Writing a 500 words blog post is too short in most cases. At least in terms of covering the reader’s questions inside those 500 words, and for having a good chance to rank in the search engines on more competitive topics. 500 words or less can absolutely rank #1 and drive a lot of traffic, but writing a really good short blog post is often not easier or faster than writing a longer post.
The ideal content length is the needed words to answer in-depth and deliver the best possible result for the search query.
There is one question that every writer and blogger has when they start making blog posts: How long should my blog posts be?
Maybe you planned to have a super long article but your creativity and knowledge only stretched up to 500 words.
But is 500 words too short for a blog post? How short is too short when talking about blog posts?
The truth is that in most cases, 500 words blog posts might be too short to completely answer the reader’s query. But there are rare occasions in which a short 500-word blog post is totally ok.
But content length isn’t the most important factor to rank on Google.
In fact, you should put most of your efforts into quality which is much more important.
If you want to rank high, you should focus on providing useful information to the reader. Nothing more, nothing less.
Let’s explore the aspects of a good blog post and why you should focus more on delivering quality over fluff.
Table of Contents
How Long Should a Blog Post Be?
You’ve probably heard people claiming that short blog posts perform better on Google’s Search Engine Page Results (SERP.)
Or you might have heard the complete opposite. With people saying that longer blog posts are here to stay.
So who should you be listening to before losing your mind?
Well, according to a 2013 study done by Medium, the ideal blog post reading time is around 7 minutes (which is around 1,600 words).
In another study, Backlinko analyzed over 11.8 million Google Search Results and found out that the average Google first page result contains an average of 1,447 words.
So, does this means that short content is dead?
Well, not exactly.
In fact, you can totally rank #1 in Google with a 500-word blog post.
Because the ideal content length is one that explores a specific question in-depth and delivers the best possible result.
But even when long blog posts aren’t inherently better than their short counterparts, the data shows that they mostly rank higher.
That’s because short content has one clear disadvantage.
If a competitor sees your 500-word article sitting peacefully as the #1 result, they can outrank you with a longer article exploring the same query.
That’s why it’s important to do extensive research on the topic and make sure to answer as much as you can!
So what should your content length look like? Well, here’s what we found out:
The Statistically Perfect Content
Income School offers some insight about this topic on their YouTube channel.
They say that your word count has to match the query.
And honestly, some queries don’t deserve more than 1,000 words.
Google will only care about the specific query you’re trying to answer.
Let’s say that your blog post completely answers the question in about 500 words. But you decide to add 1,500 extra words of fluff because stats say that “longer is better.”
Well, for ranking factors, Google will only take into consideration those first 500 words because that’s what Google cares about!
Trying to answer more than what the query is about will be useless for many reasons:
- Google won’t even know what your article is about.
- People will see that your content is semi-related, but not exactly what they searched for.
So trying to add “value” with facts and statistics just to reach that desired word count won’t make your content any better.
If anything, you’re creating the opposite results.
Here’s some advice to deliver the best possible result:
Stay on Topic!
Answer as much of the question as you can. When you feel like you can’t stretch your words anymore, don’t do it.
It’s better to have a high-quality 500-word blog post than a 2,000-word blog post filled with random facts and unwanted fluff.
If you truly did the best possible result, then feel safe to leave it like that and call it a day.
Take a Look at The Competition
Depending on your niche, the level of competition will be different.
That’s why you should focus on what people in your niche are doing, and then find a way to fill the gaps and do it better.
If your competitors are getting away with blog posts of about 3,000+ words, then maybe your 500-word blog posts will be in serious trouble.
But what if you see that your competition is mostly producing short content?
If you want to stand out, you can totally take advantage of that.
Do your research and see if you can create a longer blog post with depth and totally outrank them!
Understand the Complexity of your Query
This should be very obvious, but the more complex a query is, the longer the answer should be.
Sure, if you can simplify it that’s a good thing.
But some questions need meaningful explanations that fully cover the topic and leave people feeling like they actually learned something.
But if you come across a not-so-complicated topic, it’s okay if you run out of inspiration when you reach 800 words.
When Are 500 Word Blog Posts Ok?
Writing a post takes a lot of time, and some posts don’t need that much time.
There are some occasions where it’s totally ok to have some 500 words blog posts.
Here are some common examples:
When You Want To Answer Very Specific Questions
Some websites have pages dedicated to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs.)
This is good because you might be tackling a question that your readers have. And also, when you write precise answers to frequent questions you can even appear as a Featured Snippet on Google and use it to your advantage.
To Cover Certain News
The new iPhone’s features? Yeah, maybe a 1,000 article on that topic is too much.
Sometimes the news is too recent or there isn’t enough data out there yet.
So it’s totally ok to cover the basics and update the post later on when there’s more information about it.
To Share a Story
There’s no word limit when sharing a story.
Any testimonies, interviews, conversations, or short blog posts that involve people sharing anecdotes are always welcome.
Because the main purpose of this blog post is to connect with the reader, and the connection can be done in less than 500, so be it.
To Create Discussion
The Write Practice uses this short article as an example of how you can create discussion without squeezing every possible word.
But you can also create a discussion with longer articles, like this one from Backlinko, which has around 1,300 words and 700 comments.
The Bottom Line
So, is 500 words too short for a blog post? In most cases, yes, but not all the time.
While it’s pretty obvious that short content isn’t dead, long blog posts get all the prizes when talking about blog post length.
However, you should focus more on providing a quality article (even if it barely reaches 500 words), than providing a fluffy 2,000-word article filled with no real value to the readers.
And as you grow, you can try out different length formulas and see what works for you.
All blog posts are different. Whether they’re short or long, they should all give the reader one feeling: fulfillment.