4 Reasons Why Word Count Matters

4 Reasons Why Word Count Matters

Every writer at some point or another has struggled with word count. Whether it is falling short of a required length or writing your own personal novel, word count has been an elusive goal.

In digital marketing circles, the rules remain the same. Posts that are too short or too long can hinder your rankings, while content that is at an adequate length performs better. When writing, it is easy to settle for a mere 250 word post because it’s quick and easy. However, this length doesn’t support the substantial information that your potential readers need.

If your page isn’t useful, then your audience will look to other sites for the answers they are looking for. Word count is an important factor when dealing with SEO, so here are 4 reasons to make sure your post is an appropriate length to best maximize SEO strategies.

1. Give Your Reader A Page Worth Sharing

Your goal as a digital copy writer is to write with the intention of growing your audience.

No one is likely to promote your mere 250 word post as it only scratches the proverbial surface of the topic rather than provide a thorough explanation of the problem. Write a piece that is long enough to include all of the necessary details that your reader may be looking for.

When your audience realizes that your post resolves their problem, they will share it so others can see it and possibly apply the concepts themselves. Social media is a breeding ground for viral activity, so make sure you take advantage of the platform’s ability to boost your exposure.

2. Enhance Your Content’s Authority

Make sure your content is solid and lengthy enough to be effective. Shorter posts will likely not have the respect of a more lengthy and thorough piece. If your post adequately answers a question, then your post may eventually become an authority on the subject. When this happens, your content may be used as a source for additional articles. These articles will provide links to your content, increasing your search ranking due to higher traffic from the site.

3. Keep Your Readers Engaged

A successful writer manages to maintain their audience until the last word. However, with the shift of technology, this becomes a much more difficult feat. Most readers will come to a page and if it doesn’t match what they are looking for, they will leave to find information elsewhere. This is known as “bounce rate” and can significantly hurt your site’s rankings.

Shorter posts will only keep your reader engaged a short time, even if the copy is well-written. Longer posts will pull in your audience for a much longer visit on your page, thus making your content more successful.

Google will note how long your visitors stay on your page to gauge future rankings. Sites with lots of traffic that linger are rewarded with higher rankings, while pages that have a high bounce rate are much lower.

4. Avoid TL;DR

One caution with writing longer content is the TL;DR (Too long, didn’t read) factor. As more content is viewed on-the-go, excessively lengthy posts begin to lose your reader’s attention and can lead to a high bounce rate.

Any post over 1500 words carries the risk of losing the reader early. You can fight this by:

  • Writing your content in a way that is easily scannable.
  • Cut out any unnecessary fluff, repeated ideas or vague thoughts that solely increase the word count rather than adding substance to your post.
  • Use a page method that breaks the post up into smaller chunks that are easier to read.

Impress Your Readers, Not Just Google

When you expand your word count just for the sake of pleasing Google, your results won’t be as good as when you increase it to provide quality content for your audience. Your content should have between 450 and 1500 words. While this is a broad range, it is dependent on the subject you are writing about and how much information makes it a solid article.

It is possible to effectively convey your point in 450 words, while other subjects require much more research and information to sufficiently discuss a topic. In addition, find the word count that works best for your reader’s expectations. Keep them captivated in your content and make it useful.

By: Blair Sanders
  • Joshua Bains

    The only way lengthy content will hitch readers for a long time is if it’s very well written, on a topic that people care about, or that has exclusive information. Length for its own sake means nothing.

  • Alfredo J. Rodriguez

    As an English Lit grad, I wish that length restrictions existed for some of the ‘canon’ writers I was forced to study!

    Word count is key for not only content marketers, but for journalists as well. Journalists have to come to grips with the expectations (and short attention spans) of an online audience. As we grow more digital, we are less likely to stay on any one site. This is why it’s so key to write content that is not only engaging, but not lengthy. Insert some links that drive traffic through other pages on your site and you’re golden!

  • Adam Baxter

    You can always tell when long content was written long for longs sake, when it gets frustrating to read. Often I find myself clicking on posts with interesting titles, particularly on current events, and then being dragged through the writers pointless words and sentences when I’m trying to find the point of it all.

    Making sure to keep the reader engaged, as well as make them feel like they’re learning something, is difficult but uber important. Great post!

  • Elizabeth Weaver

    I couldn’t agree more with your point about writing content that is “easily scannable.” It’s so crucial to keeping visitors on the page. Plus, it adds that much more motivation for the visitor to read through the content. These are great tips, Blair. Especially for help with bounce rates! Nice job.

  • Rebekah Faucette

    As a content writer, there is nothing more frustrating than being faced with a hard word count on a boring subject – and resorting to fluff or trying to sneak in under the count just doesn’t cut it in a content-driven world. The best way to fight length fatigue as a writer is to know your subject. An article packed with information is not only more interesting, but also is more relevant to the reader, enticing them to actually read the article rather than clicking off after a paragraph.

  • Naima

    Long articles are simply the best when it comes to providing the in depth information on a certain topic, although, the only advantage is most web users won’t spend time reading content unless it can quickly be scanned. Great article Blair!

  • LilitM

    It’s important to remember that viewers come to the sites, not to read a novel, nor do they like to waste time on little paragraphs that don’t give much information. It’s is quite difficult to write for the web due to so many variables. Yet, a good piece is quickly noticeable and viewers come back to them.

  • Kara Lane

    I agree with Blair that word count matters! While it’s easy to have too little words, it is also very common to have too many. Many times after writing an initial draft, it helps to review your writing. The best way to reduce word count is to first, get rid of “filler” words (i.e. articles, adjectives, adverts, prepositions, pronouns) when possible, and second, to take out any words or phrases you find similar, or even possibly repeated. Once you do this, it will lead to clearer, concise writing. This will make your piece overall easier to understand. I make changes until my writing feels complete. Increasing or decreasing word count may seem like an unimportant obstacle, however, it will help keep your readers.

  • Samantha Torres

    Blair, great article!

    Your first point that the content needs to be interesting enough to share, and fully answer the consumer’s question is spot on. Many marketers will pick a word count goal and take that as the length that’s needed for any page. It’s important to remember that content must cater to the target audience.

    When writing on a particular topic, examine the current search landscape. Are the first page results typically over 2000 words? Is the topic littered with rich images and infographics? Maybe it’s dominated by how-to videos? Consider these items carefully to really find what kind of content, and what depth of content, will truly resonate with your consumers.

  • Aaron Ward

    Great job Blair. I would even argue that this principle relates to video length. People are just too busy to watch a long video compared to a shorter one that relays the same information. Longer videos seem to not rank as high from a Youtube creator point of view unless you have an already established, dedicated audience. This is what I’ve experience being a Youtube Partner for the last 4 years. 5-7 min is what I have found to be a great length to keep the audience engage and coming back for more information.

  • Chuniq Inpower

    Word count is definitely important to consider for all articles, striking a fine balance between length, depth and relevance is an art, that writers must learn to master. Content that is long with no purpose or passion, denigrates the brand and is a waste of time and dollars.

  • Thank you for this article. I am very inspired and love the article, especially the point of “Impress Your Readers, Not Just Google”. It is a constant struggle to balance word count, reader engagement and scoring SEO points. I shall be mentioning this article on my page https://acreative.store

    Thanks again 😉