Content plays a large role in SEO and undoubtedly influences the position of pages in organic search results. However, there has long been a debate among SEO specialists as to whether the length of content is a Google ranking factor. Let’s check how the number of characters in the content affects the SEO of the website and whether the length and amount of content on the website can improve search rankings.
Content marketing and SEO – the importance of content creation in SEO
Why do on-page content and content marketing play an important role in SEO? This is due to several elements:
– thanks to the content, you can place keywords on the website with which you want to reach users – incl. thanks to the content, users will find you in the Google search engine,
– thanks to the content, you can improve the navigation on the website – by placing internal links in them,
– with the help of valuable content, you can increase traffic on the website,
– using content, you can reach new recipients and build a profile of incoming links to the website,
– thanks to content, you can provide users with information that is useful for them in the process of making online purchasing decisions,
– through the content, you can extend the time users stay on the website.
The length of the content in SEO
Does the number of characters in positioning matter? Just a few years ago, many website owners, shoppers and bloggers could hear that blog content should, for example, have a minimum of 2,000 characters including spaces, and the longer the content, the better. Currently, SEO trends are changing, and the search engine wants to provide users with the results that are most valuable to them. Thus, long content, saturated with keywords, does not have to be the best. For the Google search engine, meeting the needs of users plays a greater role than the length of the content. Thus, both longer and shorter content find their place in the content marketing strategy and can improve the effects of website positioning. There is no answer to the question of how long a blog post / category description or product description should be. There are no general, predetermined guidelines that state that each blog article must have a certain number of characters. The length of your SEO content depends on a number of factors, including:
– subject matter – some issues require a broad approach to the subject,
– industry – in some industries there is a tendency to create longer content for SEO purposes,
– the size of competition – the more competitive the industry, the theoretically the need to create longer content.
However, there is no need to forcefully extend your SEO content just to place more keywords. Remember that the basic assumption that the content on your website should meet is satisfying the needs of users. Content should sound natural, not artificial. So avoid keyword stuffing. Content should be specific and useful.
Is content length a ranking factor?
Google has never published a list of all ranking factors. We know that there are over 200 of them, but most of them result from the practice of SEO experts, not the direct claims of Google employees themselves. It also results in a lot of controversy as to the impact of specific elements on the positions in organic search results. One of them concerns the length of the content. Is content length a ranking factor on Google? There are two different positions on this point. Some SEO specialists say that the number of characters has an impact on SEO results. They base their position on certain dependencies, e.g. such that more incoming links often lead to longer content. The belief that content length is a ranking factor also results from a misunderstanding of the results of content research. According to one study by Backlinko, the average number of words on the first page of Google is 1447. For many people, this will mean that you need to create content of around 1500 words to be in the top 10 organic search results. Nothing could be more wrong. It only means that on average, the content on the first page of Google is 1,447 words. The survey covers all content on the internet – it does not specify the industry or type of content. Is it blog content or product descriptions? As a rule, blog articles will be longer than descriptions of product categories or products.
According to most SEO specialists, the length of the content and the number of characters in SEO are not a ranking factor. This was confirmed, inter alia, by John Mueller from Google, who stated that word count is not a measure of quality, if only because some pages have a lot of words, but they are not valuable to users. Thus, adding more content to the website does not, by itself, make the website better in terms of SEO.
The fact that the length of content and the number of words on a page are not ranking factors is a direct result of what Google experts and employees say, as well as the practice of SEO specialists around the world. What Google values the most about your site is content that meets the needs of your users. If the content of the page meets these expectations, the length of the content does not matter and can be up to 100 words. This may be the case where the user is asking a short answer question. Then, one-sentence content may find it easier to hit the front page of Google than a long blog article. All because the user would have to look for an answer to his question in it, for example, he does not have time for it and expects an answer here and now.
How to plan the length of the content on a website in SEO?
While content length is not a ranking factor, it cannot be said to be irrelevant to SEO. On the contrary – the number of words on a page matters, however, after taking into account the industry, subject and type of content. Let’s see how to plan the length of content on a page to satisfy users and Google robots.
1. Short and long SEO content
Online marketing content can be divided into short and long. The short text usually covers content up to 1,000 or 1,200 words. It does not contain detailed information, but rather a basic outline of it. Short content in internet marketing includes:
– news articles,
– social media entries,
– short blog articles,
– newsletter content.
This type of content is quick to create and it doesn’t take long for your readers to read it. This content often includes information in abbreviated, condensed form.
Long content typically exceeds 1,000 or 1,200 words. They thoroughly analyze a given issue, including comprehensive information. Long content includes:
– guides, blog guides,
– case studies,
– interviews, statements, reports,
– evergreen content,
– webinars and other online events.
Long content increases audience engagement due to the depth of the issue they deal with. Usually, long content includes detailed information on a given topic, intended for beginners and advanced users. They usually have an educational value. However, remember that creating long content in SEO requires commitment and consumes a lot of resources (time, money). In practice, however, such action pays off, because comprehensive content on a given topic often occupies high positions in organic search results, builds blog traffic and increases user engagement.
What content should you create for your website – long or short? Each of them is valuable from the positioning point of view, as long as you match it with the intentions of the recipients. If you see that keyword competition is creating comprehensive content, follow in their footsteps. On the other hand, if users are looking for short answers (which you will notice, for example, through a direct answer on Google), give up voluminous content in favor of short ones that immediately indicate to the user what they are looking for.
2. Content length in SEO – does it matter?
It cannot be said that the length of the content in positioning does not matter. To a large extent, properly structured and long content can help you achieve good SEO results and improve your position in organic search results. How can content length help SEO even though it is not a ranking factor?
– Longer content is often more effective in positioning, but not only because of the number of characters – they acquire, among others, more inbound links.
– In longer content, you are able to include more key phrases naturally.
– Comprehensive, long content usually conveys more useful information for the user.
3. How to plan the length of the content on the website? Define the purpose of the content
In order to plan a sufficiently long content, you need to think about the purpose of the content at an early stage. If this is going to be an educational goal, then you probably need to create a long and engaging blog post. If the purpose of the content is to provide a quick answer to a question, it should be short, so that the user does not have to search for information in a maze of sentences. If, on the other hand, you want to inform your customers about a new product, a short email sent via a newsletter might be a good idea.
4. How to plan the number of characters in SEO content? Understand the intentions of users
Defining the purpose of your content is not enough. In order to properly work out the number of characters on a page, you need to analyze the intentions of users. Consider what the user who enters the phrase in the search engine is looking for and for what purpose he visits your website. Is he looking for entertainment or education and knowledge? In the former case, shorter content will work, while in the latter it is better to use longer forms.
5. How to develop the content length? Specify the type of content
Before you start creating content and working on its length, think about what type of content you want to create. The format and type of content can define the length of the content. Informational content is usually shorter than blog content. Likewise, product category descriptions will typically be shorter than guidance articles. Therefore, based on the analysis of other pages, check what types of content are on them and pre-adjust its length to the content format.
6. How to properly plan the length of the content in SEO? Analyze the competition
The length of the content, although not a ranking factor, is important in positioning. The number of characters on the page should be adjusted to the content of the query and the user’s intention. To do this, analyze the competition in SEO and check how long the content is created on specific topics. You can use the SERP analysis available in the Surfer tool for this. Just enter the selected keyword in the search engine, and in response you will receive a summary of the top10 organic results, which includes, among others:
– popular phrases and keywords,
– the average length of the main content,
– average length of headings and paragraphs.
Remember that the SERP analysis is only a set of guidelines – consider them in the content creation process and use them as inspiration. Even if your listing is shorter or longer than the suggestion in the tool, your site may still be in the top 10 organic search results.
7. How to determine the number of characters in SEO? Know your audience
It is likely that your website receives specific audiences with certain habits and preferences regarding the length of the content. It is worth discovering them before you create your next blog article. For this purpose:
– analyze the traffic on the website – is more traffic generated by longer or shorter forms?
– check which pages generate conversions – are they pages with shorter or longer content?
– check how much time users spend on websites with different types of content – theoretically, the longer the content, the longer the time spent on the website,
– check which content types have the highest engagement rate and the lowest bounce rate,
– see which types of content are most popular on social media (likes, shares, comments).
Summary. How to plan content length in SEO? The golden rule of content marketing
The golden rule for content length in internet marketing should be: what works on one site and in one industry may not necessarily be as effective on another site and in another market. Therefore, planning the length of the content in SEO should be approached individually, and not following the patterns. To do this, first define the type of content you want to create and the purpose it pursues. also analyze the market and content on competing websites and think about what intentions and habits distinguish your target audience. This way, you’ll create content they like both in terms of content and length.