The Perfect Word Count to Optimize your Content for SEO [2020]

best content length for seo

As a general rule for content writing whether it is on articles or pages, we advise keeping the word count above 400 words but to meet best practice word count will depend on a lot of related to the content. Read on to see how to customize your content to have the perfect content length for rankings.
Google tends to rank pages with higher content, this is because search engines understand what the page or post is talking about by deciphering more content. But before you go rushing to add more words just to meet the word count, you have to keep in mind a couple of things.

Table of Contents

What is the topicality and type of Page or Article?

Different niches or topics require different content length. It may makes sense to write 5000 words on topics that are intensively descriptive such as guides, tutorials or even reviews but in contrast it will not make sense to write 5000 words on eCommerce products such as AAA batteries.

When you’re planning your article remember to:

  • Define what type of content you’re writing – eCommerce page, Sports results page, tutorial, guide etc
  • Put yourself in the searcher’s shoes – will they expect to find this kind of content? will a 1000 word page be too long or too short?

Who is your target audience?

Optimizing your content based on the audience which will likely read it, will amplify the chances of the content being read by your visitors and ranked by search engines.

Create a Persona

A “persona” is a fictitious character based on your typical audience to visiting your website or reading your articles. Create a persona by listing down as much detail as possible about this character including: Name, Surname, Age, Gender, Marital Status, Children, Hobbies, Interests.

Remember that the “persona” needs to reflect your audience, the best way to go about this is to identify someone that has already been your client or reader and base the persona around that person. Personas are an easy way to define the demographics of who is reading your content.

Demographics

Age, Gender, Culture, Religious beliefs, Political views and more are what we know as demographics. As an example younger audience tend to prefer shorter content or content that speaks the same language as that age group. Religion and Political views will determine whether your article should be more conservative or liberal. Demographics are key to engaging content and will also determine the length of the content.

Does adding more words make sense in the user’s eyes?

Sometimes you just need to take a step back and rely on your expertise. Do you feel that you would be cramming up unnecessary words in an article that clearly meets the reader’s expectations? It’s one thing to add valuable information and another to add words just to meet word count. As a rule of thumb if the content you’re adding is not of high quality and valuable to the reader then it does not make sense to add it.

What are your competitors doing?

The most important way to determine the average content length is by looking at competitors that are already ranking for the keywords you’re looking for.

  1. Research 5 keywords related to the topic you’re writing about
  2. Copy articles from the top 5 ranking on each keyword (exclude large popular domains such as Wikipedia)
  3. Paste them in a “word counter” tool (you’ll find plenty for free on Google)
  4. Take the average of all articles and you’ll have the approximate word count need

Aim to go above the word count when writing articles. When in doubt about a new topic or related page go through the above points again.

spying on competition

Is there anything that you might have missed?

While you’re checking out your competition remember to take notes. List down all the features on their page, the type of content, how it is written and what sub topics they cover. Rewrite your article to include any sub topics you might have missed, remember to do this for all competitors. This is an easy way to increase word count and still offer quality content.

Summing everything up

  • Identify the type of content you’re writing and for who
  • Make sure you’re not stuffing up words
  • Research competition to determine minimum word count
  • Add any content that you might have missed by researching competitors
  • Remember, longer (high quality) articles tend to rank better than thin content
  • Most Important: Ignore any statistics that give you an exact amount of word count without looking into topicality