If you’re preparing a content calendar or a brief for a new blog post, don’t forget to pay attention to the word count.
A mistake that many content creators make is choosing an arbitrary word count, like 600 or 1,000 words, and thinking it's enough for any topic or keyword. Or maybe they’re calculating word count based on the number of blog posts needed and the cost per word of their writers.
Unfortunately, if you’re using strategies like these, you could be setting your new blog up for failure even before it’s published. Like 90.63% of all new content, it could get zero search traffic from Google.
So how long should a blog post be? To answer this, we analyzed the best blogs in 2022 to find the optimum content length.
Why Does Word Count Affect Your Article’s Google Search Rankings?
Google can help get your brand's message in front of a worldwide audience for free. And the organic traffic they send to your website could last for years to come. But how do they distinguish high-quality content?
Their mission statement has some clues: To provide users with the most relevant, highest quality results based on their queries.
Put simply: Google wants you to give your target audience exactly what they want.
This includes giving them exactly the amount of information they’re looking for. So, when it comes to high-ranking content, one size does not fit all.
Take a look at the two keywords below. Which do you think has a longer average post length in the search results?
- Ways to shut down Windows 10
- PlayStation 5 review
If you chose the second keyword phrase, then you are correct! The Windows 10 articles have lower word counts because it takes much less content to comprehensively answer the user's search query.
Different Word Counts for Different Posts
The above example shows why using the same word count for two different articles can be dangerous. This is because How Tos and reviews are different types of blog posts.
Readers looking for a quick computer fix don’t expect to trawl through pages and pages of text. Prospective PS5 buyers, on the other hand, have a lot more to consider.
It’s important to distinguish between post types like this, as each will take a different number of words to give the reader what they’re looking for.
To avoid comparing apples to oranges, we incorporated these different article types into our study.
How We Conducted Our Study
We analyzed the top 10 blogs in five different niches.
We took the websites from the handy tables produced by Detailed.com. They track the best websites in 40 different niches every day. For each website, we measured the word count for the following types of content.
- “How To” articles
- General blog posts
"General blog posts" are all other blog posts, except news articles, which we excluded as they are frequently shorter and time-sensitive.
We focused on content that these blogs published over the last 12 months. We wanted to know what the top websites were producing now rather than five or 10 years ago.
The Top-Performing Average Blog Post Lengths (by Niche)
Here are the average word counts by article type across the five different blog niches.
So, what are the key takeaways from this data?
- The average post length for the most successful blogs is between 2,566 and 2,736 words.
- The finance niche has the longest average blog length at 3,220 words.
- The tech niche has shorter blog articles with an average of 1,803 words.
- How To blog posts vary in content length the most.
- Reviews varied in length the least.
- Long-form content is much more successful than shorter articles
What’s the Best Word Count for a Tech Article?
Our results show the word count for tech blogs is lower than all other niches. This is because tech blogs commonly use other on-page assets such as screenshots, gifs, and videos. For example, this blog post How To Manage Your Passwords in Google Chrome from Gizmodo uses less than 400 words.
If tech is your niche (like it is for us at Eleven Writing), you should be incorporating this into your own content strategy. Keep word counts low, and during the content planning stage, check to see which on-page assets the top Google results are using. Adding these to your own blog content can help increase its search engine rankings.
What’s the Minimum Length for a Blog Post in 2022?
Our findings were clear: excluding the tech niche, every article type in every niche had a minimum word count of 2,500 words.
Of course, there are niche-specific details. For instance, there is a large variance in length among How To blog articles: In the travel niche, a 2k article might be enough to rank well, while in the business niche, the average is 3,313 words.
But for most niches, a 2k blog post probably won't hit the top results in Google.
When planning your posts, be sure to take both the post type and your industry/niche into account. To do this, compare the proposed word count for your blog with top Google results.
Below, I’ll show how to do just that.
How To Find The Best Blog Post Length
Imagine you want to create a blog post for the search term, How to take a scrolling screenshot on a mac.
Here are two methods you can use to find the perfect blog length quickly. The first method is free and uses no tools or apps. The second is the one we use at Eleven Writing to prepare briefs for our writers.
Method 1: Using Google Search & a Free Online Tool
All things being equal, Google will show the blogs with the optimum length at the top of its search results. However, it’s important to take an average, because high-authority websites like Forbes or CNN can rank with much less content than many other websites.
Here’s how the above keyword looks in Google search.
The first three results are from blogs and are all How To articles, so we should include them.
The fourth result is from a help forum. We should exclude this result, as it’s not a blog post. In addition to forums/bulletin boards, I recommend excluding results from social media and home pages—unless, of course, you are writing a home page!
Once you have the relevant results from Google, head over to searchbloom.com and paste the website links for each top post into their free word count checker.
Here are the results for our example keyword.
I’ve highlighted the blog posts with the shortest content (#6, with 888 words) and the longest content (#5, with 4,623 words).
I recommend removing any single result that is much higher or lower than the mean word count. In this case, I’ve removed the highlighted articles and calculated an average from the rest.
Using this method, the optimum blog length for the keyword How to take a scrolling screenshot on a mac is 1,508 words.
While you could argue for a lower or higher word count, and some of this is subjective, I’d feel confident sticking with the average here.
It’s also worth checking the on-page assets the shorter blog post has (in this case, screenshots and a video) and incorporating them into your content plan.
Method 2: Use a Paid Tool (Recommended)
A problem with the first method is that it’s not 100% accurate. Free keyword tools usually check the number of words in the page’s <body> text and use this for the total word count. To get a more accurate result, you can copy and paste the articles themselves into Word or Google Docs. However, this can take a lot of time.
A faster method is to use a paid tool. At Eleven Writing, we use Frase, as it creates briefs quickly and helps us rank well in the search engines. The Frase app uses AI to crawl Google’s Search Results and lets you filter out blogs that are not relevant.
Here's Frase’s average word count calculation for our example keyword.
As you can see, it is a few hundred words shorter than the average I calculated via the first method.
That’s why these paid tools are helpful if you’re producing content at scale. You’ll be able to find more accurate word counts and potentially reduce your content budget.
Another good on-page search engine optimization tool that calculates word counts quickly is Surfer SEO. One thing it has that Frase doesn’t is a nice visual representation for the top results in Google.
Here's an example from Surfer SEO for a different keyword.
This feature is great for content optimization. Once your blog post is published, you can plot its count on the graph and see how it compares to the top results on Google.
Post length matters. After analyzing the top 10 websites in five different niches, we found that the highest-ranking blog posts were between 2,566 and 2,736 words. Our study shows the word count "sweet spot" will vary slightly depending on your niche and the type of blog post you are writing.
So, when calculating the ideal word count for your next blog article, pay attention to these details, and of course, check the current SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) to see which content Google favors. With these tips, you’ll be able to find the perfect blog post length to give your content the chance to stand out.