Here at Rank Jane we get emails about this all the time, how long should a blog post be?
Does Google like me more if I have over 1,000 words?
Do people pay more attention to shorter articles?
I’m always confused as to why we keep getting these questions. I feel as though the answer is obvious once we understand how Google truly works. People worry too much about mathematical things when it comes to SEO. Yes it is true that there are certain specifications that we should always try to hit in order to rank highly, however, fortunately, word count is not one of them. There are different things that you can do to help you out, but hitting the same number of words every time is not one of them. So without further ado, let’s go over some of these myths!
The Longer the Content, the Higher it Ranks
Every time I hear this I just want to die. It was always ironic, I used to work as a content writer for a few different websites and sometimes they would specify that my articles had to be at least 1,000 words, why? Usually these clients didn’t rank better than any of the other ones, some of them worse because they had horrible SEO firms (one of the main reasons why I myself got into SEO, so I could help these guys out) truth is the number of words didn’t make that big of a difference.
When I check the top three all of them have well under 500 words on the site. What does this mean? More content doesn’t rank you, relevant content does!
How does that work?
Well Google tries to rank content that people are looking for, so when someone types in make your own beats, Google shows them sites that help them make beats and rhythms, not long articles that talk about beats.
Don’t write content just to write content, write content that is written to solve a problem or ask a question. That’s how you’ll rank highly in Google, not from just writing a few thousand keywords.
My Articles Should be Short
I hear this one a lot too, and this one sounds even less logical to me than the first one. The idea behind it is that if you have a short article, people will be more inclined to read and to share it. So if a subject takes you a few thousand words to discuss you should just ignore it and not write it. Or you should just write a short article and not explain much, that way people will read it more.
This is not true at all, and every time I hear something like this I just want to pull out my hair. Want to really know how long should a blog post be? As long as it takes! If it takes you 10,000 words to write about how to train a puppy, well than go for it! If it takes you 500 words to explain calculus, well then only use those 500 words. The point is you want to answer your visitor’s questions and give them the best information possible.
That’s not to say that there aren’t a few pluses from writing longer articles. For instance you may notice that here at Rank Jane our articles are a little bit longer. This is because of two reasons, one we want to be as in depth as possible, and two, with longer articles you can target more keywords.
This is true, if you have a longer article your likelihood of getting in some good relevant keywords is higher, therefore Google will be more inclined to like your content and rank you in a few different areas. Often we find that our articles bring traffic from searches that we never thought of ranking for, but we are always thankful for the traffic.
This means that if you are trying to decide between writing a short and a long article, you should always edge towards the longer side, the longer the article the more opportunity you have to rank for various keywords. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t at least target one keyword however, you should still target keywords, and still use proper keyword density to try to rank for those keywords.
Don’t try to make every article a short novel, however, we have found that longer articles tend to rank for more keywords in Google, and therefore tend to attract more visitors. If you have been posting articles to your website for a while now without seeing results try writing longer blog posts, you may see your traffic start to increase.
I Should Mention my Keyword as Much as Possible
This one used to drive me crazy, back in the good old days when I was a content writer I had a client that seriously wanted me to mention the main keyword at least twice in every one hundred words. Needless to say he never ranked, and I still wonder where he got this strange SEO idea from. That strategy may have worked back in 2009 but it won’t work anymore, and can actually destroy and hurt your rankings.
The truth is you should use proper keyword density as we mentioned above. Google has a complicated algorithm, the best way we have found to combat it is to just take a look at what they are ranking for your keyword and to copy it. If they mention their keyword 3% of the time we do the same. We have seen a lot of success using this method.
The point is however, that you should write articles that answer your visitor’s questions. Don’t focus too much on keyword density or length of article, while these are important they shouldn’t be the main idea behind your article or blog post. If you start focusing on visitors ironically you will find that you will have more of them.
If someone tells you that all articles need to be at least 500 words run away from them. Google results prove them wrong. Like I stated above the only plus of having larger articles is that they tend to rank for various keywords because you can put more keywords on the articles.
There is another benefit that we didn’t touch on either. In our findings and studies the longer articles tend to get shared more often. Meaning that more traffic comes in, and as a results more backlinks. This is something else you may want to look at as well for your website. Keep track of your visitors and check and see which articles get shared more often. If you find that longer articles get shared more and receive more traffic, well then stick to longer articles. If the opposite is true then of course stick with your shorter and quicker articles.
The answer is that there is not one size fits all solution in SEO. This includes everything from content to backlinks, every niche is different, and every website is different. This is why SEO needs, and will always need, an individual approach. SEO companies that sell their services based off of your getting “32 web 2.0 blog posts” and a certain number of social shares are bound to fail. You need to individually address each niches concern and treat is as a new subject. If someone tries to sell you a service that is cookie cutter and never even bothers to look at your site before they set up their SEO strategy for you, stay away, they don’t know what they are talking about.
In conclusion the key to ranking your content isn’t the amount of content that you have on your page, in fact it’s not even the amount of times you mention a keyword on your page. While these things can help you rank a little bit higher they are not the key to real long lasting SEO traffic. The real key to getting the traffic that you desire lies in relevant useful content. If you can help solve your visitor’s problem and answer their questions then they are more likely to share your content. As your content goes viral you will rank higher in Google and Google will find your content as relevant powerful content .This should always stay as your main focus, and you should never stray away from it. By solving your clients problems you are not only building credibility but you are also setting yourself up for SEO success in the future.
Author: Keyur Lalani