Optimum article length question

18 replies
Hey everyone, quick question on blog article length. Obviously the content, readability, and relevancy are first and foremost, but what is the best range or word count nowadays for SEO/indexing benefits? In the recent past it's been that 350-500ish area; now the more I read up on it, the more I see the big G wants longer (1000+) articles (with more room for key words/phrases/links of course).

I'm writing most of my own content but I'd like to maximize the effectiveness. Am I better off with two 500-word articles or one 1000-word one, for argument's sake?

-U
#article #length #optimum #question
  • Profile picture of the author WebPen
    It depends on the content, but generally longer = better.

    Obviously that doesn't mean you should write longer posts just to inflate word count. But you will probably do better with 2 long posts a week than 4-5 short ones.

    Part of that is because the longer someone is on your site, the more valuable your site is considered by big G.
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  • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
    Yes, generally Google favors longer content. But it might turn some readers off. It's really a double-edged sword. For longer content, make sure you break it down with subheadings, use lists and keep the paragraphs short.

    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author vishwa
    I would suggest that a minimum of 500 word is good for a article in terms of SEO and it is necessary.
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    • Profile picture of the author Wealthyclark
      Write naturally, be as detailed as possible, think of your targeted audience.

      What type of information are they in search of?

      What related information would they be most likely interested in?

      Sprinkle a little bit of that related info in the article.

      Link to other related articles that explain the related information in more detail.

      In most cases you will find your articles reaching over 1000 words easily. In the world of search engine optimization, the more related valuable information the better. IMHO

      Wishing you much success,
      WealthyClark
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  • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
    Probably not an answer SEO anoraks would be proud of, but Wealthyclark just about hit the nail on the head.

    I think you have to be honest with yourself here: either you realise that the most crucial factor in long-term ranking success is writing for readership or you don't. The simple reality is that anyone who feels the need to ask questions about optimum article length for SEO with an intent to be swayed one way or another by the feedback is only paying lip service to this ethos.

    Articles should be as long as you feel they need to be to answer the question or thoroughly deliberate the matter in hand. You will notice that top ranking pages are about as varied in length and form as a box of assorted biscuit rejects - which is quite telling.

    What it tells you is that key ranking factors are still mostly, if not all, derived of human feedback - backlinks, +1s, bounce activity, etc. Consequently, by aiming at anything else other than readers you will alienate them with the knock-on effect of triggering precisely the behaviour that has the biggest net negative effect on ranking.
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  • Profile picture of the author cbpayne
    I have one blog in which is never post anymore than one short sentence per post and another blog where I post 3000-4000 words per post! - its all depends on context!

    Where did the magic "500" words come from? Did someone make it up one day and it just got repeated in forums?
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  • Profile picture of the author BellaGeen
    Readership is what you should focus on.
    Some studies shown that long articles are more likely to be shared and bookmarked. But only if the include valuable information
    From the other hand, short and sweet articles are very good if they answer reader`s question.
    I am not into SEO, so I don`t know what G thinks about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author thad
    make it very keyword friendly, and actually help people lol im sure that social presence has alot to do with ranking, so get alot of people on social networks to like ur stuff
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  • Profile picture of the author Sheryl Bagley
    It surely depends on the subject, the niche and the general behavior of the readers in that niche.
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  • Profile picture of the author MeganFreed
    I think it really depends on the content of the article itself, the purpose it's being used for, and the audience the article is intended for. In other words, it varies and is a matter of preference. I don't think there is a 'right' or 'wrong' when it comes to article length as long as the article provides accurate, interesting information.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daones
    yeah now days longer is usually better, as long as the content is good and you arent rambling on for 1000 words... Lately I try to write at least 800 words and have some posts up around 2500 posts.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Before I answer, I have a quick question...

      When was the last time a search spider, Googlebot or otherwise, bought anything from you?

      Write for your readers.

      Posting a quick tip or link referral? A short post explaining what they'll find is plenty.

      Got something more in depth in mind? Want to build reputation and authority with readers? Take as long as you need.

      One thing to consider here...

      Unless your intent is to make a quick, short post, required length can be a guideline to whether your post is aimed too wide or too narrow. Most good niche post topics take about 1,000-1,200 words to do a decent job in covering. If it takes a multi-thousand word post to adequately cover your topic, either you're going too wide or you may want to break the topic up into a series of linked posts (which googlebot eats with relish).
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      • Profile picture of the author Umpyman
        Thanks for all the great replies, guys - and I 100% agree with you to write for the reader, and I totally get that. In no way am I looking to take a shortcut and write a short post to 'optimize' it better; if I have 1200 words to get a point across in an effective blog post, then it's 1200 words, no shortening to fit a guideline, or lengthening to pad it.

        But I guess my curiosity lay in whether, for example, breaking that post into two 600-word 'parts' on separate pages would be more effective to SEO. (Say, today is "Part One of How to Sell Widgets" for 600 words, tomorrow is part two at another 600.)

        And hey, on the other side of the same coin, today's online readers have far less of an attention span than years past, so maybe two more-concise posts might even grab more eyeballs...

        TL;DR: Does page length/word count itself have any positive or negative effect on how Google indexes and ranks?
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        • Profile picture of the author wtatlas
          Originally Posted by Umpyman View Post

          Does page length/word count itself have any positive or negative effect on how Google indexes and ranks?
          My own experience tells me that Google will index anything. I have short posts and long posts depending on what I am writing about and they all get indexed quickly.

          As far as ranking them goes, I don't know if length plays any part. Personally I don't think about this aspect when writing an article or blog post. If my readers like what they read, then they will come back for more and perhaps will share and link to what they have read. That's what I aim for and I give very little thought to whether the search engines approve or disapprove.

          After all, nice to have though it it is, search engine traffic is only one of many ways to get site visitors. My readers and the veracity of anything that I publish on a website are more important to me.

          Another way to look at this is that by concentrating on writing for your readers, you are automatically giving the search engines what they say they want anyway; namely, quality search results. In time, as a site gathers more and more relevant and useful content, this should result in better search engine rankings.

          Originally Posted by Umpyman View Post

          And hey, on the other side of the same coin, today's online readers have far less of an attention span than years past, so maybe two more-concise posts might even grab more eyeballs...
          I don't think people today have any less of an attention span than years ago. The problem is that there is more material competing for their attention so it is perhaps becoming more difficult to provide content that grabs their attention and keeps them interested.

          If you can do this, then I don't think that the word count of a post or article matters.
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  • Profile picture of the author vedremo
    Banned
    It's always safe to have at least 400 words per article. Personally, it's more important to have unique, informative and relevant articles that will serve as a good reference/source of information for readers worldwide.

    With regards to your question, I'd personally prefer to have two 500 word articles. In this way, you'll have a steady supply of articles on a weekly basis. You also won't have to pressure yourself in coming up with a long article just to satiate the ever-changing requirements of Google.

    If you have time and have an enormous supply of creative juices then go for kilometric articles. Just make sure that your readers will finish reading what you've written.
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  • Profile picture of the author aaaa33030
    Originally Posted by Umpyman View Post

    Hey everyone, quick question on blog article length. Obviously the content, readability, and relevancy are first and foremost, but what is the best range or word count nowadays for SEO/indexing benefits? In the recent past it's been that 350-500ish area; now the more I read up on it, the more I see the big G wants longer (1000+) articles (with more room for key words/phrases/links of course).

    I'm writing most of my own content but I'd like to maximize the effectiveness. Am I better off with two 500-word articles or one 1000-word one, for argument's sake?

    -U
    What is the best range or word count for blogs nowadays for SEO/ indexing benefits?
    The answer is 0

    I had a blog post with over 400 words and built backlinks to it and eventually my blog post got deindexed.

    I changed the article on it, waited a few more weeks and it was still deindexed.

    So I finally removed my blog post word content and just put an image there and in just a few days my blog was on page 2.

    So for wordpress blogs it all depends on onpage seo and backlinks, not word count length
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  • Profile picture of the author andrealouisechang
    Banned
    Writing a 1000 word blog post that will keep your reader interested until the very last sentence can be pretty challenging, but it's doable. Lists are great, and posts with relevant photos, too. I love the Listverse style of content, 1000 words top 10 lists of somethings, with photos. The posts there are pretty engaging.

    500 word posts that define the niche or the keyword like "blah blah blah is the newest gold" is definitely out!
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    • Profile picture of the author GlenH
      For the 'article syndication' quality articles (which is all I write) I do no less that 1000 words.

      But usually it's 1200 to 1500 words
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