“Just say the word count — su, su, SEO,” Phil Collins has likely never sung. Google would probably never sing it, either — as, according to Google executive John Mueller, the search giant doesn’t (at least directly) treat word count as a ranking factor.
Mueller insists that “just blindly adding text to a page doesn’t make it better.” It’s the overall quality, rather than simply quantity, of the material that matters when it comes to Google deciding whether it warrants a higher placing on Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages).
So, why do many online repositories of SEO advice suggest that longer-form content tends to fare better in search rankings? That’s because a higher word count can sometimes indirectly improve rankings…
What exactly is ‘quality’ content, anyway?
In Google’s eyes, it’s content that is relevant, original and genuinely pleasant to read. So, you want content that addresses a specific search query, does so in a fresh (but still practically useful) way and isn’t strewn with spelling or grammatical errors.
On your company’s behalf, our digital copywriting team can produce written SEO content ticking all of these boxes. Still, when briefing our copywriters on what you would like them to write for you, what word count should you specify? The answer can very much depend on your brand’s own goals and situation.
How can you settle on the ‘right’ word count?
In many instances, publishing longer content can ease the efforts of Google’s algorithm to decipher what the webpage is actually about. Consequently, Google will be able to more easily ensure that the content surfaces on the SERPs for search queries that are genuinely relevant to this content.
Having more words to play with could also help you to go into greater, more informative detail with this content — and, as a result, position yourself as an authority in your field. You would also theoretically have space to accommodate longer keywords.
Nonetheless, there’s no strict rule of thumb concerning how many words you should put into your web copy, online articles and any other SEO pieces. You should therefore pivot to considering what exactly you in particular are eager to achieve from a marketing standpoint.
It would make sense to lengthen much of your SEO content if, say, you want your website to rank for a much larger number and variety of keywords than is currently the case. It would also be wise for you to check how long your competitors generally go with their own output.
Remember to review your SEO performance regularly
In doing so, you could see whether you are seemingly hitting the ‘sweet spot’ with your chosen word counts. So, if some 500-word articles aren’t ranking as well as you want, you could look into whether you would be able to extend them with extra text that remains truly informative and relevant.
If you still can’t quite decide how many words a given piece should be, feel free to contact our SEO specialists for further, more tailored advice on the subject.