Is 500 Words Better Than 1000? - Sometimes, Yes

Last Update: October 14, 2019

The question of how many words a blog post should be comes up a lot.

And I have the perfect answer for you.

The perfect number of words will bring you 1st page rankings... and with it will come glory and salvation.

The perfect number is 1,387 words.

No, but seriously... there is unfortunately no good answer to it.

Some people will tell you to write at least 1000 words per post... some people will even do a minimum of 3000 per post.

But which is the right choice?

There Is No Good Answer

There was one point years ago when I would shoot for 750 words per blog post.

Then I bumped that up to 1000 words minimum.

Next thing I knew I was doing 1500 words minimum and even pretty recently I was making sure all my blog posts had 3000 words minimum on my one site.

At this rate in about a year's time I'd writing an entire book for each blog post.

But I Quit Doing This... For The Most Part Anyhow.

I was often adding in "fluff" and pointless words/sentences just to try to reach a desired word-count.

I was living and breathing by the word-count.

The word-count would keep me up at night and I couldn't under any circumstances publish a post unless I met the desired word-count... which didn't even make much sense.

Write Until You Are Done Writing

Sometimes I think it'd be better if there was no word count, but it's still a good metric to know where you are at in your writings.

The best answer as to how long a blog post should be is: however long it needs to be, which will depend greatly on the topic and the audience.

Topic:

What is the topic? If you are writing a post on "How to Make an Authentic Mexican Burrito from Scratch" it is going to require more words than a post on "How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich".

Audience:

Who do you think will read your blog post? Will it be young mothers? Sailors? Health enthusiasts? Book lovers?

If you are writing scientific articles which will attract people who like to read scientific articles (of course) then you will likely want to go into a lot of detail and really explain things.

But if you are just writing to provide some general information then it might not require much detail.

More detail isn't necesarily better. Sometimes we are just looking for some quick answers.

I don't know about you, but half of the stuff I search for on Google I only read a small portion of. I usually skim around and try to find a small piece of information.

500 Words Is Better Than 1000... In This Case

Recently I realized that with one of my websites I was still trying to shoot for 1000 word minimums, without really being much aware of it.

I also noticed that I was engaging in a small amount of fluffery at times... including worlds and sentences that weren't really needed just to try to lengthen my post.

To make a long story short... I quit doing this and am now writing much shorter posts that are more compact... some not much more than 500 words... and they are ranking just as well as far as I can tell.

To me this is great because it takes less time for me... and because of the audience I'm targeting I'm guessing they enjoy my shorter (and more to the point) articles as well.

..But Shorter Isn't Better

Shorter isn't better and neither is longer.

While a short article might be better in one situation a longer article might be better in another.

It does seem that Google is favoring longer articles more and more, but they don't always... as I have found out. They favor more information when they feel that more information will provide users with a better search experience.

Sometimes it does seem that Google places too much favor on long articles, but as they continue to improve their search algorithm they will continue to favor articles that are "however long they need to be"... which doesn't have a specific word-count attached to it.

Google and other search engines want to improve user experience. So this should be your focus... not word-count.

Crap... I just looked at my word-count. 735 not counting this.

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JeffreyBrown Premium
I haven't blogged much, but having written several books, 1500 words might be a page or a little over, and I write that in less than hour. Of course, the research might take alittle longer--LOL!

Jeff
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el-jefe-Kyle Premium Plus
That's not bad. The research is usually where the time goes. I often just research as I write.
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BobMargroff Premium
Great point! I find that although much of my writing is over 1000 words...it also varies. Sometimes I have over 1500, other times it might be closer to 2000.

But most times it’s just whatever gets my point across. Am I ranking high on Google? No...but that’s ok eventually I will get there. One day it’ll hit as a top ranking on Google and I’ll be happy for it.

But in the meantime...I’ll continue writing for content and whatever the word count...oh well.

Thanks for posting.

Bob M
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Joes946 Premium
Great points. I’m still trying to get it right.
Joe
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Helen123 Premium Plus
I write on average 1500-2000 per post. I consider more than 2500 to be too long and my audience won’t hang around long enough for the CTA. So if it’s longer than 2500 I’ll carry on going until I’m done, then split into two parts.. Links to both. In today’s society of scanners, looking for the specific piece Of information. Expecting them to read a blog of 3000 I think Is too much.
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el-jefe-Kyle Premium Plus
Good to know your audience. I've never split a post like you mention, but I think I'll have to give that a try sometime.
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JustAPerson Premium
Yeah I personally "hate" this writing for Google craze. Most of my articles are over 1,000 words but I don't force it and keep adding more and more just for word count.

I get why people do it... there are times a deeper look at a topic is very worthwhile. When we search and find short articles that we enjoy and wish they had more info.... that is a perfect example of how longer content is beneficial to readers.

And from a Google search traffic perspective I think maybe people look at so many factors and don't think enough about one thing.... time on a page. Obviously, if someone is reading an article that has 2,000 words they are spending about 4 TIMES longer on that page than if the article was 500 words.

It doesn't mean the longer article is "better" it just means there is 4 times as much to read so time on the page scales up by a huge amount. In general of course. And it doesn't mean TOP will increase by 4 times. It might be 3x or 2x because not everyone will read it all.

On the other hand, if you are Seth you can instead write one tiny blog post per day and "kill it".

https://seths.blog/

Or one of the numerous popular recipe blogs or short poetry blogs etc.
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