As you may already know, content remains king in digital marketing. But how much content do you really need? Is 100 words enough, or is that too short? Is 3000 words an overkill?
Content length is one of the things you need to consider when creating an SEO strategy because it can affect the way your pages rank in search engines.
So what is the right content length? As you try to determine the ‘ideal’ number for your SEO needs, you are likely to find many contradicting opinions online. Be warned—many of those recommendations come from people who don’t know what they’re doing. In reality, there is no such thing as a minimum or maximum number of words required to rank well. It all depends on intent.
Understanding how Google reads text
The recent years have shown significant changes in RankBrain, with the core algorithm now featuring BERT, the neural network-based method for natural language processing Google uses to enhance the way it discerns English-language search queries. Google is utilizing natural language to understand semantic searches, context, and linked open data, so search engines are more capable of understanding context and concepts within content. It’s important to keep this in mind so you can decide what content length is appropriate for your strategy.
Is lengthy content always better?
No. You may have heard that long-form content is perceived as more beneficial for SEO than short form content, but this is not always true. It depends on your intent. A 600- to 700-word blog may work for some sites, but they may not bring the same results for your website.
Google has repeatedly emphasized that longer word count is NOT a guarantee for ranking. So the next time you see someone ranking with longer content and a higher word count, you might want to examine other factors that have helped them earn that position.
If you look up 100 different terms, you are likely to find that some of them return featured snippets that show up just below the AdWords block and right above the organic results. These snippets are derived from content that best matches the query. And you might wonder: What is the length of the content in the pages that make it to this prized featured snippet? There is no black-and-white answer. It varies. Some are as long as 14,000 words, while others less are than 800.
Data also shows that there is no direct correlation between ranking for a high-volume keyword and content length. What matters is context and specificity. Users want concise and exact answers. In fact, many of them do multiple searches when they’re seeking a clear answer to their question—and this means that there’s plenty of opportunity to create specific content around their particular needs. There is no need write extremely long content all the time, as most users want immediate answers to their short and highly specific queries.
Think beyond word count
Search engines now have a better way of understanding text, so you may want to focus on other factors besides word count. Since RankBrain’s release, Google has a much better understanding of the actual meaning of things. And with BERT, search engines are now able understand context.
The point? Write content that matches user expectation instead of an imagined “ideal” length that doesn’t exist. The objective is to be as human as possible when write. Once you have achieved that, you can return to the basics of SEO to optimize for search.
If you need help creating content that can help bring in relevant traffic and complement your SEO strategy, contact SEOValley.