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If you’re researching blogging for your online business, it’s likely that you’ve heard about the “expected” or “best” word count for SEO – let’s just clarify that word count and ranking higher is a correlation, not causation. What’s the difference? Correlation is a relationship between two things, causation is when one thing causes another. While big SEO companies like to push the idea of causation when referring to the relationship of word count to SEO, it’s simply not true – Google has even said it themselves.
Here’s the question, does word count affect your SEO? No, it doesn’t. What does affect your SEO is the quality of your content. If you can provide the information your audience is looking for in 300 words, do it. The same goes for 3,000 words. Write to serve your audience while keeping SEO best practices in mind, not the other way around.
2,500 words, 1,500 words, or even 3,000 words are among the recommended lengths of blog posts when you’re searching online. In truth, there is a minimum word count of 300 that is recommended – there is no limit nor “perfect” length. These word count recommendations stem from the belief that you, as the writer, can provide useful information about the topic you’re writing about that serves your audience and mentions more keywords – ultimately boosting your chances of ranking for said keywords.
Sadly, this same thought is what gets business owners into trouble. In reality, not all topics or queries as Google refers to them, require such lengthy coverage. Even pushing the word count by explaining in further detail or by mentioning related topics can damage your SEO by increasing your bounce rate and decreasing your click-throughs by losing your audience’s attention. Additionally, pushing to meet word counts leads to filling your blog posts with fluff – a big no-no for Google Search.
From the mouth of the man himself, Joe Mueller, the Webmaster of Trends at Google, said “Word count is not indicative of quality. Some pages have a lot of words that say nothing. Some pages have very few words that are very important & relevant to queries. You know your content best (hopefully) and can decide whether it needs the details.”
I don’t know – and not because I’m lacking in expertise, but because it’s going to be different on the query, keyword, niche, and your business/offers. For example, if you’re attempting to rank for “baby sleep tips” and you’re a pediatric sleep consultant, it’s going to look a bit different than if you’re a motherhood or parenting blogger. Both have good things to contribute, but a pediatric sleep consultant will – most likely – have more information that readers will want to see, while a mom blogger is working from experience and writing a personal story, which is typically shorter than a full educational/informative post.
The best advice I can give is to look at your competitors, think about what your audience wants (and needs), and what you have to offer.
Unless Joe Mueller makes an announcement saying all articles/blog posts should be XXX long, it’s going to stay a no, word count does not affect SEO. And, just in case you don’t take his word for it, take mine. One of my highest – and longest – ranking blog posts sit at 475 words. It ranks first for 37 targeted keywords and generates an average of 44 visitors per day, 319 per week, and 1.3k per month.
When considering which SEO practices you want to utilize in your strategy, ensure that you’re working from causation NOT correlation. There are thousands of misleading SEO techniques and practices that many experts swear by, but have precise evidence that it’s accurate or true.
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