Does the Content Length matter for SEO?

September 2, 2020

Do you want to enjoy first place rankings for your website? Are you eager to know number of words to have to achieve this target? Want to know optimum copy length for SEO? Going through this article will help you to know about SEO and word count to have.

“How many words do I write?”

This is rather a common question that is asked by many who are interested to improve their pages. Often, the copy’s purposed, required details and audience addressed to become secondary considerations. Whenever copy is mentioned for SEO, the discussion revolves around word count.

Myth surrounding word count

It is a common saying that large contents do better to garner better rankings. With the page having more contents, the search engines are likely to find your work as more ‘authoritative’ and rank you higher, a notion that is rather aggressively promoted in forums or Twitter. However, there is no fact about it. So, why the hype behind longer copy deriving better ranking pages?

Misunderstanding studies

Several studies have been conducted in this regard. A particular study published by Backlinko in April 2020 had stated that 1,447 words are present in the average first page result of Google. Some people may take it granted that to rank on the first page, there will be required around 1500 words. It is something not specified in the study. Rather, it suggests commonality among top ranking pages. It is not causation, but a correlation.

For SEO, then what is termed as the appropriate word count?

Several factors determine length of the page’s content, but not concerned with page ranking. Copy on page is not to help the search bot, but the human visitor. Copy length on that particular page needs to be as much that is necessary to help users to complete their objectives on this page. It can be either identifying the answer quickly to any question, convey product specifications or offer comprehensive explanation on any subject. The first & most important aspect is user-experience.

What really is the most appropriate word count needed?

You may be eager to know the number of words to pen down to derive first page ranking on Google. The fact is no particular set number exists to write. The page that manages to meet best the searcher’s query is perhaps the one that will be ranked higher by the search engine. Hence, ‘volume of words’ can be termed to be rarely something that is likely to be the user’s deciding factor. Copy quality and how well the query is answered are much more important. Measuring content quality with text volume on a given page is rather a wrong concept. A common notion is also that there needs to be plenty of words as much as possible on the page to derive top rankings.

Causation & Correlation

Both are quite confusing and tend to trip many when searching for word count. When checking out top five ranking pages for chosen search term is likely to pull up those having 2000 words approximately. This in itself is quite understandable that this is what exactly the solution to derive better rankings for the specific term. However, it is not exactly the case. It is not possible for word count be the deciding factor single-handedly. Longer pages may rank well because of their length, but indirectly. In a study conducted in 2015 revealed by HubSpot stated that longer pages are considered ‘link-worthy’ and more shareable. The page’s link profile may have resulted in better rankings.

More thorough answers offered by longer pages may have contributed to its enhanced rankings for few queries. The fact to understand is that causation is not associated with correlation. If a longer content manages to rank better when compared to shorter contents, then it cannot be termed as the reason for better page ranking.

What length should Copy be?

The truth is that in few instances, longer contents do offer better results than shorter ones. But this is not the case always. Hence, avoid this trap. As per Google SEO starter guide, ‘Clear, comprehensive, accurate and factually written contents are more preferred for rankings’. Comprehensive here, does not necessarily mean long contents. Rather, it includes everything essential and complete. Therefore, extensive copy should cover all the aspects desired by the use with regards to the query. Queries like ‘history about English monarchy’ is likely to involve huge a mounts of text and for others like ‘vegetable prices near me’ is likely to be significantly less.

Can extremely lengthy content be used?

Yes! One particular issue noticed with writing copy with specific word count is that this piece is likely to get diluted. The writer may repeat concepts or start padding to come up with the specified number of words for the page. This is only likely to affect readability factor and also make your viewers to lose interest in the page. It also affects the copy ranking for targeted keywords. Diluting content message will cause the page’s keyword theme to move away from its intended course. You are rather compelled to introduce various concepts just to increase content length rather than coming up with a crisp clear page. This will only affect your page ranking ability negatively for the targeted keywords. The amount of content to be written in a page will be to stop considering it as a target to achieve. Experts consider that for SEO, there is no specific word count. Rather, purpose to create the page needs to be focused upon.

Purpose of the page

When trying to rank it in organic search results, you need to keep in mind the very purpose for creating the page.

  • Is the page meant to provide valuable information?
  • Is it designed to redirect visitors to other pages created on the site?
  • Is this transactional page?

Its purpose is likely to influence the amount of copy it will require on it.

User Intent

It is rather the most crucial aspect while determining content length.

What is desired by the use on the landing page?

Getting to understand better user needs from the page will help you to come up with a comprehensive one, which can meet perfectly the user’s specific requirements. Creating a lengthy page only for the sake of it is not likely to help you or your user much. Even if you enjoy better rankings, you should not make it the ultimate goal for your SEO work. It is very important to convert traffic. In case, your page is visited by a user, who finds it irrelevant for the search term, then his/her need is not met properly.

Conversions

How conversion is affected by copy length is considered to be another major consideration to consider. Few pages may not need copy in huge numbers to help visitors to complete their actions. Moreover, excessive contents or any product category page will be found deterring for visitors.

Appropriate amount

Therefore, what can be stated as the correct SEO word count? The truth is there is simply no ideal word count! Rather, word count should not dictate copy length. The page content needs to be lengthy enough to convey perfectly the intended message, to allow users to fulfill their desired actions. In few SERPs, longer copy offers advantage. However, this alone cannot be termed as a determining ranking factor. Copy on page is not all about ranking. Rather, it needs to meet perfectly user needs and also boost conversion. No appropriate word count exists!

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