Key takeaways in this post:

  • Numerous studies indicate that longer blog posts (typically 1,500 to 2,500 words) tend to attract more traffic, generate more leads and rank higher in search engine results.
  • While longer posts can perform better, always choose blog quality of blog length. Word count is not a ranking factor.
  • The average blog post length has increased over the years and is now reported to be 1,427. But with the rise of AI-generated content and changing user behaviors influenced by platforms like TikTok, there is a possibility that shorter, high-quality content might become more favored in the future.

Have you ever found the most delicious-looking recipe online, only to scroll through endless backstory? You think, that’s lovely that your grandmother served this chocolate cake every Fourth of July, but get to the recipe already!

There’s a reason that food blogs are long, and if you work in content marketing, you already know why: Longer blog posts tend to perform better.

But exactly what is the ideal blog length? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as one word count for all blogs. A quick Google search will give you a few different answers, ranging from 1,500 words to 2,400 words.

For the last decade, Orbit Media has conducted an annual survey that asks more than 1,000 bloggers about their process, promotion and content.

So, how long is a typical blog post? Orbit Media’s 2023 survey results say that the average blog post length was 1,427 words. And as you can see in this chart from their study, that’s an increase of 77% more words per post than 10 years.

Chart from Orbit Media Blogger Survey showing that blogs are getting longer.

Chart: From Orbit Media’s 2023 blogging survey

Of the 1,051 bloggers surveyed, half of them write posts 1,000 words or more. Specifically:

  • 3% write blogs with 3,000 words
  • 20% write blogs 1,500 to 2,000 words
  • 30% write blogs 1,000 to 1,500 words
  • 31% write blogs 500 to 1,000
  • 5% write blogs with fewer than 500 words

Orbit Media’s study isn’t the only data pointing to longer blog posts. HubSpot estimates the ideal blog post length is around 2,500 words. They based this on average reading speed and Medium’s optimal 7-minute read-time, plus research on HubSpot’s own blog traffic.

That same study by Orbit Media also reported that bloggers who write longer posts report better results. HubSpot shared that the blogs that generated the most leads were over this 2,500-word mark. In 2022, Semrush found articles with over 3,000 words got 138% more search traffic.

So, why do longer blog posts perform better? It could be because:

  • The longer a blog post is, the more comprehensive it seems, which gives a perception of higher quality
  • It aids scanning, with headings, subheadings and bullet points
  • It provides more opportunity for cross-linking and back-linking
  • It can be easier to use more keywords naturally while addressing various subtopics

Longer blog length does not mean comprehensive

Now here’s where things get tricky. Many bloggers find that longer articles rank higher, and most blogs these days are over 1,000 words. But Google has never said that longer blog posts are better. Back in 2020, John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, answered content writers’ burning questions on Twitter.

When someone asked, “What if I’m covering more information in less words than competitors? What will Google think about word count?” Mueller responded, “Why would a search engine use word count as a metric?”

What Google has officially said they’re looking for is comprehensive content. They give this example in their SEO Starter Guide: “If you describe your page as a recipe, provide a complete recipe that is easy to follow, rather than just a set of ingredients or a basic description of the dish.”

The AI and TikTok effect on blog length

According to Neil Patel, founder of NP Digital, the average blog length has leveled off in the last few years and he believes it will remain around 1,400 words – or even get shorter. Thanks to the flood of low-quality, long-form AI-generated content and the “TikTok effect,” he is even betting Google will start rewarding short-form content more in the future.

Does comprehensive content mean that your articles need to be more than 1,500 words? Or, should you be betting on lower article length, capitalizing on perceived decreasing attention spans?

When it comes to the optimal length for a blog, you’ll have to do some research to determine the right length for your industry.

To help, we’ve compiled the four questions you need to answer to find the magic number for your ideal blog length.

1. What is the goal of my content?

If you’re asking how long a blog should be, step back and make sure you know why you’re writing blogs in the first place. Here are some of the most common goals for healthcare organizations’ blogs:

  • To reach new patients through ranking highly in search results
  • To inform physicians
  • To educate patients
  • To establish credibility as an organization
  • To guide patients to a service line you’re promoting
  • To have an organized online space where good news about your organization lives

Your blog may have many of these goals overall, but each individual blog will only have one or two of these goals. And each goal dictates a different blog word length.

If your goal is to share good news about a service line’s recent award, you’ll want to keep your word count on the lower end. If your goal is to solidify your organization as a leader in medical research, you’ll want a word count that’s on the higher end. Spend some time reflecting on what you want people to do after reading your article and how you hope it benefits your organization.

If you are hoping to convert leads or establish authority, blogs over 2,000 words will still serve you well – at least for the time being. If you need to convey information to an internal audience, you may publish a blog that’s 500 words. If you’re educating a patient audience on a medical condition, 1,000-1,500 words is a good range.

2. Does this topic need a long-form post?

Let’s say you’re writing two articles about strep throat.

One of those articles is for the average person Googling, “What are the symptoms of strep throat?” so you don’t need a 2,000-word article detailing the illness. You just need to outline the tell-tale signs along with a call-to-action to schedule an appointment with their provider.

The other article is for physicians interested in the various antibiotics used to treat strep throat, so you may write a 3,000-word article. They’re looking for a more robust resource that tells them everything they need to know about each drug and how it works.

Speaking of a robust resource, there’s a name for this kind of blog post that tells a reader everything they need to know about a topic: Pillar Pages. HubSpot defines them as “an all-encompassing guide,” and they’re meant to be exhaustive. These could be upwards of 4,000 words and are usually reserved for your highest priority content categories or service lines. They’ll often link back to shorter blogs on more narrow topics.

To summarize, shorter posts are:

  • Announcement-style blogs for re-sharing and documentation
  • Succinct, clear answers to patient questions

While longer posts are:

  • Education-focused blogs for establishing authority
  • Pillar pages for high-priority content categories

3. Who is my audience?

The bottom line? Your audience’s needs should dictate your ideal blog length.

When you’re thinking about content length, look at what your audience is searching for. Answer The Public is a great tool that shows you the questions people are asking about a given topic.

In general, articles geared toward consumer or patient audiences will be shorter. They’re likely looking for a quick answer to a medical question or advice on living a healthier lifestyle. On the flip side, scientific articles geared toward researchers and physicians will be longer.

4. What’s the competition doing?

Type in the keyword you’re hoping to rank for on Google and check how long the top two or three posts are. (Word Counter Plus is an extension that makes this easy!) It’s a best practice to shoot for a word count that’s within 500-750 words of these high-rankers.

Now, your goal is to make your article even more valuable than the ones you found. Go ahead and read some of the articles on the first page of Google. Could the posts be more helpful? Could they use more detail? Your blog may have an opportunity to explain a topic or answer the question more clearly.

If your content is engaging, useful and answers your audience’s question, there is no “best length for a blog post.”

What matters more than ideal blog length, then?

  • Following updated SEO best practices
  • Considering the questions and needs of your audience
  • Presenting information clearly
  • Writing in plain language
  • Doing your research
  • Fact-checking
  • Organizing your content with headings and subheadings

That means that sometimes, your blog posts will be shorter and sometimes, they’ll be longer. And as long as write for your audience, your article will be a success.

WG Content’s team of healthcare writers will partner with your organization to create content that is right for you. Send us a message to learn more about how we can support your content marketing initiatives.

It’s essential to balance blog length with readability. Long posts should be well-structured with clear headings, subheadings, bullet points, and visuals to break up the text and make it more digestible. Using storytelling techniques, adding relevant anecdotes, and providing actionable insights can also enhance reader engagement. Remember, lengthy posts that are not well-organized could lead to high bounce rates, regardless of the content value.

Visuals and graphics are so important to blog posts these days. Adding images, videos, infographics and other multimedia elements can make longer posts more engaging and enjoyable. They can help:

  • Break up text
  • Clarify information
  • Support SEO

Digging into reader data can help you see if your posts are too long. Use analytics tools like Google Analytics to check for average time on page, bounce rate and scroll depth. Heatmapping software can show how far they scroll and where they click, helping you identify which sections of your blogs are most engaging – and where they might be losing interest.

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