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How Much Does Google Care about Word Count?

How Much Does Google Care about Word Count?

When creating a blog post or updating a website, you may ask yourself how many words should you have on a page to drive long-term SEO results. John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, made it clear that word count no longer matters in Google rankings. Why? Because it’s not indicative of quality. Put simply, having the same word count as a top-ranking article doesn’t guarantee a top position in the SERPs.

The question now is: what was this misunderstanding all about? Part of the reason is that correlation studies discovered that Google ranks web pages that are a certain length. Needless to say, they have led to disastrous SEO practices.

Google doesn’t need a certain number of words on a page to consider it a proper page. You can transmit your message using as few words as possible while still having enough room to describe what you do and include some keywords that optimize SEO. To figure out the best word count for blog posts and web pages, keep in mind the topic and the reader. A blog post should have at least 250 words. Highly-specific queries lend themselves to a longer word count. A landing page, on the other hand, should have a minimum of 350 words. The length largely depends on the product/service and what the reader wants to see.

Word Count Acts as an Indirect Influencer

When it comes to your SEO strategy, word count doesn’t make a difference. Any digital marketing agency can confirm that. Rather than focusing on length, it’s better to place emphasis on being concise and getting to the point. Keep your writing short, even if it’s not easy. Google won’t penalize you for short articles. On the contrary, you’ll improve your SERP results. If your website isn’t on the first page of Google, it’s highly unlikely that consumers will find your site organically. This translates into fewer opportunities to generate leads and, most importantly revenue.

Word count helps in an indirect manner. Longer pieces of content are better researched, which means that they get more backlinks. If the text is longer, Google better understands the text, no matter how you spell or combine the words. Despite the advancements in language understanding capabilities, Google doesn’t always get it right. That’s why it’s important for text to be optimized. But don’t use too many keywords or keyphrases. This practice is highly frowned upon by Google and can lead to a search penalty. Tempting as it may be to outsmart the system, don’t do it. In longer content pieces, use headings, links, and images.

Google doesn’t have an official word count stance, so write the right amount of content that satisfies users’ queries and provides the answer they’re looking for. It’s not about long or short. It’s about matching the length of the blog post/website content to the audience. The same goes for product descriptions in your online store. You don’t need a great deal of words to help visitors take action. Even if longer copy tends to perform better than shorter copy, don’t assume that longer is better. At the end of the day, it’s about the needs of the user and conversion.

How to Improve Content Quality (Excluding Word Count)

The most important thing when writing copy is readability. You must pay attention to sentence length, use a more active voice, and split up large chunks of text with subheadings. Anything else? Yes. Keep in mind these suggestions.

Build More Meaning into the Words You Use

Semantic optimization involves connecting terms, entities, and facts to one another. Show Google that your content is authoritative. Instead of repeating a word like “travel on a budget” time and time again, you’re better off using LSI keywords such as “low-cost”, “cheap”, “discount”, and so forth. It’s just an example. Estimate a keyword’s SEO difficulty using Semrush. Keyword difficulty basically tells you how much effort it might take to rank in Google’s top ten search results.

Optimize Content for Search Intent

Some queries are straightforward, meaning that you can provide the most useful answer. Someone asking “When does Love Island start?” requires an answer in the form of a number. Of course, you can expand on that answer by providing details about the cast, mention who the host is, and so on. Search intent should be a big part of your approach. Because mobile phones are used on a daily basis, take into account visit-in-person intent as a possibility.

Some queries clearly demand nearby results, such as businesses and organizations. For users close to London, UK, the query [turmeric kitchen] can have two meanings: a popular restaurant named Turmeric Kitchen or tricks to use turmeric in the kitchen. When trying to figure out what search queries have possible visit-in-person intent, consult with an SEO company London.  They have experience generating results for companies like yours.

Include Fresh Data and Relevant Sources

Updating old content is a good way to keep content fresh. Getting new backlinks to your page is one the fastest ways to improve its overall freshness score. Don’t quote what another web page says. If your article includes a statistic, it’s worthwhile tracking down the original source. Use multiple resources, such as newspaper articles, books, opinion pieces, and websites. There will be times when you’ll want to talk about something that matters to the audience, yet you lack expertise on the topic. Leverage the authority of others.

To sum up, stop counting words. Don’t give too much thought to the word count when writing blog posts, articles, landing page content, or other digital marketing assets. Of course, you can make sure that each piece of content has a minimum word count, but Google isn’t looking for an exact number. You don’t have to create long-form content every single time. Nonetheless, strive to produce original copy. Think about how your offer is different from that of the competition, do keyword research, see what the audience is searching for, and, last but certainly not least, see what the competition is up to.

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by Rebecca Jones // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.