There are countless debates in SEO. Professionals debate everything. Which is as it should be since we will never know the coding behind the Google ranking algorithm.
Out of all debates, one that is incredibly stupid, at least according to my personal belief, is the one surrounding the perfect length of SEO content.
Here’s the deal.
Every year, new research on X number of sites and numerous keyword ranks is done. We always see different results.
In fact, every single study shows us a different result.
- In 2013, Medium reported that the ideal blog post length is 1600 words.
- Search Engine Journal said the ideal length of a blog post is 1900 words.
- Buffer declared that the ideal length is 1600 words.
How in the world is this possible? Why are all these results different?
The truth is:
There is NO ideal length for a blog post or article!
When you look at SurferSEO, the average length recommended is an average of the top results for the keyword you try to rank for. I am telling you this because SurferSEO perfectly nails the length.
It is entirely normal for the ideal length of an article to vary from one topic to another.
Everything boils down to the following straightforward question:
“What are you writing about?”
Let’s think about an elementary example. Let’s say you write an article about breast cancer, and it is meant to be a complete guide. Then, let’s say you write an article entitled “How long does it take to boil an egg?”
It is OBVIOUS which article needs to be longer. It is a landslide. If you say the article about the egg should be longer, I will just tell you that it takes four to five minutes to get a soft-boiled egg and 12 minutes for a hard-boiled egg. That is your article. I just wrote it for you.
Sure, you can definitely add more content and try to help the reader more. But, the actual length of the content about the egg, the answer to the question in the title, is very low.
What About This “Over 1,000 Words Idea”?
There is legitimacy in the claim that good content needs to be over 1,000 words long, and it is important to mention this.
When you write content, you need to cover a topic. And you have to do it as fully as you can. This is close to impossible to do in under 1,000 words for most articles you will write.
The reason why the majority of articles in the top ranking positions are longer than 1,000 is that you need around that amount to cover everything you have to write.
The Problem With Too Many Words
Last night, I checked to see that SurferSEO average for a keyword in the SEO niche. The recommendation was 10,000 words. This is already eBook level.
In an attempt to dominate the search engines, people started to write more and more, thinking that more is better. This led to way too much irrelevant content being added to articles. One guy wrote about the top 5 LED monitors. Then, another wrote about the top 7. Then another about the top 10. Then top 20. And so on.
A person did an interview with one SEO manager. Then, the idea came to get input from many and create those large interview articles that would dominate social media sharing. So, 5 specialists where interviewed. Then, 20. Then, 100. I kid you not. I saw SEVERAL articles that were actually just One question answered by 50 to 100 people in the industry. All for some social media clout.
Basically, in this search to dominate rankings, SEO specialists started to write more and more. This is not necessarily a great thing.
I recently wanted to cook something. I found a recipe and wanted to give it a shot. The problem was that there was so much extra content added that by the time I got to the recipe, I lost all interest to even check it out.
Be Extremely Careful With Content Length
At the end of the day, the goal should always be to give the visitor what he/she expects. It is normal to go in-depth but when you go off-topic, you lose the attention of the visitor. This is why, from my point of view, what is very important is:
- Deliver the information you promise as soon as possible. (An introduction is completely normal and expected, of course.)
- Only after you deliver the information, go in-depth and talk about related extras.
- Be extremely careful with the organization of all the extra content you add to the page. It has to be completely relevant or you will lose your visitor.
SEO content should be as long as it needs to be to offer all the information needed to cover the premise in the title. It is as simple as that.