Long Content for SEO?

Posted on by Daniel Hinds
Categories: Copywriting Tagged: , , ,

The general rule of thumb is that more content is better than less content, but for a lot of people, the average blog post is 300-500 words and 500 is given the “more content” designation. It turns out, we may be being a bit generous. Based on a recent study by the excellent Neil Patel, the most successful content isn’t just long, it’s really long, to the tune of about 2,500 words. Let’s take a look at his findings and what they mean for SEO in today’s content-centric world.

This came to light when Neil tried to trim a thousand words off of his landing page for an A/B test, and the new, slimmer page got dominated by the older, longer page. From there, he looked at serpIQ, who had analyzed over 20,000 keywords, and he noticed a pattern in the data

The average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words. The higher up you go on the search listings page, the more content each web page has.

Here is a graph that illustrates the point:

Wordcount SEO

As you can see, Google clearly prefers the more content-heavy results. It starts at 2,416 and goes all the way down to 2,032. Not a huge spread, but a clear indication of more content being better than less.

It’s not just about content length though. It actually has a lot to do with backlinks. Believe it or not, even in today’s world where most people haven’t read a book since they were forced to read A Tale of Two Cities in high school, people prefer longer content, and they link to it more.

To prove the point, here are the article from Moz sorted by length:

Moz Wordcount


And, in the same order as above, how many links each of those articles received:

Moz Word Length Links


You don’t have to be a statistician to see that there’s a pretty clear correlation between overall length and amount of backlinks received.


Does this mean that all of your content has to be over tw0 thousand words long? Of course not. When you’re able to be succinct, it’s better to be succinct. Padding out a 500 word article with fluff until it hits 2,400 words isn’t going to do you any good. The content needs to be long and valuable.

What this does mean, is that you should be searching for opportunities to write long pages. It’s natural to think of a topic and then shy away from it because it seems to big to tackle. I’m telling you to tackle those topics! Try and do one longer article every two weeks and see where it gets you. We know we will.

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