SEO-friendly content that will achieve high positions in Google. In addition, its content editor will also tell you what the word count should be for your keyword in the title. It also suggests the top keywords your competitors are using.
However, you don’t need fancy software to determine your ideal blog post length. Just utilize the above strategy of studying your competition and using a free tool like this to find and average out the word counts of the top 10 pages.
Remember — if Google is ranking them, they’re doing something right.
More traffic is good — but are you prepared for it?
If you diligently follow these best practices and create in-depth, high-quality content, the traffic will certainly come. As your site grows, your business will scale up along with it. Now, it’s time to work on what’s next.
If you’re a product-based eCommerce business, you’ll need scalable systems to help you keep up with demand.
That’s why we created Linnworks and SkuVault Core, to help you manage your inventory and fulfill orders quickly and easily. With the help of the tools from Linnworks, you’ll be able to keep your eCommerce store running smoothly while you focus on creating great content.
If you’d like to learn more about how the experts at Linnworks can help you streamline your business, you can reach out to us to schedule a demo or get in touch.