If you’re doing New Year’s Resolutions right, chances are you have some SEO goals on your list for 2021. Or if you don’t, you probably should. That’s because the SEO landscape changes each year, and 2021 is no different. What is the best word count for SEO, anyway? Does the ideal word count change year by year or based on digital marketing trends?
The answer to that last question is, of course, yes. The best word count for SEO blog posts, however, is a little less obvious. Let’s dive in and find out what role word count plays in post ranking, so that you can set specific goals and resolutions as the year rounds out.
Does Blog Post Length Really Matter?
Yes, blog post length does matter, but not as much in 2021 as you might expect. Confused? Allow us to explain.
A quick Google search for the best blog length turns up all kinds of conflicting options. Some marketers claim the sweet spot is a mere 500 words. Others say to aim for 1,000 words. And every so often, a rather tenacious marketing agency says to shoot for 2,000 words or more.
Now, why are there such a variety of answers? Essentially, we can all agree that blog post length does matter because it’s shown to correlate with higher search rankings in the past. In our research, ideal blog post length rose from 1,140 words in 2017 to 1,285 words in 2019. The takeaway then was that longer content was more thorough and had more room to include important keywords and keyword phrases. And according to the standard search engine algorithm, more thorough = more useful to a target audience.
Don’t get us wrong; the data from previous years is still valuable. Nevertheless, it’s data from 2017 and 2019. We’re about to enter 2021, and a whole lot has changed in the past year alone.
Why Does the Ideal Blog Length Change So Much?
Think about it: a decade ago, Google was comparatively primitive to what it is today. Its algorithm wasn’t as fine-tuned, so businesses could get away with 300-500 word blogs. Fast forward to 2019, and SEO trends showed greater success for companies willing to create longer, more detailed content.
While “more detailed content” sounds good on paper, readers typically don’t want posts that drag on forever. Search engines are picking up on that if bounce rates and click-throughs are any indications. To further fine-tune and provide the best results, search engines nowadays focus less on content length and more on the right SEO keywords. After all, who wants to read through fluff and filler to get the answers they came for?
Does Blog Length Matter Less for SEO Success?
If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that yes, for 2021, you should focus less on the blog length and more on the content itself.
Say, for example, that your searcher is looking for a quick recipe to whip up a homemade pizza. A search for the “best oven temp for pizza” warrants a simple answer, right? Not a 2,000-word blog post about your Eat, Pray, Love journey to find the perfect pizza sauce. Certainly not suggestions for how to make the best pizza ever, worthy of royalty. Now, don’t get us wrong. We love when blogs get creative and write captivating narratives; it can be great fun when done right. But with SEO, more isn’t always better.
Blog Post Length: Things to Keep in Mind
When choosing the best blog length for your SEO campaign, remember the following:
- The intent of the searcher. This should always, always dictate what you create. See our pizza example above.
- Average post length within your field. Do similar businesses in your niche churn out 500-word blog posts? Bump your posts up a couple of hundred words to stand out and rank a little higher.
- Whether you’ve given yourself enough space to hit all the right keywords. You’ve done some keyword research; you know the words and phrases you want to include in your post. Do you have enough room to organically fit them without it seeming forced?
- Balance is everything. As we mentioned above, you want your blog posts to be coherent and well-written, not clunky. But occasionally, the SEO content writing experience does feel clunky, precisely because you’re inserting words and phrases where it may not feel 100% natural. With a talented digital agency on your side, you’ll strike that balance between well-written material and checking all those keyword boxes. You’ll do this, of course, through blog posts that are neither too short nor too long.
2021’s Got Nothing on Your SEO Strategy
Ready to learn more about how to refine your SEO strategy for 2021 and beyond? Come chat with our content team for some SEO tips and tricks, as well as what blog length best suits your niche. Before you know it, you’ll be weaving those words and phrases in as seamlessly as the greatest writers—and above all else, seeing the conversions you’ve been waiting for.