The answer: more than you think. In fact, Google cares significantly about how long and comprehensive your posts and page content really are when deciding where to rank your site. “Generally, if you’re aiming to write something best in class, it requires a certain length to be comprehensive,” explains James Rice, Head of Digital Marketing at Wikijob, a wiki-style website designed for students and graduates looking for career opportunities. “And that’s backed up by recent studies, which suggest the average content length for pages ranking in positions 1 to 5 are all over 2,000 words.”
A longer piece is just much more likely to keep readers’ attention for longer, be shared more on social media, and be recommended by others, according to Rice. “Assuming it’s original and written really well,” says Rice.
Shorter Content Can Be OK
While Google prefers longer content, quality remains the essential focus. “It is entirely possible to achieve a high rank with an article that contains 500 words or fewer, but in that case the content will have to be engaging enough that it will attract links from authoritative sources, and readers will spend time to consume most of it and then hopefully click through to your other pages,” Rice explains.
The key to shorter content that works? No fluff. If you make the most of every sentence and every graphic you use, Google will still rank you well. In fact, short content with no fluff is better than a long article that rambles on and on and doesn’t provide valuable information to readers.
3 other things to keep in mind regarding content length:
– Google likes long posts but also likes sites/blogs with more pages and more content. Meaning a couple of longer articles won’t provide much benefit: you need a steady flow of long content to rank well.
– Images are considered part of content, so an article that has a number of photos/charts/infographics spread throughout the content will be seen as more credible.
– Mixed content performs better than plain text. For maximum visibility, make sure your posts are a mix of text, photos and videos. This is especially important for shorter posts.
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