Does word count really matter for SEO? And if so, what is the ideal length for blog posts? In this article we’re going to unpack the muchly debated topic of how long blog posts should be for SEO.
Is there really an ideal post length? This is something that been discussed, argued, and debated for almost as long as search engines have existed. However, when crafting content there are two main variables at play which will ultimately dictate your blog post length:
- Search intent
- Subject matter
The ideal length on a blog post about the differences between all the social media platforms is naturally going to have a different ideal length to that of a blog post on how to update your PC.
The reason for this is because one subject demands more information than the other in order to convey a complete answer. Search intent is also responsible for determining the length of a blog post. A person wanting to know all the differences between social media platforms is looking to consume a more substantial article than the person looking for a quick how-to on updating their PC.
In saying that, attention retention is becoming more and more prevalent in the online world. People expect their questions to be answered efficiently and accurately. So where does that leave us? Short content, or longer form content? Well, to start peeling back the layers of this answer, let’s see what Google has to say about it.
Google’s Perspective on Ideal Blog Post Length
According to Google, word count is not a ranking factor. A page that has 1,000 words will not automatically be deemed higher quality than that of a page with 500 words.
Anytime someone has turned to Google to answer their question on ideal blog length, Google churns out a consistent message.
As said by Google’s John Mueller:
“Word count is not indicative of quality. Some pages have a lot of words that say nothing. Some pages have very few words that are very important & relevant to queries. You know your content best (hopefully) and can decide whether it needs the details.”
Google’s algorithm is engineered to satisfy search intent as best as possible. And sometimes the intent of a search may call for a shorter article over a longer article, and sometimes the opposite.
Quality > Article Length. Every time.
Many people put too much focus on the average word length and as a result end up losing focus of the main idea. Sure, your content needs to have substance, but if it’s a 2,000+ word article talking about something that could have been spoken about in 1,000 words, you’re focusing too much on length and not enough on subject matter and intent.
Content can take many forms and be consumed in a variety of ways. But it shouldn’t be your end goal to write an article of 2,000 words because that is seen as the ‘ideal length to rank well’.
Your aim should be to write the most relevant, useful, and optimised version of content that matches searcher intent and answers the questions your target audience are asking.
Spend some time getting to know who your audience are, how they consume content and how best to satisfy their search intent. Your users will thank you for it.