blog post word count guide

How Word Count Affects SEO Content Strategy

Brittany Charbonneau Writer at Pedestal Search

Brittany Charbonneau Writer

February 3, 2023 | 5 Min Read

Article updated on March 3, 2023

Word count plays a key role in any SEO content strategy. The differences between short-form and long-form content may not be fully understood but they will help identify what’s right for your content strategy and business goals. For help brainstorming and writing long-form content, see this article: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Engaging Long-Form Content. For a breakdown of how word count impacts an SEO content marketing strategy, read on.

The importance of addressing blog post word count

Websites and content that are continuously being crawled by Google must remain relevant. There should always be a move toward optimization or Google will soon realize a website is falling behind and replace it with a competitor’s site when users search for similar keywords.

Like many other aspects, it’s important for marketers to analyze blog post length to determine whether or not it’s performing well. While blog post word count is an important factor to consider, remember that this is only one pillar that affects SEO ranking. There are many other aspects that affect how Google assesses a website, including:
  • Page speed
  • SEO optimization
  • Backlinks
  • Click-through rate
  • Relevant keywords
  • Featured snippets
  • Metadata
Ultimately, one piece of content can’t provide all the results a business needs to see. It can’t tick every box. Businesses need a mix of content with varying lengths to appease both Google’s algorithm as well as users’ search queries.

Google’s core updates

Most people in the world of SEO content strategy know Google constantly runs updates and changes its algorithm to keep up with the users’ needs. Imagine, Google endeavors to satisfy all users, while businesses only strive to satisfy the users in their market. It makes sense Google sets up rules to provide users with what they need, and it’s essential businesses conform to those rules to see higher rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs).

In May 2022, Google confirmed a core update to improve how it reads websites. Because of this, some pages that were performing well might have dropped, while websites that weren’t ranking as highly might have been boosted. The key is to optimize content based on what’s performing well and make small changes, such as adjusting the length of a blog post.

How to choose a blog post word count

An SEO content strategy often centers on creating evergreen pieces, short-form content, long-form content, ads, landing pages, and more. What people have the most difficulty deciding on is when a piece should be 500 words or 2000. What’s the difference? When should a piece be short and sweet or long and informative?

Long-form content

Longer content has more value for Google and users to view. On Google’s side, this is better for SERP ranking because there’s more room for relevant keywords, images, graphics, charts, data, and lists. Google’s first page of results generally leads to content pieces that have an average of 1,447 words.

The longer a piece is, the more in-depth the topic can be, although this has an undesirable effect if we try to stretch a simple topic into a long post. The topic should inform the length. For example, if you want to make a pillar piece called “Everything You Need to Know About *Blank*” there will likely be lots of information to cover, leading to a longer post.

With informative, rich posts like these, businesses can become leaders in the industry. Not only do users get all of the information they need, but Google also sees the content as valuable to other queries.

Short-form content

Shorter content also has its benefits. If the topic isn’t complicated or specific, there’s no point stretching it out into a longer piece. Short-form content is great for high-quality pieces with engaging CTAs and informative language.

Short blogs also perform well when they provide value, especially when they link to a larger pillar piece that branches off into more relevant content for the reader and Google.

Other forms of content

Not all content will find itself in a blog, white paper, press release, guide, or case study. Businesses tend to use other forms of content as well whether that be through Google Ads, social media, email newsletters, or something else. Generally, these other forms of content will fall under short-form content, not as a blog.

A website is deemed more valuable if it leverages multiple forms of content. Google is constantly crawling websites and analyzing them for value. If it notices a website hasn’t changed in a long time, its value decreases. On the other hand, a website that uses many forms of content, optimizes them periodically, and publishes new content is seen as valuable and worthy of a higher ranking. Take advantage of all styles of content to please Google and readers in each stage of the buyer’s journey.

The takeaway

A longer blog post length is great, but only if the content is high-quality. If trying to hit a higher word count is lowering the quality of the topic, it will perform better as a shorter piece. Ideally, a business should mix the benefits of long-form content with short-form content. Write both and use pillar pieces to inform smaller pieces that can be consumed quickly or skimmed for readers on the go.

SEO content marketing strategy with Pedestal Search

Pedestal Search has all the SEO tips and tricks when it comes to writing to optimize a business’s rankings. That’s what we do. We work with businesses from many industries (retail, ecommerce, B2B SaaS, finance, etc.) on their individual needs, goals, and opportunities. Every business is different so we perform an SEO audit to discover obstacles and potential.
  • Discover the power of the behind-the-scenes: technical SEO
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  • Get help writing amazing content that informs and engages with users with SEO content services
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Start a conversation today. Contact us.


Content Marketing, SEO

Brittany Charbonneau Writer at Pedestal Search

Brittany Charbonneau