How Content Length Affects Rankings

Published in SEO2022-02-257 min read
A Person is writing article on Laptop

The impact of content length on search engine rankings is debatable: it's better to publish short posts or long articles – answer questions.

Content is one of the ranking factors and helps websites rank well in the search engine. This is mentioned by Google, and SEO specialists who observe the growth of the positions of pages with extensive content know about it.

When launching a corporate blog, the question arises: create long or short texts? Which ones attract users better? Does the number of words per page (content length) affect rankings?

The impact of content length on positions in search results

Google doesn't limit the length of text on a website. For several years, foreign SEOs have been informing about the advantage of sites with a large amount of content over sites with short articles. How true is that?

The results of studies conducted in recent years in the Russian-speaking and English-speaking segment of the Internet clearly show the correlation between the number of words on the subpage and its place in the Google search results. The longer the text, the more likely you are to rank well in the search results.

However, keep in mind that the word count on a page is probably not a ranking factor. Sites are evaluated by the search engine, first of all, by the quality of the content. Long-form content will help achieve high positions in the search engine if it is developed for people and properly optimized.

Content length value for users

Regardless of the industry, the main criterion that you should be guided by when determining the volume of text is its real value to the recipient. The better you adapt the text to its needs (every person who goes online has a need to solve a problem, find information or entertainment), the better.

It's not true that people don't read long texts. There are many examples when narrow-topic sites publish articles of 40 thousand characters or more, and the average time spent on the site for these pages is 10 minutes or more. This means that the audience is willing to spend 10 minutes reading text that is of real benefit to them.

That doesn't mean you can dilute content with water just to make the text longer. The point is to give the most complete and at the same time specific information that will have real value for the user.

Don't worry if you write a lot – provided you have accumulated a lot of valuable knowledge that can be passed on. It is important that your texts are not diluted with water, and after reading them, the recipient does not have a feeling of wasted time.

People don't like texts that add nothing to their lives, and so it's better to write 3,000 meaningful characters specifically on a topic than 10,000 characters about nothing. There is no room for lengthy descriptions on the web. If you go online, you need to write concisely, competently and accurately so that the user can find the necessary information.

Content quality comes first

You should start writing blog content by asking yourself a question about the problem and the need that this text will solve. Think about what the text will contain, then take a look at it and consider whether it solves the problem of a potential reader.

For example, if you write about how to install a door, describe all the actions that will allow the recipient to achieve results and encourage people to return to this post.

Of course, some topics are so broad that you can write a book on them. Our topic today, i.e. SEO and content marketing, also belongs to such a vast topic. But that doesn't mean you can't publish separate blog posts.

The author can choose an element, one small problem (how the length of the content affects the ranking) and then give the best answer to the question posed in the title, eliminating the most important doubts of the user and fully revealing the question.

Long Blog Content: Pros and Cons

We know that Google promotes sites with a lot of content. Let's look at the other advantages and disadvantages of publishing voluminous texts.

The benefits of long-term content include:

  1. The ability to naturally include more keywords and synonyms, as well as long-tail keywords.
  2. Implement effective internal linking and send users to topic articles within the blog.
  3. Meeting people's needs for information: The more questions you raise in an article, the more likely people are to find it useful.
  4. Thanks to long content, users spend more time on the site, engagement and chances of conversion increase.
  5. Add value to evergreen and comprehensive content: Once written, text helps users for years, even if it's updated.
  6. Getting natural links thanks to people recommending the article.
  7. Formation of the image of an expert in the relevant industry.
  8. More reposts on social networks.

That's where the main benefits end, and it's time to discuss the disadvantages of long-form content. So, why this type of article may not be suitable for your blog:

  1. Writing voluminous texts takes a lot of time, because you need to research, pick up keywords and take care of their optimization.
  2. Due to the large volume, long articles will not be of interest to all users.
  3. Long texts are less likely to go viral than short, easily interpreted memes and graphic materials.
  4. It is inconvenient to read on mobile devices.

Now let's look at the legality of publishing short texts on a corporate blog and website. The undoubted advantages of this format include:

  1. Fast "consumption": text of about 1500-2000 characters can be read by any user even during a lunch break.
  2. It takes much less time to prepare and write such content.
  3. Such articles do not require comprehensive research.
  4. They look the most attractive and encourage you to read.
  5. They are ideal for reading on mobile devices.

The disadvantages of short content call into question its use for some sites:

  1. The short text describes the problem in a narrow perspective and does not meet the information needs of users interested in a broader perspective.
  2. Does not allow adequate keyword saturation and tailed queries.
  3. A short article has fewer opportunities to implement internal links.
  4. They are less likely to be referenced on social media than exhaustive materials.

Short or long text: what to choose?

First of all, short and long posts have different purposes. Long-form content is ideal for providing comprehensive information and user activity on a website. On the other hand, short posts are designed to attract attention and encourage specific action. Also remember that not every topic can be expanded – sometimes it is only possible to write 1000-1500 characters without water.

What matters is how the content is presented. In long articles, don't forget to optimize the text properly so that the user can "scan" it diagonally and go to the section of interest. If you alternate different forms of content (graphics, videos, presentations), a large number of words will not scare people away.

Because of the numerous benefits of long-form ranking content, we recommend creating quality and comprehensive texts. A large number of words improves your visibility in search results and certainly benefits the business.

One long article or a series of short posts?

Sometimes there are doubts that it is better to write one very long blog post or create a series of articles on a certain topic. If you really have a huge text, and you understand that the user will not be able to fully digest it, then it is advisable to break it into several modules that make up a logical whole. Here, the key is the logic and closure of the specified topic in one fragment of the text.

However, if you want to publish a series of tiny articles of 1500 characters instead of this guide, unfortunately, this is not the best option. Small low-value materials are much less likely to "take off" in Google search results.

So, there is no optimal number of characters for a blog article because both users and Google consider its quality, not quantity. You can't go too far in any direction. There is no point in writing very short texts or pouring water to artificially increase the length of content for the sake of ranking.

It's best to follow the criteria for the usefulness of each text to the recipient and then optimize it well for SEO. Then both the potential customer and Google will be satisfied.