When it comes to SEO, one of the most frequently asked questions by online marketers and content creators is, “What’s the ideal content length for SEO?”
The answer to this question isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, as it varies depending on various factors.
In this article, we’ll delve into the important points surrounding content length for SEO and provide some guidelines to help you navigate this complex terrain.
Long vs. Short-Form Content: What Works Best?
The first crucial consideration in determining the best content length for SEO is whether to go for long-form or short-form content. The choice between the two largely depends on your goals and the nature of the content you’re creating.
Long-form content, typically exceeding 1,000 words, is excellent for in-depth articles, guides, and white papers. This type of content allows you to thoroughly explore a topic, offer valuable insights, and showcase your expertise. Additionally, long-form content tends to perform well in search engines, although word count alone doesn’t determine its success.
On the other hand, short-form content, ranging from 300 to 600 words, is more suitable for social media posts, certain blog entries, and email newsletters. Short-form content enables you to convey a message quickly and succinctly, making it highly shareable.
However, when it comes to SEO, the ideal content length is more nuanced. It is suggested that the best content length for SEO depends on what’s already ranking for a particular search query.
You should also consider the format of the top-ranking content (e.g., guides, listicles, tutorials) and identify content gaps.
Creating content that resonates with your target audience and aligns with your goals is equally important for SEO success.
How Long Does It Take to Write Long-Form Content?
Writing long-form content can be time-consuming, and it’s essential to understand the commitment it entails. Let’s break down the time investment required to write a long-form article.
Suppose you aim to create a 2,300-word article, which is the average length of many articles. The average typing speed is approximately 40 words per minute, meaning you could theoretically complete the writing in just under an hour. However, this simplistic calculation doesn’t account for research, editing, and crafting a well-structured article.
In reality, a well-researched five-page article might take around 8.3 hours, according to Capitalize My Title. Moreover, writers are most productive for only a few hours a day, which could mean dedicating multiple days to a single article.
The time required to write long-form content varies among writers, with some exceptionally skilled individuals completing it more efficiently. However, the crucial question isn’t how long it takes but whether you’re utilizing your time effectively.
The Ideal Length for a Long-Form Article
Long-form articles are generally considered to be 1,000 words or more, but the ideal length can vary depending on your goals and the topic. Wordstream’s research indicates that the best-performing blogs in recent years averaged between 2,700 and 3,000 words. They provide three rules for determining the best length for long-form articles: when in doubt, make it long; prioritize delivering value; and conduct keyword research.
However, it’s crucial not to fixate solely on word count. Instead, consider whether the subject matter warrants a lengthy article and whether you can compete effectively in search engine results pages (SERPs) with shorter content. Flexibility in content length is key.
Google Doesn’t Care About Word Count. It Cares About Three Other Things.
While content length is a factor in SEO, Google’s algorithm is more concerned with other aspects. Data shows that longer content tends to receive more backlinks, social shares, traffic, and higher SERP rankings. However, simply writing more words doesn’t guarantee success. Quality matters significantly.
To rank well in SEO, content must possess three essential characteristics:
Depth: Deep content thoroughly explores a subject, covering relevant topics comprehensively.
Comprehensive Coverage: High-ranking content doesn’t just focus on length; it includes comprehensive coverage of related topics.
Keyword Relevance: Instead of keyword stuffing, focus on using the target keyword naturally and repeatedly throughout the content.
Keyword research tools like Ubersuggest can help you identify relevant long-tail keywords to include in your content strategically. The goal is to create content that aligns with user intent, is informative, and offers value.
When Is Short-Form Content Best?
Short-form content, typically under 1,200 words, has its place in content marketing. It’s suitable for quick tutorials, opinion pieces, short reviews, overviews, news updates, social media posts, newsletters, and short-form videos. The ideal length for short-form videos is usually under 60 seconds, with the sweet spot falling between 31 to 60 seconds.
The key takeaway is that content length, whether long or short, should align with your goals and the preferences of your audience. Quality, relevance, and user engagement are paramount. Keep in mind the platform you’re using, the context of your content, and the desired takeaway for your audience.
In conclusion, there is no fixed law dictating the perfect content length for SEO. While longer content often performs well, it’s not just about word count. To succeed in SEO, focus on creating content that is deep, offers comprehensive coverage, and centers around your target keyword.
Whether your article ends up being 1,000 words or 4,000 words, quality should always be the primary goal. By adhering to these principles, you’ll be better equipped to achieve higher rankings and engage your audience effectively in the ever-evolving world of SEO.
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