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How Many Words per Post is Right?

Kudos to Indy Confluence for putting on a great networking event here in Indianapolis yesterday. Unlike most networking events, Indy Confluence led by Brett Healey and Erik Deckers, brought in a panel of folks here in the region to provide some value-added advice to all of its members. This month’s topic was Why is Corporate Blogging Critical to a Company’s Success and I was invited to be on the panel.

The panel was comprised of Chris Baggott, Rhoda Israelov, Rodger Johnson, Kyle Lacy and me.

It was a great discussion but one topic stuck in my craw: How many words should a blog post have?.

The conversation went throughout the table and most of the speakers pushed for pithy posts and the number 250 words was put out there as optimal. As the one ‘long copy’ blogger, I was outvoted by the panel.

For readers of my blog, you know I can’t even set up a blog post in 250 words (this post is a great example). I’ve got a ton of readers, great search engine placement, and a growing number of subscribers – and I’m never pithy! I analyzed the number of words per post and compared it to post popularity on my own blog and never found a correlation.

This time, I decided to look at some other blogs. Not just any blogs, though. I selected the top 5 results on Google when searching for Blogging for SEO. I figure anyone at the top end of that battle will have some consistency to their posts that could provide me with some insight. The five blogs analyzed were SEOmoz, SEO for Google, Online Marketing Blog, Hittail Blog, and the Daily SEO Blog.

Since these blogs are in a high volume search result, I’m assuming that they are both popular and relevant. I pulled the last 10 blog posts per blog for a total of 50 blog posts. This is, in no way, scientific but I believe the results reiterate what I argued during the panel.

Words Per Post Results:

  • SEOmoz had an average of 832.3 words per post with a median of 512.5 words per post.
  • SEO for Google had an average of 349.7 words per post with a median of 315 words per post.
  • Top Rank Blogs had an average of 742.5 words per post with a median of 744 words per post.
  • Hit Tail Blog had an average of 255 words per post with a median of 233 words per post.
  • Daily SEO Blog had an average of 450.8 words per post with a median of 507 words per post.

The final results are an average of 526 words per post and a median of 447 words per post. Of the 50 posts measured (10 per blog), only 6 of them were less than 250 words. In the past, I’ve proven that the size of the post has not impacted my blog’s readership. Now I’ll say it again, the advice I have for Words per Post is this:

The number of words you write per post should be the number of words it takes to complete the post’s key purpose. I’d add that the number of words per post should be somewhat consistent to meet the expectations of current readers. I don’t count the number of words – I make sure that if someone found my blog post from a search engine result that they get what they came for.

About Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of The Marketing Technology Blog. Doug is the CMO of CircuPress and CEO of DK New Media, an agency specializing in assisting marketing technology companies with their inbound marketing - leveraging social media, blogging, search engine optimization, pay per click and public relations. Their clients include Angie's List, GoDaddy, Mindjet and many more. Douglas is also the author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies.

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26 comments

  1. This information is very new to me. I’ve always divided a topic into several posts when it gets too large because I don’t want my readers to be overwhelmed by an overpowering sense of scrolling terror. Personally, I don’t like sites that I have to scroll down too much. Anyway, you’ve just presented some interesting things here. Perhaps, I should finish a topic in one post even though it would take more than 2500 words. Thanks for posting such an interesting article.

  2. If the content is relevant and worthwhile, like yours, Doug, then the length is unimportant. On the other hand, if a blogger is just talking to hear himself speak (which is too often the case, unfortunately), then that’s entirely another matter!

  3. Isn’t the key here content instead of number of words? If you have good content, people will link to you and thus give you Google authority, or keep the discussion alive in the comments and thus give Google the impression your website is updated regularly. And it’s easier to have good content with more then 250 words. Or am I missing something?

    • For folks who have blogged before, I think this is a no brainer and content is king. However, to the first-time blogger or corporation thinking about blogging, this is a question that comes up constantly so it’s important that we answer it.

  4. “The number of words you write per post should be the number of words it takes to complete the post?s key purpose”

    That’s the most sensible advice I’ve ever read on this subject.
    (Of course, as someone who writes rather long posts I’m biased :) )

    Regular readers of my blogs say they like my writing style, so I’m not going to change it because some say 250 words should be the max (it also allows a good mix of keywords for the SE’s too).

    Your posts are full of good info and an excellent read, so yes, great advice: don’t follow ‘the accepted norm'; find what works best for you and stop counting the words :)

  5. A blog post should have as many words as needed to get your point across.

    Nothing to say? No point = 0 words

    Maybe all you have to say is a sentence. But a really good sentence! You could end up in a book of quotes, for crimminy’s sake!

    Big fat bag of wind, but interesting bag of wind = write on! Let it out. Vent! Rant! Rave! Who cares how many words???? If it makes you feel better, do it! (This is more for the non-professional blogger.)

    People WILL read long posts IF the thoughts are strong enough to pull them along … if the writing is poor, no amount of words or shortage of words can save the post.

    Nuff said.

  6. I really tried to make this point when we were talking about the topic on the panel at Confluence. You do it with MORE class. :)

    @Cynthia Love the fact you said Vent, Rant, and Rave. The most read posts on my blog are when I am ranting and raving about something. :)

    • There’s a lot of misinformation in this industry and no one really has the magic bullet! Google still gives me bad search results sometimes and other times I stink at getting a post written well.

      I think it’s important to dispel the ‘opinions’ with some data to back it up! We’re still learning.

  7. Very good information! Thank you for sharing it.

  8. Nothing like using data to over-rule opinion.  My personal opinion on article (blog or otherwise) is “Good Writing Wins!”  The better the writing (grammar, content, narrative flow, etc.) the longer I will read it.

  9. Thank you for this post because I’ve been trying to figure this out.  Most of my posts are from 350 to 450 words per post.  I know when I go to a blog and the post is over 500 words, I just skim over it.  I don’t really think most people like to read long blogs.  I try to get my point across in less than 500 words.  Perhaps I’m wrong.  Anyway, just my thinking.  Sally

    • I definitely agree that folks are reading less.  We push our clients to use bulleted points, good images, and bold/emphasis wherever they can to capture the ‘skimmers’.  If you’re consistent, I think that matters more… so people can come to expect the same thing with each visit.

  10. Last month in a conversation with several friends led by Allison Carter and Jeremy Zucker it was concluded the right number of words per post was as you say, “The number of words it takes to complete the post’s key purpose.”

  11. I was looking for a magic number, and found the right answer!  Thanks,  matt

  12. The number of words you write per post should be the number of words it takes to complete the post’s key purpose.Word.

  13. This has help so much. Thank you. Now I am not panicked if I don’t hit 600 words. What’s the thinking on images?

  14. Good useful info. I felt that much over 700 words would cause the reader to be lost. Thanks for providing the documentation.

  15. Hi, Great post, thanks.
    has this changed over time? it would be interesting to see more current data.

    • I’m confident it has, @mikemorrison1:disqus, although my writing hasn’t changed much. Search engines are more appreciative of ‘thicker’ posts now with multiple media types, more text and more elements (bulleted text, subheadings, etc.)

  16. There are no hard and fast rules how much word per post is right. That is depends on the topic of post, how much post need to be describable in detailed. The post can have the different categories like some post are small, medium and long tail. The same standards are described in this post are seams had an average 832.3 words per post with a median of 512.5 words per post. The top tank blog had an average 742.5 words per post with a median of 744 words per post.

    • We haven’t rerun this analysis in years but it may be time. I believe that Google is looking far more at “thicker” pages with more words per page than in the past. Directories have been fluctuating in rank demonstrably over the last couple years. We try to have a minimum of 250 words and really try to hit 500 to 1000 words with the posts we’re trying to rank on.

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