We can almost guarantee that someone at some point in your digital marketing career has told you that Google will only rank pages of content that meet a specific word count but then been told by someone else that word count doesn’t matter at all. So, how are you supposed to understand the truth of word counts and ranking factors?
Let’s look together and see if we can put one above the other to get your pages ranked and found through organic traffic.
While we can all agree that a set and specific word count has never been given to us by the Google Algorithm, we can also raise questions about how many words make a good, strong page.
If you have any further questions after reading our latest article, don’t hesitate to contact our team; we are happy to help explore more research with you! As a digital marketing agency, our job is to help you quiet the noise that Google makes!
Word Count – Does Google Have Something Specific In Mind?
Controversially, we will start the answer to this with a yes and a no. Confused? Don’t be.
A set of queries prompts every algorithm Google works towards inputted into a search engine; Google will then break that down into whether it is informational, transactional or commercial. Through these tags, it decides how much content you should have, as an example.
Google’s ranking algorithm isn’t one-size-fits-all but adapts based on many variables. Whether the search query is informational or transactional, the geographic location, the search time, and even the user’s search history can affect the algorithm’s evaluation of what makes a page important.
There’s no fixed standard for how many words a top-ranking page should have. While an informational query may yield top-ranked pages with an average of 2,000 words, a transactional or localised query might show top results with just 800 words.
Google may not explicitly consider word count, but content depth and value are crucial. Your page should showcase your expertise and provide rich, user-friendly content. If competing pages offer more in-depth or valuable content, your chances of ranking high may be compromised.
Being subpar compared to existing top-ranking pages will likely negatively affect your standing. While some guidelines advocate that longer content generally performs better in search rankings, it’s not a rule set in stone.
Do Frequently Asked Questions Affect Performance?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can have a meaningful impact on your web page’s performance and increase the word count; this is where you can easily fall into a hole of lengthy, over-optimised content!
While they contribute to the overall word count, which can benefit SEO, their real strength lies in the quality and relevance of the content they offer. You want to avoid spamming your frequently asked questions with lengthy answers; the shorter, the better!
Well-crafted FAQs can incorporate relevant keywords and long-tail phrases, enhancing your page’s visibility for varied search queries. Moreover, by providing direct, valuable answers to common questions, FAQs can improve user engagement metrics like time-on-page and bounce rate, indirectly influencing your site’s ranking on Google.
Thus, when done right, FAQs can be a valuable component of your SEO strategy.
How Can You Find The Ideal Word Count
Finding the ideal word count for your content, particularly with SEO in mind, is a challenging task because Google’s algorithm considers a myriad of factors beyond just word count. However, there are several strategies you can use to make an educated guess:
One of the most effective ways to gauge the ideal word count is by analysing the top-ranking pages for the keywords or queries you’re targeting. This gives you an idea of what Google considers ‘comprehensive’ for a specific topic.
Understand the user intent behind the search query. Informational queries require in-depth, long-form content, while transactional queries necessitate shorter, more direct content.
Quality Over Quantity:
Always prioritise the quality of your content over the word count. Unnecessarily long articles that lack substance can have high bounce rates, which may negatively affect SEO.
Consider your audience’s reading habits. If your target audience prefers in-depth guides, then longer content may be beneficial. If they want quick answers, a shorter format might be more effective.
Test and Iterate:
SEO is an ongoing process. Publish your content, monitor its performance, and be prepared to make adjustments. A/B testing can provide insights into what your audience prefers and what Google is more likely to rank higher.
By combining these factors, you can arrive at an ‘ideal’ word count tailored to your specific needs and audience. Remember that SEO algorithms are constantly evolving, so it’s essential to stay updated and be willing to adapt.
Long-Form Vs Short-Form Content
When it comes to SEO and ranking on Google, both long-form and short-form content have their merits, but they serve different purposes and are better suited for different kinds of queries.
Long-form content, often exceeding 2,000 words, is generally more comprehensive and provides an in-depth exploration of the subject matter. It’s well-suited for informational queries and has a higher likelihood of incorporating a wide range of relevant keywords, long-tail phrases, and backlinks, thus often performing well in search engine rankings.
On the other hand, short-form content, usually under 1,000 words, is more concise and gets straight to the point. It’s ideal for answering specific questions or addressing transactional queries and can be just as effective in ranking for targeted keywords.
Ultimately, the “best” length for your content should be determined by the needs of your audience and the nature of the search query you aim to rank for.
Getting Your Word Count Is Crucial, But There Is No Set Number!
While word count is an important aspect to consider in your SEO strategy, there’s no one-size-fits-all number that guarantees high rankings on Google; this we can say with certainty.
The ideal word count can vary greatly depending on factors such as the nature of the query, user intent, and competition.
Long-form content may be more effective for in-depth, informational queries, allowing for a comprehensive exploration of the topic, keyword inclusion, and valuable backlinks.
Short-form content, on the other hand, can be equally effective for transactional or specific queries where users are looking for quick, precise answers.
The key is to focus on delivering high-quality, relevant content that addresses the needs of your audience rather than fixating on hitting a specific word count.
Therefore, while word count is crucial, it should be viewed as a flexible component within a broader, more nuanced SEO approach.
To learn more, pick up the phone and speak to our team!