Since the inception of SEO, writers and marketers have searched far and wide to crack the word count code. There’s no such thing as the perfect word count and arguments can be made for both short and long content. If you’re OCD about keeping good track of the most search engine friendly word-length, it’s time to look at the good sides of both and see why there’s much more than relying on a “perfect” number.
Reasons to Keep it Brief
The article, You Won’t Finish This Article, Why people online don’t read to the end explains just that! In today’s world, people are quick (or lazy) readers. Most of the time, readers can’t be bothered to read more than the headline and the first paragraph.
In the author’s words, “The more I type, the more of you tune out. And it’s not just me… It’s everywhere online.” On average, most readers read about half of an article and most also view all content (such as video and pictures). We live in the world of “skimming” and your short webpages, blog posts, updates, and social media updates should cater to that audience.
On this side of the argument for short content’s sake, keep it simple and short.
In-Depth Articles and Long Form Content
Just as you’re about to STOP writing, here is one good reason to keep going. Google loves informative, interesting and high-quality content. They associate well-written content with authority and trust. Google is working on rewarding that by displaying Google Authorship on in-depth articles. Although there is no set amount of words, it’s a safe bet to aim for 1000 to 2000 words.
Long form content is often what comes to mind when we talk about evergreen content such as guides, tutorials and whitepapers. This is content that sticks around and what people come back to time after time. The benefit of long content is that you can target and capture many different readers.
Finding a Middle Ground
Just like Goldilocks, you might find it hard to find the content length that is just right. Short content is easy to write and digest. The casual nature of it makes it easy to share and entertaining. You might throw in a short anecdotes, interesting statistics or funny video. The purpose of this content is to bring in a wider audience who can relate to a short, easy-to-read piece of content.
On the other hand, if you’re building out content for a site that is considered to be “Your Money Your Life” content, you’ll want to invest the time and effort into writing longer content.
Content length on your website and blog doesn’t have to be one or the other. It’s good to vary the word-length on pages and posts. Instead of saying if one is better than the other, it helps to understand the purpose and benefits of each so that you can better use them to your advantage.
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.