Does Longer Content Improve SEO?
It’s fair to say that when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO), there are a number of grey areas. With Google keeping their cards close to their chest, it’s left to SEO specialists to figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to improving the ranking of a site.
Through research and case studies, SEOers ultimately create a series of best practices that other industry experts follow and adapt to get the best results.
Whilst there’s agreement on the general principles of SEO, there are some subjects that seemingly avoid a conclusive answer. One of the most hotly contested arguments in this murky area of SEO is the discussion about how many words should make up a webpage.
You’ve got some respected SEOers insisting that pages should contain more words than your average novel, whilst other similarly respected experts champion the idea of short reads.
At Nu Image, we think content is all about answering questions that users are asking. This means that sometimes we’re creating long reads and at other times we’re creating content that only requires a quick glance.
Take two of our clients for example. Specializing in coach tours, Grand UK Holidays and Sunrise Direct each produce blogs which describe the itineraries they offer to holidaymakers. In order to do them justice, they tend to feature fairly lengthy articles that go into great detail about the kinds of attractions and activities which take place on the trip.
When Google bots crawl these blogs, they report back to the search engine that the site contains useful information relating to coach tours. This helps them perform better for relevant searches and brings in relevant traffic.
But it’s not only rankings that this type of content helps with, but conversions too. Think about it- would you be more inclined to book a holiday if you knew all the ins and outs of it, or if you just had a snapshot to go off? Obviously, you’d be more confident making a booking if you had a clear idea of what to expect.
Ultimately, longer content allows you to provide value to readers. It’s a great opportunity to properly explain the benefits of your services and products. Naturally, when it comes to sales, this is key. What’s more, Google really likes this and will improve the ranking of any page that it thinks is a better fit for users.
However, not every subject lends itself to an article that stretches over 2,000 words, and Google doesn’t reward waffling. Its bots are sophisticated enough to recognise when you’re yammering on simply to increase the length of a post.
Instead, you should spend some time thinking about the nature of your content and how much detail users will really require. If, for example, you’re creating a checklist for passing a MOT test, you don’t need to produce a novel for it to be handy. In fact, it’s far more likely to be enjoyed and shared around the web if it makes its point in as few words as possible.
On the other hand, if you’re creating a blog dedicated to the history of the Roman empire, you’re probably going to need a few thousand words to give users what they need.
Returning to the question posed at the beginning of this post, it’s clear that appropriate content length is what improves SEO. This makes a whole lot of sense when you think about it- if Google is committed to giving users the most useful information, it’s going to recognise that sometimes brevity is more helpful than length.
In summary, you need to consider the needs of your users when it comes to content creation. If they’ll benefit from a comprehensive guide, write a comprehensive guide. If they just need some information that can be provided in bullet point form, then get to making those bullet points.