2. On Page SEO for Beginners
Article #2.22

Stuck with deciding the optimum Word count? Here is the solution.

Long copy or short copy? What is the importance of the length of content for ranking purposes? How well do long copies engage your user? Is it even required to focus on word count while copywriting?
Almost every webmaster is stuck with the problem of understanding the psychology of their users and the Search Engines that how much content each of them would prefer? To keep it short or make it long?
However, the earlier rule of thumb used to be to write at least 250 words of content on a page, but, at this time, a 250 worded content is a thin content. The shorter was considered the better because of the tl;dr trap. 
tl;dr trap, you may ask?  
It is short for Too long;didn’t read. Doesn’t the name say it all?
Let’s face it; who doesn’t like the food to be served hot? Readers are not interested in reading anything apart from what they actually want to see on your web page. They want answers to the point. If you offer them the content that is unnecessarily long, not even serving their needs, they would definitely fall victim to the ‘tl;dr’ trap.

Does Google have a minimum word count indexing limit?

First of all, be very clear that there is not fixed/hard-and fast rule about the correct number of words for Google.
If you still are doubtful about it, go test it for yourself. Write an article of a shorter length and find out (after waiting for sometime), if it is indexed or not.
Let’s hear what Google has to say on this:
“One of the most important steps in improving your site’s ranking in Google search results is to ensure that it contains plenty of rich information that includes relevant keywords, used appropriately, that indicate the subject matter of your content.”
If you can convey your message in even 300 words, don’t hesitate. Don’t put in fluff just to meet some so-called word count requirement.
Google just prefers rich (quality) content. But if you actually think about it, shorter content/page is less likely to contain useful, rich and engaging content.
250, 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, more than 2000? All of these numbers often confuse us while deciding on the word count. 
Some believe that this is the age of skimming and people won’t read much online as they don’t really have much time. While on the other hand, some believe that longer, lengthier, in-detailed content is ranked higher in the eyes of users and by Google due to its credibility and informative-nature. 
Well, my vote goes for a longer copy! Why, you ask? Read on.

Long Copies are usually better!

The longer, the better. Want reasons? I have proof

  • Highly ranked articles/blogs have a greater word count

If you scan the SERPs, you would find that the top results have word count exceeding 1500.
Capsicum Mediaworks studied search results based on their word count and this is what they found:

If you notice, the higher the rankings on the SERPs (for these results), the greater is the word count. Each of the results have exceeded 2000 words. Each of them is exceeding the word count of 100 words. Whenever Google crawls and indexes a website, it takes each and every element (Title, H1, H2 etc) into its giant database. So, the more content you have, the more gets indexed and thus, the chances of it performing in search results get better.

  • Long copies convert better

Marketing Experiments tested both longer and shorter copies to see, which converts better
On checking the results for the first test, it was found that, the long copy converted better by 40.54%. In the second test, the short copy had a negative ROI of 66%, and the long copy had a positive ROI of 50%. In the last one, the long copy did (converted) better by 45.45% than the short copy.

  • The greater is the length the more is the variety of keywords that you can use

 For example, if you are writing a blog on ‘crafting great titles’ and aiming for a shorter word count for the same, you can use words like ‘creating killer titles’ or maybe 2-3 variations of the same. 
But if you aim for a word count more than at least 1500 words, your options of using variety of other keywords increases that relate to your title like ‘effective title’, ‘inducing titles’, ‘a win-win title’, ‘tips for writing magnetic title’ and so on.
The crux of this is that, if you have a long worded content, your keyword potential is increased and with it, your chance of performing better on search results also increases. 

  • Long Copies create for higher sharing

Social media also prefers long content. To test it for yourself, you could do the same for your own blog posts. Divide them into two; keep the ones with less than 1500 word count at one end and the ones with more than 1500 word count at the other and check which end receives the maximum likes and shares? (Feel free to share your results in the comments). Well, Quicksprout did and found that the blog posts with more than 1500 word count got more shareability.

So what are ideal number of words in an article?

What I personally believe is: You should write for the people, not for the Search Engines.
Judging the content by it’s length would be mere foolishness. It just depends in what way you can convey the information. Don’t hang on much on deciding the word count, as there is no magical word count that can get you on top of SERPs. Until, you are providing some value out of your content. keep writing. Entering a 1500+ worded zone is always safe. But then again, only meeting the word count requirement is not enough, the quality should be top-notch, it should have a strong social media presence etc.
Here is a quick brush up that would help you in your decision of word count for SEO.

  • Don’t assume: Don’t think that the readers won’t be interested in reading lengthy stuff. It all depends on the content and the kind of audience you are catering to. Do not give preference to quantity over quality. NEVER DO THAT!
  • Don’t write trashy content: Don’t stretch something that could be written in 500-1000 words to 1500-2000 words just to reach the limit of 2000 words. This won’t do you any good.
  • Don’t repeat: Don’t drag the content. If you act smart and try to repeat the same lines in a different way, users and Google are even smarter to figure out.
  • Don’t be too orthodox regarding a shorter word count: You just have to test what works best for you. I am not saying that never keep the content length short; if you can, it would be a plus point, but don’t mess with its quality.
  • Utilize Social media: Build a strong social media presence with lots of followers. This would help your content irrespective of its length.

Need a Word Count Tool? Here you go!

Simply paste your URL in the box below. In an instant, it will show the word count of your document. Apart from this, it provides you with details including the number of anchor texts used, number of words after eliminating the anchor texts and the percentage of anchor texts to that of the whole content in the blog. 



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