It’s not difficult to write a good article but it can be to write a great one.
Some people think a large piece of content with thousands of words is high quality but Google’s John Muller says otherwise. He says when Google looks at an article, word count is not a determining factor of whether it is helpful or not.
A low word count can actually mean the content is more helpful to the user. A great SEO article can be very helpful, by applying ranking words within content tailored for the target users clients can find what they are looking for much faster.
Google Search Central Product Expert William Harvey, an expert in SEO, tweeted this morning about how word count and SEO word as a balancing act in content.
Here’s what Harvey had to say about word count and SEO:
I just had a call with another SEO whose client removed 50% of their pages regarded as low quality.
Their thinking was that any page with less than 1000 words gets removed.
The result was a 60% organic traffic loss landing on a 404 page with a 98% bounce.
Please don’t do this.
— William Harvey (@WilliamHarvey) September 15, 2022
Clearly, by those numbers just because an article has a lower word count doesn’t mean that it won’t perform well. It’s quality over quantity here!
A few weeks ago, Google mentioned a reassessment of the Search Console errors page. According to them, there is a possibility that the word count reference best practices document are removed.
This resulted in the section being removed since the guidelines recommended articles be longer than 80 words. A few people believe that this is counter-productive and in fact, has writers more stressed about the number of words in their piece rather than the quality of it.
Google’s helpful content update
Speaking of quality, this is something that Google’s recent update aims to improve.
Last week, Google’s helpful content update was completed and the whole point of the update is to improve the quality of the collection of content that users have to consume. In a nutshell, the update is supposed to reward content that is tailed for users, not search engines.
One reminded that Google hopes to push with this update is to leave the users satisfied with their experience. In other words, did they enjoy reading the content and did it keep them interested? The thing about balancing user-based content with keywords for SEO is making sure you’re not creating a super long article just to include more keywords to get hits.
No one enjoys reading an article that goes on and on, reiterating the same point just phrased in different ways. So it’s important the wording and the meat of the content is not only specific but concise and interesting.
What makes a piece of content helpful?
Considering Google’s recent stance on word count and the new helpful content update, creating a helpful and effective piece of content requires your creativity.
One useful tip is to make sure you focus more on the voice and audience rather than word count. This is because adding too much fluff can cause the user to lose interest, and you certainly don’t want that. As long as the quality of the content is balanced with keywords providing the user with an experience where both their questions are answered and they leave satisfied, you’re headed in the right direction.