Whether you are an SEO specialist, digital marketing manager, content writer, or just a marketing enthusiast, you probably heard this phrase “Content is King”. If you follow certain digital marketers, you’ve probably heard that the more content you create and the longer the content is, the better. But, is it always true? And how many words should a blog post be? Or a page?
Why do you need content?
In order to create an ultimate content strategy or re-evaluate your content length you should ask yourself “why” you do it in the first place? As Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving and its AI is getting better at actually “understanding” content from a user perspective, your answer should come from the need of your target audience, rather than the general notion that it is important.
How much do you have to share? How valuable is your content? Did you write about it before? Is your content unique? Is your content focused and engaging enough? Can you get through those 4,000 words yourself before losing concentration? Are you already tired of these questions? If your answer to all the questions apart from the last one is “yes”, then you are on the right track of scaling your content efforts.
Content brings value
Longer content can be more informational, thus can bring more value. However, it is critical to emphasise that it “can” bring more value and not necessary “will”. To put it simply, the ideal blog post length should be optimal for the information that is covered within a given topic (with the typical blog post length being around 600 words). If in order to build up an article length from 800 to 1,200 words, you or your content writers have to add unnecessary information just to make it longer, the approach might be completely wrong.
Engagement is key
In case the content is too long for a topic there is a higher chance that a user will move onto another page or, worse still, leave your website before they will get to the most valuable part of the whole content piece. This can happen simply because a writer had to “add” additional text to an “optimal content base” making the whole piece less focused and therefore less engaging.
In the modern digital world people are used to consume big chunks of information very fast. And let’s face it, Twitter and YouTube don’t help our reading patience either. So the content you provide should be informational, engaging, and digestible. If in your race for the maximum word count you are missing any of these elements, your approach is wrong.
So what’s with our king?
Content is still king, or rather “a king”, although how intelligent or ruthless he should be will depend on his kingdom (being your website) and his neighbors (being your competitors).
The more the merrier strategy will work for you if:
- You are an informational website or a blog
- If all you care about is traffic (perhaps you are an affiliate)
- You have unlimited content resources
- You can’t do any SEO research and you don’t know what does or doesn’t work (if this case you should consider hiring a specialist as well)
- You haven’t done anything up until now
You should be taking it shorter and slower striving for an optimal rather then an extensive content length if:
- Your content is difficult to comprehend (or too technical)
- You have limited budget to create your content
- Conversions are much more important than traffic
- Your are publishing a lot of content but your bounce rate is over 85% (especially if you are a product or service provider)
Aside from your SEO knowledge, you should also be guided by common sense and try to put yourself into your readers’ shoes.
Is This So Simple?
No… When it comes to a proper content strategy that will bring the correct audience, relevant user intent, strengthen the website, improve conversions, and build up the authority of the website, SEO word count simply isn’t enough. You’ll have to dive deeper into website analysis, user behaviour, make sure your have decent CRO and clear sales funnels.
SEO word count is only one element to keep in mind when creating optimal valuable content. This article aims to clarify the definition of valuable content and give some general directions on how to approach the content fever while staying on point.