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.