When you’re writing out your content, of course, one of the most important things you’re thinking about is the best way to get your message across, whatever message that may be. Perhaps you’re trying to sell something, educate someone, inspire someone, just chatting to your readers.
However, while the message is obviously important, have you ever considered about how the length of your content affects your content’s performance? Most notably, have you ever considered how it might affect your SEO ranking?
More often than not, this probably slips your mind, although you’ll want to keep things short and concise, so your readers aren’t bored, could this actually affect how your content is being discovered, and if so, what’s the optimal word count? Let’s find out.
Of course, one of the best ways to get your content to the top of the SERPs is by getting backlinks from other websites. A good indication of how great your content can be the number of backlinks you get which can ultimately lead to higher search engine rankings.
With this in mind, it’s important to note that longer content tends to get more backlinks in general. This is because the content is generally regarded as more informative and is explained in more detail, hence why it gets more backlinks. Writing for the sake of increasing word count is not a great idea as it must be all informative content for it to be worth sharing and linking to.
This is, of course, assuming the content has been written to a high-quality. This means checking your grammar and proofreading your content to make sure it’s perfect. Some students have shown that poor grammar online can scare away 59% of your readers.
However, this assumption of the consideration that, the longer the content, the better your posts will perform, right?
Looking to prove this, we searched the internet and found out that Moz has carried out independent research to see whether the length of your content does have an effect on it SEO ranking, and it turns out it does.
In line with what the information from above, the average #1 spot on the Google SERP measures in around 2400 words, which is relatively long-form to what people are used to. However, that doesn’t mean that 2400 random words are going to rank higher than an actual article that’s been written to the highest quality.
Which leads us nicely onto our next point…
Since the rise of social media, this has been an important addition to the internet, especially when it comes to content. Viral content would be basically impossible without it. Content is written, content is posted, and ultimately, content is shared.
According to the same Moz survey back in 2011, posts with 1,500 words or above averaged 68.1% more tweets, and 22.6% more Facebook likes that content that totalled less than 1,500 words. This all seems very promising.
Even if you’re struggling to produce valuable content, there are plenty of services and solutions out there to help you. For example, a site like Upwork is great to find freelance writers who can create your content on your behalf.
The longer the content can translate into more shares, like, backlinks and therefore result in higher rankings, but is this always the case?
Potentially Deceiving Data
One of the main problems is the fact that this data doesn’t take into account the graphs that are being used in these studies. Take a look at this graph by Can I Rank?.
You’ll notice the obvious downward correlation between the number of words used and the ranking in the search engine results. However, notice on the Y scale that the graph starts 750 words per piece, and ends at 1150 words.
Now look at this graph by the same company:
This time starting the graph at 0 words and goes up to 2000 words per piece. As you can see, there’s basically no difference when it comes to the number of words you’re using in your piece.
With this in mind, what are you supposed to believe?
It’s All About Sending A Message
This is only scratching the surface when it comes to the argument of whether the word count of your content affects your search engine ranking, and there are plenty of arguments for both sides. However, I believe this is something you should ignore.
“I’ve seen posts like ‘best travel listicles’ with no more than 500 words top Google for months, as I have pieces with over 6,000 words. What’s important for getting to the top is the message you’re sending in your content, as well as its overall quality” shares Allison Myers, an SEO consultant for Australian Help.
Even if you get stuck, there are many services out there that can help you with the content writing process, such as State of Writing and Academadvisor that supply content-writing guides.
If you spend time making sure your content is perfect for your reader, written to the very best standard, stands out from the crowd and provides real value and information to their lives, this is where you’ll find success, and this is how you’ll be able to get to the top of the SERPs.
It’s worth bearing in mind that there are plenty of other SEO-related topics you should be thinking about that will affect your overall ranking, such as having original content. If you need to check to make sure, you can use plagiarism checking services like Copyscape and Academized to help.
This doesn’t mean you can waffle on and on about a subject, on just bullet-point things you want to say. You need to be concise, engaging, and accurate with your content. In short, aim to give your audience the best experience with your content, and this is what you will find the most success with.