Hey guys, I am in one of the niches where all of the articles are full of crap. I am looking for suggestions. I am trying to determine the recommended number of words for an article to beat the competition in Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
Can you help me determine the appropriate value?
Article length= Avg word count (top 10 results) x 1.6 words.
What would you suggest instead of "1.6" value?
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If you feel the competitors are crap and you can make better content, then ignore word count and follow on other On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) factors. Your word count naturally should be higher than that of those.
I understand that however I want to derive a digit for the formula
Screw all those faux metrics. Write useful, informative, helpful, even entertaining content and don't worry about nonsense like word count.
100% this. SEO should be about what Google says, not what SEO tools say. Google wants engaging content that keeps people on pages – the keywords will come naturally if you write good enough content
Rai ✍️ » Micha
and Davison I hear you and agree with all of you however let's say hypothetically all the metrics, quality, and everything is the same and the only way you can compete is with the number of words. What would be that number?
Number of words may have had some influence in the past, it is not the issue going into the future
Just make your website and your content the most useful, most relevant, most trustworthy in your niche. Make Google want to send people your way because your answers match the search intent of end users
Rai ✍️ » Andre
Thank you for the clarity
As Michael says – screw the false metrics. There's no ideal length. The right length of the content is exactly how many words it takes to give the answer a person was looking for when they typed in that term and then to convince them to buy yours (or call you). That's it. If you can do it in 5 words – then that's the optimal length. If it takes 5,000 words – then, there you go.
So let's say in a situation where all the metrics, quality, and everything is the same and the only way you can compete is with the number of words. What would be that number?
I don't even know how to answer that question because it's not a real scenario… the number of words is never ANY part of what differentiates content for ranking. It's not high on the scale, it's not low on the scale, it's not on the scale.
You have to understand – there are hundreds of ranking factors. A decade ago, Google said it was 200. Now they just say "hundreds" so we know it's more than that. We don't know what they are and, to be honest, I bet no one at Google has a list either.
To compound it all… Each of those things has different value to bring when combined with other things on that list of factors too. Semantic triples are great – but semantic triples become super powerful when combined with a strong level of word vector matches that coincide with the term. Using structured data or outbound links for disambiguation is huge – especially in areas where the topics being discussed may be somewhat confusing like whether or not we're talking about spam the food or spam the crap in my email this morning.
There's no possible way for "everything to be equal" in the first place – not to mention to the point where it results in the "only way to compete is to count words." I promise you – word count is NOT a thing.
If 200 factors are involved, then there are 200 to the 200th power combinations of potential signals that could be sent with differing values. Plus things like links have different values too – no two links pass the exact same value – even if from the same page.
Now… of those terms that I mentioned (and there are hundreds more) like semantics and triples and word vectors and disambiguation – how many of those very real SEO factors have you looked at as potential differentiators? My guess is that the answer is zero since you're looking at word count.
The pages aren't equal. And there is no magic formula for figuring out the ideal word count because that's not a thing. Never was, and never will be.
Rai ✍️ » Truslow
You are correct. Thank you so much for writing an in-depth and sharing the knowledge. I appreciate it.
You answered your own question yourself. Your articles are crap.
Great thanks. Brilliant insight
Micha » Rai
Not sure if sarcasm but as others have said, you'd want to rewrite the articles to be even better. Something that people would want to consume. In other words, never create articles for the sake of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but create them with readership in mind.
Rai ✍️ » Micha
Yes, I do. I create articles for readers and as far as quality goes I put in my best effort. I was doing some research and wanted to find out if there was actually an "x" for content length. I have actually seen crappy articles with spammy links or no links winning and wanted to find out if there is anything more to this than meets the eye.
Nobody can answer that without looking into the niche. If you were in the legal niche, I'd say 1k-2k words will suffice, because most lawyers are working with less.
If you're in the health supplement niche, you could probably go up to 10k.
But more important than your word count is the quality of the content. That should be your main focus.
Take a look at how Wikipedia pages rank. Their pages cover every aspect of the topics that they cover.
You can write a page that has just as many words as a Wikipedia page, but if it doesn't also cluster relevance, you'll have a hard time outranking (plus the site has massive authority).
There's plenty of on-page optimization direction here, so I will simply add this: Google's primary metric for verification of content quality is third-party validation, either of the content or of the domain itself. Especially if you have a newer site. We can debate all day long about whether your assessment that you create good content is right or not, and very little of that debate matters in predicting if and when you'll get those results.
I also don't know where you're at with technical SEO, but if you haven't done an audit of that yet, do so and fix underlying issues
Rai ✍️ » Thies
If you want to rank you have to follow this formula:
Word count = stop counting words and write good content.
Also, content is for users. Google doesn't know good content from bad, otherwise bad content would be ranking, would it?
Generally 1500-2000 words of useful, well structured text is the optimal, with many useful images, diagrams, and so on.
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