In the SEO landscape, there is constant discussion about the importance of word count for ranking purposes. While some say it’s a minor factor, others believe it’s a key element of on-page optimization. However, the truth is that word count can be important for your SEO strategy – if you know how to use it.
With recent Google algorithm updates, the way we approach on-page optimization has changed. In the past, it was all about cramming in as many keywords as possible to improve your chances of ranking. However, Google’s latest update (Helpful Content) has made this approach obsolete.
Now, the focus is on producing quality content that is helpful to users and relevant to their search queries. So, how can word count play a role in this new SEO landscape?
Before we answer that question, it’s important to answer a few questions first:
Does Word Count Really Matter For SEO Content?
The debate about the role of word count in SEO has been going on for years. Many believe that the longer the article, the better. After all, more content means more keywords, which should theoretically improve your chances of ranking.
However, others argue that it’s not the number of words but the quality that counts. In other words, a shorter article can be just as effective – if not more so – than a longer one.
So, who is right?
In general, Google does favor longer articles. The length of the article makes it easier for search engines to determine what it is about.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should make your posts lengthy for the sake of it. Search engines can distinguish between quality content and fluff. Not to mention, your readers will likely appreciate well-written, concise articles more than lengthy ones.
The key is to find the right balance between quantity and quality. It is important to provide enough information to thoroughly cover the topic while keeping your article interesting and easy to read. Moreover, articles with high word counts are given more authority and are often seen as more trustworthy.
Is Word Count A Ranking Factor?
According to Google’s John Muller, word count is not a ranking factor. In other words, Google does not use the number of words on a page to determine its ranking.
Muller states, “From our point of view the number of words on a page is not a quality factor, not a ranking factor. So just blindly adding more and more text to a page doesn’t make it better.”
However, that doesn’t mean that word count is entirely irrelevant to SEO. While it may not be a direct ranking factor, it can indirectly influence your ranking.
How? By affecting other on-page factors that are known to be ranking factors. For example, longer articles tend to have more social shares, backlinks, and engagement, all of which are known to influence ranking.
In addition, articles with high word counts are often seen as more trustworthy and authoritative, both of which are qualities that Google favors.
Why Long-Form Content Tends To Rank Higher?
Although a word count is not a direct ranking factor, longer articles tend to rank higher than shorter ones. This is likely because they provide more value and are more comprehensive, making them more likely to be relevant to a user’s query. Tools like Yoast and Clearscope provide recommended word counts for this very reason.
There are various other reasons why longer content tends to rank higher. In addition, comprehensive content also positions you as an authoritative source on the topic and enables you to rank for long-tail keyword variants.
How To Determine The Right Word Count For Your Content?
As mentioned before, there’s no magic number when it comes to the word count for SEO. However, there are some factors that you can take into account to help you determine the ideal length for your content.
Here are a few things to consider:
Start With Your Keyword Strategy
Before you start writing, you need to clearly understand your target keywords. Once you know what keywords you want to rank for, you can start to determine the ideal word count for your article.
For instance, if you are targeting a long-tail keyword, you will need to write a longer article to rank for that keyword. This is because long-tail keywords are usually more specific and have less competition.
On the other hand, if you are targeting a short-tail keyword, you can get away with a shorter article. This is because short-tail keywords are usually more general and have more competition.
In addition, the number of keywords you want to target will also play a role in determining the ideal word count for your article. If you are targeting multiple keywords, you will need to write a longer article to cover all those keywords.
Consider Your Competition
When you are trying to rank for a certain keyword, it’s important to take a look at the competition. See what type of content is ranking for that keyword and try to match or exceed their word count.
There are many keyword tools that provide information on the word count of the top-ranking articles. This can give you a good idea of how long your article needs to be to compete with the other articles.
Take Search Intent Into Account
The search intent associated with the targeted keyword can also help you determine the right word count for your content. The goal is to satisfy the searcher’s intent with your content.
If the search intent is informational, you will need to write a longer article to provide comprehensive information.
Conversely, if the search intent is transactional, you can get away with a shorter article because the goal is to get the reader to take action.
Search intent plays an important role in determining the word count for your content. Make sure you take it into account when planning your content strategy.
Review Your Performance
You can also look at your past performance to explore the best word count options for your SEO strategy.
Monitor your SEO performance regularly and look for any trends that may emerge. For instance, if you notice that certain types of content perform better than others, you can try to replicate that success by writing similar content.
This will help you to determine the types of articles that work best for your business and allow you to adjust your word count accordingly.
What Is the Best Word Count for SEO?
According to a study published by Backlinko, the average word count of the top 10 results in Google is 1,447 words.
However, this number should not be taken as a hard and fast rule. It is crucial to understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to word count. The best way to determine the ideal length for your articles is to analyze your competition and see what is working for them.
It also depends on the type of article you are writing. For instance, listicles and how-to guides tend to do well with shorter word counts, while in-depth guides and case studies perform better with longer ones.
Here is a general guide to the ideal word count for various types of articles:
Blog posts are articles you write that can be about any topic, but they are usually industry-related and provide valuable information to your readers. The ideal word count for blog posts ranges anywhere between 300 to 1,000 words.
However, in-depth articles such as tutorials and how-to guides should be closer to 1,500 words. Of course, this number can vary depending on the topic you are writing about and the depth of coverage you are providing.
Educational content is usually longer and more comprehensive than other types of articles. This is because you are teaching your readers about a concept, product, or process they may be unfamiliar with.
As a result, it is important to include clear and concise explanations and instructions. The ideal word count for educational content should be a minimum of 2,000 words. Content with lesser word counts might be perceived as lacking in depth and detail.
Product pages are designed to sell a product or service. As such, they need to be clear and concise while still providing enough information to convince the reader to make a purchase.
The word count for these may differ depending on the product you are selling. A word count of around 300 to 400 words for simple items should suffice. However, you will need to provide more detailed descriptions for more complex products. In these cases, a word count of 600 to 800 words is ideal.
In short, it’s best to avoid excessively long descriptions on product pages.
News articles are usually short, ranging from around 500 to 800 words. This is because they need to be concise and to the point while still providing all the relevant information. This length also makes them more digestible for readers looking for a quick update on current events.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you are writing an in-depth analysis of a breaking news story, your article may be closer to 1,000 words.
The goal of landing pages is to convert visitors into leads or customers. To do this, they must be clear and concise while providing enough information to persuade the reader.
The ideal word count for landing pages is usually around 500 words. This is because you want to get straight to the point and avoid overwhelming the reader with too much information.
However, this number can vary depending on the product or service you are selling. If you are selling a complex product, you will need to provide more detailed descriptions. In these cases, a word count of 600 to 800 words is ideal.
Overall, the word count for SEO purposes should be based on the quality of the content. It is important to focus on the article’s intent and provide value to your readers.
4 Key Tips To Achieve Your Target Word Count
Finding the word count sweet spot is different from achieving it. If you’re having trouble hitting your target, here are 4 key tips to help you out:
1. Break Up Your Posts Into Sub-Topics With Headings
One of the easiest ways to increase the word count of your articles without hurting the user experience is to break up your content into smaller subsections. These subsections can then be organized into headings to improve the article’s scannability.
Not only will this make your articles longer, but it will also make them easier to read and more comprehensive. This is because each sub-topic can be explored in further detail. As a result, your readers will be able to learn more about the main topic of the article.
In addition, you can use headings to incorporate key terms to further improve your SEO. However, it is important to only use one H1 tag per article. For sub-topics, you can use H2 and H3 tags.
This is a great technique to use if you find yourself struggling to hit your target word count. By breaking up your content, you can make sure that each section is comprehensive and informative. This will prevent your article from feeling like one long block of text.
2. Provide Sufficient Detail And Explanations That Even A Child Can Follow
Another great way to increase the word count of your articles is to write tutorial-style pieces that even a child can follow. These articles are usually longer because they need to provide a step-by-step guide on doing something. This comes in really handy when you’re expanding posts, especially how-to posts or tutorials.
When writing these types of articles, it is important to be as clear and concise as possible. This means using simple language and short sentences. You should also focus on covering each tutorial step in detail.
It is advised to break up the steps into a list format so that readers can easily follow the natural course of the walkthrough. You can also use visuals, such as images or videos, to help complement your written content.
3. Backup Your Claims With Research And Statistics
Supporting your claims with research and statistics can lengthen your posts and make them more credible. This is especially important if you are writing about a controversial topic.
Find data or studies that back up your claims and then link to the original sources. This will add more depth to your content while showing that you are knowledgeable about the topic.
Including research and statistics in your posts can also help encourage readers to explore the topic further. If they are interested in the data you have presented, they will be more likely to click on the links you have provided.
It is important to note that while this is a great way to increase the word count of your articles, you should only use data that is relevant to the topic and is from a reliable source. Otherwise, it will just clutter up your post and turn readers away.
4. Remove Unnecessary Fluff
Many marketers make the mistake of thinking that more content is always better. However, this is not the case. In fact, including too much fluff in your articles can have the opposite effect.
Fluff refers to words or sentences that don’t add value to your content. This can include filler words, such as “just” or “actually,” or overused phrases, such as “in today’s day and age.”
There are situations when fluff can be useful, such as when you are trying to pad out a post to meet a word count requirement. However, in most cases, it is best to remove any unnecessary fluff from your articles.
Not only will this make your content more concise, but it will also make it more readable. This is because your readers can easily identify the most important information.
This technique can be especially helpful when you are looking to cut down on the word count of your article. By removing any fluff, you can easily reduce the length of your post without sacrificing quality.
In addition to removing fluff, you should also avoid using jargon in your articles.
Jargon is an industry-specific language that is not commonly understood by the average reader.
Using jargon in your articles can alienate your readers and make your content difficult to understand. Unless you are writing for a specific audience, it is best to avoid using any jargon in your articles.
Publishing fresh, unique, high-quality content is essential for any effective online marketing strategy. However, determining the correct length for your posts can be difficult. We believe this guide provides some helpful tips on how to create content of the ideal length for your readers and search engines.