Is there an ideal length for blog post? This is a question you will see discussed on the Internet quite a lot. First, I would like to stress that a post ‘should be as long as it takes to say what needs to be said’, and I am just repeating a simple nice sentence received as a comment on my recent blog at Wealthy Affiliate.
It is as simple as that. Do not manufacture it and make it larger by adding empty and superficial sentences only to satisfy some statistics which you have read about on the Internet.
[ César Franck: Prelude, Fugue and Variation, Op. 18 ]
Great thoughts can be expressed in few words of course. Did you know about David Rector’s thesis at MIT in 1966, with 9 pages only? And also about famous John Nesh thesis of 27 pages, which later brought him the Nobel Prize? To remind you, this is the main character from the movie ‘A beautiful mind‘.
But not everybody is on the level of John Nesh, and indeed there are some indications on the best blog length, which follow from statistical studies. I am going to present some of them below and with this we may come up with some rough idea about best blog length.
1. Statistics regarding the post length
Here is a graph frequently used on the Internet (the first one below), showing the average length of top ranking posts, from SerpIQ. Apparently the ideal length is around 2450 words.
But what is frequently overlooked is: in the same study there is a graph showing that the longer posts are in fact older, and this graph is given above. The vertical axis shows the age of posts (in years) studied in the analysis, and the horizontal axis shows their length. Being older, it is then at least partly logical that they are better ranked. This could to some extent be the reason for longer blogs being top-ranked on the upper graph.
So, it is fair to say that we cannot conclude with certainty that longer posts are as a rule better ranked just because they are longer. We can now go step farther and see some more statistics in order to get an idea about ideal post length.
2. Longer posts and number of backlinks
There is another study by MOZ in which they analyzed their own 500 posts trying to find out any relation between the length and the number of backlinks. This is clearly an important information, and here are the graphs depicting some facts:
The lower graph shows rather convincingly that longer posts attract more backlinks. However, one could argue again that, like in the Section 1, these longer posts are in fact older and that could (at least partly) be the reason behind the greater number of backlinks they have attracted, being longer available to the audience. Such an objection would indeed make sense. More studies are needed to get some clear picture on this issue.
3. Ideal post length in minutes
According to a research by Medium, posts that need 7 minutes to be read in average capture the most total reading time. See below graph from their study. The vertical line shows the number of seconds which visitors spend on the post whose length (in time units and given in minutes) is presented on the horizontal axis.
They concluded that the optimal length (in time units) is 7 minutes. But they also give the following warning: “This doesn’t mean we should all start forcing our posts to be 7 minutes! There is enormous variance. Great posts perform well regardless of length, and bad posts certainly don’t get better when you stretch them out.” Nice statements indeed.
Now, we can recalculate this post length into length in words, and this would give between 1000 (for a post with a lot of photos and images) and 1600 words (for those without photos and images). So we have some good numbers now.
4. Longer content is more shared on social media
As the title of this section says, from some research it appears that on social networks longer texts are more shared than short. See the graph from the given source showing the number of shares on vertical axis (in thousands) and the text length on the horizontal axis. It is rather convincing, shares on Facebook are by about double greater at the side of long posts.
So in the end, can we make any conclusion about the ideal length for blog post? Indications seem to be strong in favor of long(er) texts. How long then? This may depend on what you want to achieve and what your market is. Just see the last section; if social media are your strong area from where you expect most of visitors, then go for long texts for sure. But regarding the other criteria mentioned above, I would say it is probably very good to be above 1000 words, but even better at 1500 or above.
Nevertheless, the page you are reading has around 920 words and I do not intend to make it longer only to satisfy statistics.
In the end, do you still remember this:
“I don’t mean to deny that the evidence is in some ways very strong in favor of your
theory, I only wish to point out that there are other theories possible.” – Sherlock Holmes in Adventure of the Norwood Builder, A. Conan Doyle.
Please leave a comment in the box below, I shall be happy to read it.
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