How Many Words Should a Blog Post be? The Reason Why Longer Content Ranks Better.

While the length of your blog posts/articles varies, the number of words I always advise people to write is at least a 1,000. But as of yet, I have not explained the reason behind this criteria and today I will.

We will also investigate what happens when you write less or more than 1,000 words and how all of this pertains to ranking, Google and more.

Where did this 1,000 mark come from?

Well to be honest, this isn’t a number I came up with, but I was recommended this amount from a much more experienced online marketer (one of the owners of Wealthy Affiliate) whose advice has just about always been correct.

Since hearing that from him, I have aimed to always try and reach that amount in every time I write and over time it has gotten easier.

And as I’ve seen, what this leads to in terms of ranking, I have come to certain conclusions about why this number, while not “perfect”, it a good amount to aim for.

Evidence supporting the 1k and/or longer content creation:

1) Whenever I do keyword (KW) research or look up information on Google, if there are any blogs/sites that appear on the 1st page, they are, at least 90% (and more) of the time long posts, in many cases, way over 1,000.

You should do this type of research yourself. If you’re a marketer, do KW research on a niche topic, but then also cross reference the KW’s by entering them on Google and seeing which websites show up highest and how much content they have on their articles.

You will see that a sizable majority of them are over a 1,000 words.

2) If you think less content still ranks high, look at article directories. Another experiment you can do (and I’ve done it many times) is look up any type of search term and see if any popular article directories show up. Odds are the answer is no.

If you’re and old enough marketer like me, you’ll know there was a time when article directories were all the rage in SEO and their limits for the amount you could write was at least 250 words, but in the process, rank very, very high. 

So obviously, anyone who knew this information certainly used it, including me and there were many who abused the crap out of it by pitching tons and tons of bad products for little work. 

Long story short (here’s the longer version), this came to an end. The general rule I have come to believe in SEO is that most of the time, longer content provides better info, vs short content providing less quality information.

And that just didn’t happen on article directories, plus, they turned into content farms which was a whole other connecting reason they are no longer seen as being authoritative by Google.

Anyway, the end of the story here is that if you do Google searches, see if any of the old article directory sites pop up as the results: Ezinearticles, Hubpages, ArticleBase, ect…

With the exception of places like eHow.com, odds are the old directories which were once SEO “havens” will not longer show up.

One of the conclusions I made is that by having very low standards for content creation, they attracted abuse and actual low quality writers and that ended up muddying the directory itself. 

3) Do you understand what Google looks for in websites? At least the standards by which they rank them high/er? 

If so, then that should on it’s own help you conclude why longer content is better to write vs shorter ones. It just makes sense that someone who is willing to write more will get a bigger nod from Google because that person can generally provide more information and more satisfying content to the reader.

And as I’ve said about my reasoning for why SEO works the way it does, if you understand that point, then you understand how all of this reflects directly back on Google and why they are the king of all search engines today.

4) It isn’t just 1 or a few articles that need to be of big length, it’s the overall site itself.

If you could rank one site with just a few long articles, then Micro Niche Sites would still work, but they don’t. Now it’s about consistently long articles. 

Evidence supporting why length of the blog post may not be the deciding SEO factor:

1) There are exceptions of websites I’ve personally seen which have way fewer than a 1,000 words but ranked high. I did a recent lookup on a keyword that was “ginger DHT” (it has to do with hair growth) and got a really horrible site on the 1st page result which was clearly either not written by a fluent English speaking person or it was spun by some kind of software, yet it ranked on the 1st page. Why? Well because reason 2…

2) Keyword competition plays a large role as to why certain blogs rank higher or lower. 

Consider a crappy blog post like the one I just mentioned. If there is little competition for it, then even if the blog post has less than the 1k mark, it can still show up higher for that specific term.

But understand that this is a RARITY. You simply CANNOT rely on these exceptions and expect to build a high traffic blog off it because as I said above, the majority of cases prove more content ranks better. The one here, for a lack of a better term, is an anomaly…

3) Comments, shares and bounce rates also affect the position they occupy on Google.

Suppose someone writes a 700 word article and that article gets shared, commented on a lot and bounce rates are also pretty low. 

Now compare it to a person who write over a 1,000 on theirs, but the information is such that it doesn’t get shared or commented on. Which will Google prefer? 

Well in my opinion, at first, it’ll be the longer article, provided the info is decent. But as time goes on and the 700 version gets more comments and the other things I mentioned, it’ll eventually overtake the 1,000 word one because the content will rise higher due to the comments and by seeing better bounce rates and more shares (as well as comments), Google will see this article as a higher quality vs the other and possibly rank it better too.

However, there is also another factor which deserves it’s own point:

4) Authority. It counts, a lot…

The authority a blog has with Google is almost like a VIP pass to higher rankings (all about authority), but it is only achieved over a long period of time when the blog has earned it’s place on the higher positions of the search engine. 

If it reaches that point, then it can see faster and higher rankings far more often and even overtake content that may be “better” or longer from other competing sites.

But here’s the thing (spoiler): Authority is gained, in part by longer posts, comments, bounce rates, and shares. In other words, it all works together.

Instead of balancing all these pros and cons, do this:

1) If you are seeking good SEO results, at least at first, aim to write blog posts that span beyond 1k words. If you have to write more because you feel it’s necessary, do it. I’ve written posts that go beyond 3-4k words. 

It is still a safe bet to assume that longer posts are seen as something that’s better in Google’s eyes in my experience and this especially plays a big role if you have a new blog that has not yet reached it’s authority “pass” with Google.

2) Always aim to provide as much information in whatever you write so that there is a maximum emphasize on making readers happy, so happy that they’ll share, comment and do more with your blog (like return to it), which again are all factors that still help you in SEO.

3) In cases where you do paid advertising, and/or have an established blog (authority) which has a great following on social media, then you can write less on new blogs and have your followers fill in the rest of the content “space” with their comments and thoughts. But even then, the more you write, especially to a crowd which will love it, the better it is for you, the better it will be for Google and the better it’ll be for your business. 

honest review

14 Comments

  1. Shlomo J

    First of all let me start off by saying great post, really. Hmmm I don’t know where to start…lol.

    1000 words, is definitely the way to go, I too have learned that from a well established online marketer. but what I love about your post is the detail you go into explaining the reason why it is so…

    I can say with confidence that I am a lot more educated about this topic then I was before I have read this post.

    I can’t help but comment on the fact that google gives a VIP pass to established websites… this seems to be a big stumbling block for those who are just starting out and trying to get noticed… if they are not given the same chance as the big guys out there how can they climb up in the search bars? I am sure there is a way but I guess I’m missing something here.

    Also, would you know how long it will usually take someone to get their blog noticed?

    Thanks for the post,

    Shlomo J

    • Vitaliy

      Hi Shlomo, on one hand you’re right in that it’s tough for someone new to get noticed by Google, but consider if the situation was reversed and new people could get noticed quickly, you would basically have the period where people made horrible spam sites and abused Google relentlessly.

      Micro niche sites come to mind when I make this example and frankly, as I’ve said before, forcing people to work harder to make their blog earn big money is totally worth it.

  2. Allan

    I’m fascinated by SEO but I don’t understand it at all. I didn’t realize how important that 1k number was and from now on I will strive for 1.5k or more if possible. Will it make a difference if I go back, edit and increase content? Did I understand you correctly, do comments increase the content as Google sees it?

    Fascinated but confused,

    Allan

    • Vitaliy

      Hi Allan, yes any new content, be it yours or people who comment on your site is still content and yes Google sees it and gives you more benefits from it. If you’re as confused about SEO as you say, then I strongly recommend this read on it, I think it’ll clear it up entirely for you.

  3. Chris

    Vitaliy,

    Thank you for teaching me something new today. I am still an SEO newbie and am trying to learn as much as I can. I have added your website to my favorite bar so I can come back later on. I should have watched your video on how to avoid online scams a long time ago. It would have saved me some money and disappointment along the way.

    Cheers

    Chris

  4. Paul

    Great article Vitaliy
    It has opened my eyes on some subjects about SEO ranking that I did not consider.

    I’ve only started blogging for a year…still consider myself a newbie and still learning.

    It really shows that you are trying to help bloggers get better at what they do and it shows in the information you’ve provided. I have a feeling that showing that you are helping and getting comments will also help you gain rank in SEO, which in turn helps more people which is the goal of search engines…to give good content results to the right person at the right time.

    Is it true that links from you article to other articles within your site also helps your ranking? As I think it shows that your site is consistent with the information being provided. Showing that it is within the same context of your site.

    Cheers
    Paul

    • Vitaliy

      Hi Paul, yes, what you’re referring to is called interlinking and it does help with ranking as well because it basically helps readers and search engines explore your site better. With less focus on selling and more focus on linking to articles that continue to benefit readers, this is something looked upon positively by Google and does lead to better rankings.

  5. OSOTB

    I tend to write lengthy articles anyways (usually around 1500 words) and always saw that it earned me a green rating on Yoast, but I never really knew why it was necessary or recommended. I also now see the importance of using my keyword frequently. Thanks so much for clarifying that!

    • Vitaliy

      1,500 is quickly becoming more recommended than the 1,000 one and you’re doing well to keep your posts that long. On the keyword end, focus less on writing them too much and just include them in your title and in areas of your blog post where it makes sense, don’t be artificial about it.

  6. Pitin

    Hi Vitaliy,

    I agree that it is not all about the word count. I have two examples, if I may.

    I have a 2k-word article in my blog with only 6 comments but it gets the highest clicks of all my posts. It has been on page 1 because of very low competition.

    I also have a 650-word article with 100 plus shares and 64 comments and is also on page 1 of Google despite using a competitive target keyword.

    I have been chatting with my friend about some of our article rankings – it seems that Google is being erratic nowadays. One minute an article of ours is on page 1, and the next thing you notice, it is nowhere in the first 20 pages.

    Do you know what’s happening?

    Are Google’s algorithms changing again?

    Thanks for any enlightenment you can give.

    Regards,

    Pitin

    • Vitaliy

      Hi Pitin, is this erratic article you’re speaking of, one of the two you mentioned that are ranked high? If not, then my guess is this:

      1) The article in question is bouncing around due to the Google dance and…

      2) It is especially plausible to assume this Google dance is happening on a newer website as those tend to always have newer blog posts jump around the search results and this will happen less frequently on bigger blogs.

      So in summary, yes it is normal to see this happening and I would not worry about it.

  7. Chris Towers

    I think the advice you have here is sound for sure.

    The problem is (I think) is some marketers rely on these figures of publishing over 1000 words, when actually what they wanted to say and the message they wanted to get across was done in the first 500 or 600 words.

    Does Google also understand when content is simply being built out?

    I mean why write 1000 words when you can deliver your message with half of that?

    Id love your thoughts on this!

    Thanks

    Chris

    • Vitaliy

      Hi Chris, the thing is, I don’t think Google has a “quality meter” that advanced to be able to tell if your point and content within whatever amount is better than other competitors and to be honest, I think the whole concept of judging one’s content over another is totally subjective.

      What I do believe Google does is still look at the overall quality, the quantity as well, but gives it extra points for comments and shares like I said and if that happens, and Google sees comments, they will see that people, in their own subjective way, value the content enough to do this action which they will then take into account for ranking you higher.

      Having personally had content rank above others after they had more comments showed me this. So I would take the time to add that extra content per page, because even if you don’t get comments, you can still rely on your authority and content length, which are 2 factors I know still play a role in SEO.

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