Over the past few years, many search engine optimization (SEO) content marketers jumped on the trend of making content longer. This was a natural way to show Google’s algorithm that you were providing the most comprehensive answer to a searcher’s question. Blog posts moved from 600 to 1,500 words and then up to 2,500 or more. The new 10x content often has ultimate guides with more than 10,000 words, serving as a monster pillar for supporting content. 

It wasn’t just word count. Listicles moved from the seven or 10 best to 50 or 100 best tips, ways, or styles. Like the smartphone evolution with screens that got bigger and bigger until they decided that bigger wasn’t better, article length is starting to scale back as well. It isn’t about the most content an article has, but about the best content answer for search intent. 

Differing Views on Blog Post Length

If you have a Yoast plugin on your WordPress blog, you probably have a minimum greenlight given to you when you hit 300 words per post. This is really the minimum amount of words needed for Google to index a page. When Google indexes a page, it is determining that it has enough information to be deemed valuable based on search intent. 

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Some massive content mill sites have most content ranging around the 600-word count. Yet most of our content ranges between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Why such major differences in successful SEO strategies. 

Our conclusion is that it isn’t the word count per article but the overall published content per week on a website. This is where blog word count versus published site word count is important to understand. This has also given rise to the world of 10x content, where you take an article and make it the most comprehensive and complete article found on the web on a particular topic. 

The benefit of longer content is in the clues it gives Google about your topic, expertise, and best answers. 

Blog Word Count Vs Weekly Published Word Count

When you look at how Google ranks a website, it isn’t just the keywords on a page and the one page of content that makes a difference. Google won’t rank a website with one page of content very highly because one piece of content doesn’t suggest a pillar thus not expert authority. What Google is looking at is how often you publish or update content and how all that content relates to each other. 

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This is why weekly published word count allows massive content mills to rank on lower word counts. They have massive libraries of content with multiple pillars that connect one piece of content to another. Google sees the multiple publishing as consistent expertise being added to the web. 

Most companies aren’t going to publish content daily, let alone multiple pieces of content, thus the word count needs to be higher to get Google respect. Tied in with existing content, Google is able to map content based on word count and site linking. Even then, this is one of the fundamental reasons it is hard to beat out major content mills or big brands when ranking for certain keywords. 

For many of our clients, we focus on weekly word count with much of the content being a bit longer to gain authority while adding in 500-word articles that answer a specific question without fluff. If we target 2,500 words per week, this means a small business can write one 2,000-word article and one 500-word article. In some respects, this is stronger from an SEO perspective because you get two URLs, a means to internally link, and grow the pillar – thus the expertise and trust for the site. 

Updating Old Content

Don’t ignore old content. Evergreen content still should be updated so that Google sees that it is relevant to current trends. Updating old content could mean adding a section, updating statistics, or even adding new internal links to grow a pillar. All of these will ping the spiders as they index the content and help it retain or gain ranking juice. Depending on how often statistics or research changes on a blog will determine how often it should be updated; also note that your most important content should be updated more frequently  – as often as quarterly. 

Our expectation is that more content agencies will focus on overall word count and not blog length as we move deeper into 2020. As pillars and clusters take precedence in content ranking, the best answers will not always be the longest answers and the best sites will allow readers to float from one topic to a subtopic with ease. 

If you need help with your content creation moving forward in 2020, contact us. Digital Footprint Media has several solutions to help DIY business owners with content development or our parent company, Sensible Copy and Consulting can take your whole campaign from strategy to implementation for you.

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