When creating content for search engine optimisation, one of the most important strategic decisions is determining the ideal length.
Should you write short and succinct posts that get straight to the point? Or produce in-depth, long-form content?
The truth is there is no universal “perfect” word count. The best SEO content length depends on your goals, topics, and target audience. By considering a few key factors, you can optimise article length to attract search traffic and boost rankings.
Whether you’re writing your first SEO article or looking to enhance an established content strategy, optimising content length is crucial for search visibility and traffic.
HOW-TO FIND THE BEST CONTENT LENGTH FOR SEO
Benefits of Long-Form SEO Content
Long-form content that provides comprehensive information on a topic has some key SEO advantages:
- More In-Depth Information – Lengthy, detailed content better answers search queries and demonstrates expertise on a specific topic. This improves dwell time and helps satisfy searcher intent for SEO. For example, HubSpot saw 70% more leads from content over 2,000 words.
- Higher Word Count – Longer posts can naturally incorporate more instances of target keywords, which search engines factor in for relevance. More words also allow for synonyms and natural usage. Backlinko found top ranking pages had 2,250 words on average.
- Additional Links – With more content, there is room for more opportunities to organically link out to authoritative sources. This builds trust and shows the breadth of your knowledge. One Moz study found pages with over 100 external links had higher rankings.
- Higher Ranking Potential – Several correlation studies have shown pages with over 1,000 words tend to outperform shorter pages on average for top SERP rankings. More quality content increases authority. According to Siege Media, content over 1,400 words was 5x more likely to rank on page one.
When done correctly, long-form content can garner more organic traffic. A Compendium study found pages ranking on page one of Google had a median word count of over 1,800. Writing detailed, in-depth content signals expertise on a topic which search engines reward.
Challenges of Lengthy SEO Content
However, increased length isn’t universally positive. Extremely long content also poses some SEO challenges:
- More Difficult to Create – Well-researched, well-written 2,000+ word articles require significantly more time and resources to produce versus 500-word posts. Ahrefs found 50% more effort was required to create 1,000-word posts versus 700-word posts.
- Harder for Users to Digest – Even if readers are interested in a topic, long walls of text can be intimidating. Content needs to be broken up and formatted engagingly. According to an NNG study, only 28% of users will read long-form content over 1,000 words.
- Not Always Necessary – For simple or niche topics that only require a few paragraphs to thoroughly cover, bolstering word count with fluff can seem spammy. HubSpot found 64% of top performing blogs were under 2,250 words.
How to Determine Optimal SEO Content Length
Here are some tips on deciding the right word count and depth for specific SEO content:
- Conduct Thorough Keyword Research – Leverage keyword research tools to identify target keywords, understand search volumes and difficulty, and gain insight into user intent. This will reveal whether in-depth or short-form content will better satisfy searchers. Analyse related long-tail keywords as well.
- Map Topics to Cover Based on Keywords – Create a strategic outline mapping which topics and subtopics need to be covered to incorporate and optimise target keywords. This keyword mapping approach helps determine how much detail is required.
- Identify Any Content Gaps – Look at competitor content and identify areas where further explanation or detail is needed to fully answer search queries and fill information gaps. Competitive analysis reveals optimisation opportunities.
- Consider Existing Page Lengths – Review how long or short top-ranking pages are for target keywords. If 1,500+ word articles consistently rank, that signals users reading intent.
- Write a Draft then Edit for Optimisation – Create a draft covering all the topics and keywords from your outline. Then carefully edit to optimise length and density for keywords based on research.
- Format Content for Easy Scanning – Apply formatting like subheadings, bullet points, images, videos, etc. to break up text and highlight key information. This improves engagement.
Optimising length requires balancing keyword/topic density with readability. But with a strategic approach, long pages and short pages can both be made highly engaging. Check our short guide on Content Marketing Trends
Monitoring Results of Different Lengths
Once you’ve published your content, track performance to guide future length decisions:
- Analyse search rankings for target keywords – Are longer or shorter pages performing better?
- Check Google Analytics for organic traffic – Does traffic increase correlate to word counts? Google Analytics 4 is way better
- Look at on-site engagement metrics like scroll depth – Do visitors read to the end?
- See if pages attract social shares or links – Does length impact amplification?
Iteratively test longer and shorter content focused on the same keywords. Then expand on the length yielding better results. Be sure to give new content time in search indexes before evaluating. Ever heard of EEAT approved content that can help your content rank
Data-Driven, Audience-Focused Approach to Content Length
Stop obsessing over writing 1,000-2,000 words for every piece of content. Instead, take a tailored approach based on topic, keywords, and audience. Let search data and user signals guide your strategy.
The reality is both long and short content can achieve SEO success:
- Long-form content better satisfies in-depth research queries. But short blogs and FAQs can answer quick questions.
- Ecommerce product pages thrive with sufficient 500-1,000 word descriptions. But require 3,000-5,000 word buying guides.
- Trending news topics need brief but fast commentary. But evergreen informational content demands detail.
- Some audiences consume any content length while others prefer scannable, succinct text.
Each situation warrants a different approach. Conduct keyword research to understand queries.
TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)? Don’t blindly chase artificial word counts. Keep the unique value proposition and actual audience front of mind. Write above all else for the people reading your content. Here are 5 free SEO chrome extensions you can use
How UTDS Optimal Choice Can Help You Determine Ideal Length
We at UTDS Optimal Choice provide key support to your business content marketing:
- AI-powered keyword research and mapping to shape strategic outlines
- Analysis of top-ranked content to identify successful length benchmarks
- A/B testing to compare different lengths focused on the same keywords
- Performance tracking to see how length impacts search traffic and engagement
With the help of UTDS Optimal Choice your business growth is built over data-backed decisions to maximise SEO results. Our optimisation strategists also provide expert guidance to interpret signals and tie length to overarching content goals. Contact Us Now
FAQs About Optimising Content Length for SEO
There is no universally ideal blog length. Keyword research indicating in-depth demand may call for 2,000+ words. But quick-answer posts can be 500 words. Track search performance by length to decide.
Statistics indicate pages in top Google results often range from 1,400 – 2,500 words. But keyword, competition and engagement factors may justify shorter or longer pages.
Use formatting like subheads, lists, bold text, images, videos and quotes to highlight key points and make long posts scannable. Check that content passes reader-friendly layout tests.
Look at engagement metrics first. If analytics show poor reading completion, then yes – shorten and rework structurally. But if visitors are engaged, length may not be the issue.
Continually track performance, but allow 3-6 months to gather enough search data after publishing new batches of content. Check search trends too for changes in intent.