Growth August 24, 2020

Tip: Improve your SEO by limiting each article's word count

Growth Bites @growthbites

Don't make your readers dig through paragraphs of fluff to get to the juicy bits of your article. Save them (and yourself) the trouble while improving SEO by capping your articles at roughly 1,750 words.

While many believe that longer posts make for better SEO, Ahrefs found that this correlation is only true up to a point. At about 1,000 words, the positive correlation between word count and backlinks becomes negative. And the slight correlation between word count and organic traffic cuts off at about 2,000 words. Similarly, Medium found that engagement begins to drop for articles longer than seven minutes, which equates to about 1,750 words. So, be concise. Cut out the fluff so that people can easily find the value in your content, increasing the likelihood of backlinks and the like. Of course, some articles will necessarily be longer than others, but keeping most below 1,750 words is a good goal. If you need help cutting down your next article, Hemingway App is a great place to start.

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  1. 2

    Most of my articles is around in the 750-800 word count and is very direct. I have no idea if that's okay or not. What do you think?

    1. 1

      As long as you can get enough value and detail into a post of that length, I think it's great. You may not be able to rank for as many keywords, but I bet that'll be offset by your readers' appreciation for a straight-to-the-point article, as well as the relative ease of finding (and linking) the important bits. As always, though, it's worth A/B testing — if I were you, I'd put out a more in-depth article that's twice as long and see what kind of engagement it gets.

  2. 2

    I expect this to be highly content-dependent, right? I have articles (tutorials) with upwards of 6000 words, and I do see users staying for .5 hours reading. But, if it is hurting my SEO is harder to tell without experimenting long term.

    1. 1

      Yep, some articles are going to take a lot of words, and that's okay. But it's important to make it as easy as possible for your readers to find the most important/valuable pieces of information. Cutting out all the fluff will help. And formatting is huge — headers, tables of contents, bulleted lists, etc. etc. will help people find (and hopefully backlink) what they want to find.

  3. 2

    Great info. Thanks for sharing.

    Just from a reader's standpoint, I completely agree. When I see epically long articles, it can scare me away from reading it.

    The #1 visited article on our website is around 1150 words. And most of the other top 10 visited articles are no more than 2000 words.

    Formatting and "voice" is a big deal too, because you want to make it easy to read, especially if it's a little longer.

    1. 1

      Totally, thanks for weighing in! 💪

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