May 9, 2016

Is There a Minimum Blog Post Length for SEO?

The three biggest web search engines
The three biggest web search engines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Scroll down and take a look at this post for a moment. According to the MarsEdit software I am using to write it, it is exactly 406 words in length. So this is what roughly 400 words looks like. So what? I recently saw a confidently-worded recommendation that I had never encountered before that blog posts needed to be at least 400 words long in order to do well in Google's search results. Why 400 and not 300 or 500? No idea. If 400 is good, is 800 any better? Again, I have no idea. I don't even know if there is any basis for the minimum of 400 claim.

In an attempt to cure my ignorance, I did a bit of quick online research to see if I could find a clear answer. No such luck. Some sources said that there is a minimum blog post length for decent search engine optimization (SEO), but they couldn't seem to agree on what it was. Some said is was as low as 250; others said it was 300. Still others said that posts should be much longer for optimal SEO (i.e., over 1,000 words). And yes, some sources suggested that post length might not matter at all for SEO. As for reputable sources suggesting a 400-word minimum for SEO, I did not find any.

The situation was similarly unclear as I moved away from SEO and examined other considerations related to blog post length. Some sources argued that posts in excess of 1,500 words were more likely to be shared on social media. Other sources said that posts between 400 and 600 words are most likely to be read by the average reader. And yet, most seemed to agree that there was not one single metric that could determine the likelihood that a post would be read or shared because every blog has a different audience. Some even suggested that there might be benefits to varying the length of one's posts.

Conclusions:
  1. The lack of hard data supporting claims about minimum post length for SEO does not stop many people from making such claims.
  2. There seems to be little consensus about what the minimum blog post length for optimal SEO is, or even if there is one.
  3. Most people seem to agree that SEO should not be a blogger's primary consideration and that posts should be written for one's audience rather than for search engines.
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