When creating content to help your SEO, many people believe they should aim for an “ideal” word count. The perfect number has ranged from 300 to 1,500 words per post depending on when and who you ask. There’s just one problem – Google’s leading experts say there is no perfect word count.
Why Do Word Counts Seem Important?
Since Google is relatively tight-lipped about the exact recipe they use to rank sites on its search engine, SEO experts have traditionally had to rely on their own data to understand the inner-workings of the search engine.
Sometimes, this information is later confirmed. Marketing experts had long believed that site speed was an important ranking signal for Google before the company confirmed its impact.
The problem is this approach relies strongly on correlation – which can be unreliable or lead to incorrect conclusions.
This is also why the “ideal” word counts recommended by “experts” tends to vary so wildly. When we have to rely on relatively limited data (at least, compared to Google’s data), it can skew the conclusions taken from the data.
This is where Google’s John Mueller comes in.
What Google Has To Say
The company’s leading experts have repeatedly denied that they consider word counts to be an important ranking signal. Some have suggested it is lightly considered, but the impact is negligible compared to other factors like keyword relevance or backlinks to the page.
The latest Googler to speak out about the issue is John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google.
In a recent tweet, Mueller used a simple analogy to explain why focusing on word counts is the wrong approach.
Having the same word-count as a top-ranking article isn't going to make your pages rank first, just like having a bunch of USB chargers isn't going to get you to the moon. But, I'm still tempted to buy some of those USB chargers…https://t.co/TIuJHwHufn
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) February 8, 2020
Simply put, focusing on how long each piece of content is puts the attention on the wrong area. If you write long posts, simply for the point of hitting a total number of words, there is a high risk of drifting off-topic or including irrelevant details.
The better approach is to create content with the goal of answering a specific question or responding to a specific need. Then, write until you’ve provided all the relevant information – whether it takes 300 or 1,500 words to do so.