Text length: how long should a blog post be?
In Yoast SEO you get scored for the length of your text. But how do you know how long your blog post should be? And why do we care? Find out all about text length and how to improve it, while maintaining readability.
What is text length?
Defining text length is quite obvious: it’s how long your text is. In the Yoast SEO plugin, we determine text length by the number of words. A blog post should contain at least 300 words in order to rank well in the search engines. Long posts will rank more easily than short posts. However, long posts require strong writing skills. Not every writer can write readable blog posts of more than 1000 words.
Why does text length matter?
You have a higher chance of ranking well in Google if you write really long blog posts, of 1000 words or more. We see it ourselves; we have written quite some articles that are over 2500 words, and they really help in the growth of our organic traffic. There are a number of reasons why blog post length is important for SEO.
These reasons all have to do with the fact that in lengthy texts, Google just has more clues to determine what your text is about. If you optimize your copy well, your focus keyphrase will naturally be in the text. The longer your text, the more often it will mention your focus keyphrase. There’s no need for keyphrase stuffing though. As your text is longer you’ll be adding more headings, links, and pictures, in which you mention the keyphrase.
Also, if a page consists of too little words, Google is more likely to think of it as ‘thin content’. As the chances of thin content answering searchers’ questions are slim, Google probably won’t rank it very high. The goal is to serve users the best answer possible, and thin content is more likely to be considered of not much value to them.
A longer text will also help you rank for multiple long tail variants of the keyphrase you’ve optimized your text for. That’s because in a lengthy text, you probably address multiple topics. Your article will have a chance to turn up in search results for all these long tail variants. Combined, the traffic to those posts will result in a growth of the organic traffic to your site.
Learn more about this check in Yoast SEO in our explanation of the text length check.
Keep readability in mind
Don’t overdo it and make your text long just for the sake of it. Badly written, lengthy articles will not be read all the way through. People will probably click away from your site rather soon. These articles also won’t be shared on social media, and people probably won’t return to your website to read more.
In the plugin, we recommend 300 words at the very least. If your article consists of fewer words, that’s too little to rank with in search engines. But keep in mind: blog posts containing more than 1000 words can become hard to read. You’ll need some proper writing skills in order to write easy-to-read articles of more than 1000 words. Large pieces of text could very well scare off your audience. In the end, badly written and lengthy articles won’t rank well in Google, simply because of the bad user experience. Curious to dive in and learn the ins and outs of writing awesome copy that ranks? Check out our SEO copywriting training.
How to write a good, lengthy text
Writing high-quality content is hard. Especially when your goal is to write lengthy articles in order to make your organic traffic grow. If you’re an experienced writer, you can write very lengthy posts of over 1000 words. If you know you’re not the best writer, we’d advise you to aim for around 700-800 words. In any case: make sure structure and readability are flawless.
If your text length score is an orange or red bullet, you need to add content. Write more original, quality text. Stay on-topic though. You’ve selected a focus keyphrase and your text should revolve around that. The Yoast SEO plugin readability analysis helps you, by checking things like how much you use your focus keyphrase, and how well you’ve distributed it throughout the text.
The most important thing when lengthening your text is that whatever you add should be relevant to your user. Think about questions a reader could have about the subject you’re covering. Can you answer those? Can you link to other relevant blog posts? Are there aspects of the subject you can elaborate on without losing focus? Take some time to think about the subject and what you can tell your readers, it could be well worth it. Keep in mind that you structure your text though, so it remains easy to read!
One way of structuring your text is by using headings. Headings within a text serve (at least) two purposes. First: they show a top-down hierarchy. You immediately see that a subject has, for instance, three subheadings that elaborate on it further. Another function is for scanning. These days, most people scan a web page rather than read it all from the introduction to the end. Let them know what a paragraph is about by using clear headings. That also makes your text pleasant to read, as a heading tells you what the next piece of text is about. Readability is very important. In fact, we believe that readability ranks! Headings make your long text easier to grasp for search engines and users alike.
The Yoast SEO plugin also helps you achieve better readability for your content. It checks if your sentences are of good length for example, or how to distribute your focus keyphrase throughout your content. To learn more about improving your readability, check out our article on the Flesch reading ease score.