QUESTION: Do articles written with more than 2,000 words rank significantly better in the search results for Google than, lets say, 1,000 words or 500 words? Can the blog with most articles of 500 words be successful at all?
Google’s ranking algorithm is a bit of a trade secret, we as seo or digital marketers can only use our years of experience and testing with experiment to get a better understanding of ranking in the search engines.
In recent history we have found that larger articles with over 2,000 word tend to produce higher rankings within the search engine serps. With larger articles that contain more detailed content, have unique images, make reference to other details and facts, have latent semantic keywords being used, in reality content over 2000 words should rank better.
There has been many discussions about content length, does 1000 vs 200 words work better, or 500 words vs 1000 words. I think once you get over 1500 word articles you are in the featured content creation category.
We need to first look at the serps to see what Google is returning for the search term “content over 2000 words better rankings”. The image below is showing that the first result is the Quora question that this article will be providing an answer to.
We need to create two unique articles/posts, this article which will contain over 2,000 words of content, has relevant links to authority websites, and some social marketing. The second piece of content will be a smaller article of 500 words with 1 image and 2 social posts.
The two post will link to each other using very similar terms, on-page-seo will be done as described below, and social media and linking will also be done. Over a 14 day period I will be monitoring the serps in Google for the term “content over 2000 words better rankings” –
at the bottom of this post I will detail the results I just realized that I can not modify this post after it is published as it may alter the results, therefore here are results of the 2000 word content experiment.
Next we will refer to google and find what are the best practices for technical on page seo. The organic search results in Google has determined that Rand Fishkin is the authority on the subject on Moz 15 SEO Best Practices for Structuring URLs.
Now that we have the 15 on page seo best practices we need to put them into effect on this blog post.
We are using a single domain, we are not going to be stuffing any keywords in this article, we want to see organically how this article will perform in the serps.
We have the keywords in the page title, the url slug, and the page is canonicalized.
As we go through the seo best practices from Mr. Fishkin we are not using any dynamic parameters in the url, the url is what it is only because of the way in which the website is structured – ideally this post should have been a page directly accessible from the root.
As for item #8 we have the stop words removed from the slug, there are no weird punctuations or characters, and as for the folders well its what it is as previously mentioned.
We have no hashes as indicated in tip #12, its all lower case, we are using hyphens and I have tried to not stuff the term “content-over-2000-words-better-search-results” and be as natural as possible and keeping in mind that this article is for “real people” and not search engines.
In an article by Neil Patel he talks about making content more accessible of search visitors which in turn will improve your rankings. Neil says “If you’re trying to satisfy visitors from Google, you need to approach your content differently. Here’s why:
When most searchers enter a query on Google, they are looking to solve a problem. If they click on a result, and the information that they are looking for isn’t immediately obvious, they won’t be happy.
This is accessibility in a nutshell. Users need to be able to not only access your content (load the page), but also find relevant bits of content.
This article talks about many aspects of engaging the user, and when engaging the user, the user stays on your website for longer periods of time. So why is engaging your users for longer periods of time?
Neil goes on to say “Google has a few different patents relevant to user engagement. This one in particular describes a way that Google could use user feedback to rank sites. That doesn’t prove that they’ve used it, but supports that they think about user engagement.”
An interesting aspect of this experiment will be to see what the competition for the keyword search term is and then link out to each of the websites that are top ranking with the articles.
The question was initially asked on Quora, Do articles written with more than 2,000 words rank significantly better in the search results for Google than, lets say, 1,000 words or 500 words? Can the blog with most articles of 500 words be successful at all? This is what prompted the experiment and the answer on Quora.
On SERPED they have a monster article of interviews with 45 top seo managers, gurus and experts (hmmm wonder why I wasn’t asked) where I made a post comment, and shared their page on Facebook, tweeted and G+ their article.
Digital Point Forums has a post on our search term but as I am not a member of the site I decided not to create a profile and submit a response, anyway this was basically a page of some guy offering his offshore content writing services for large content projects and articles of 2000 plus words.
Next was Blogging.org I found it interesting that the post on this page was not specifically about long form content but more of a how to article, neverthe less Google ranked the content and we need to see how we fair. I did leave a comment on the site and hope for an approved comment.
R&R Webdesigns had an article on content and also allowed comments,I left a comment, posted to facebook, G+, and a tweet.
Create My Home Business was yet another site we made a comment and did the usual social sharing.
In an Article on Search Engine Journal, Ian Harris says “However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they will rank well long-term. In a study conducted by SerpIQ, blog post pages with over 2,000 words ranked higher than shorter blog posts, which makes sense. If you’re looking for an answer to a question, it’s likely a 500-word post may not have enough useful phrases users are searching for.”
Promoting Your Article – Getting The Social Conversation Going
Now that we have an article created, we need to do a little social media marketing, I am going to keep the amount of social media to G+, Twitter and Facebook. These are the big three social media accounts you really need to have.
I created my Brad Averhill profile on MOZ and have linked back to it. Linking back to my Brad Averhill profile is a good thing because Moz.com has a high domain authority, with a DA of 94 and the links in my profile we may see a little bit of Google Love.
Now with the profile created I can go to the post 15 SEO Best Practices for Structuring URLs and post a comment. This comment post is a valid and community helpful post. When you read the article on MOZ, Rand negated a couple of things about successful on-page seo (technical seo) so I have added my 2 cents worth to the comments section of the post.
A comment post was made on SERPIQ:
Again another few words of advice from Neil Patel on content creation from his blog post How Long Should Each Blog Post Be?
Take into account how all these other factors affect the length of your post.
- Substance – this is the most basic consideration. What are you trying to say? What’s the substance? If you can say it in 100 words, then you may want to do so. If it requires 2,000 words, that’s fine too.
- Style – some writing styles lend themselves to content that is short, brief, and to the point. Other times, the style is more conversational and interactive. Style will affect your content length.
- Frequency – how often you post affects how long your posts are. Some bloggers may post only once a week, but when they do, it tends to be a very thorough blog post. Other sites pop out short ones every day. It’s just a matter of how much the content marketing team can manage. Good content takes time!
- Format – the way an article is formatted has a massive impact upon its readability. I tend to use a lot of subheadings, a sprinkling of images, and short paragraphs. It’s important to break up your content into chunks so people can scan it.
- Purpose – every good content marketing plan has a purpose…many purposes, actually. The ultimate goal is conversions, but within this broad goal, there are sub goals. Other goals may be to spread brand awareness, drive social engagement, grow email lists, provide education or improve SEO. Different purposes will naturally mean differing length requirements.
- Audience – a huge part of content creation is knowing your audience: their needs, their interests, their passions, and their problems. Your goal is to create content your audience is going to read.
- Medium – not all content is words. When I post an infographic, I typically use around 100 words to introduce the topic. The rest of the words are in the infographic, which don’t really translate into an accurate word count metric. If you post a video, meme or infographic, word count becomes irrelevant.
So what has been done so far… we created the featured content for this post – it has taken me about 4 hours this afternoon to write, grab screen shots, post comments on the sites mentioned above and do a little social media.
What we have done:
Created content of 2017 words
Added 8 unique images to the post
Outbound Links No-Follow: 13
Internal links: 3
Although no great link building has occurred, there are a few back links created from post comments, the MOZ profile link that should start to provide link juice to the page. If a website did not have open comments, i could not post one or get a link back, but more importantly could not start or engage with the blog or website.
This has got me thinking more… If you don’t engage your website visitors in a conversation how can you expect to sell to them. Yes blog spam is a huge problem and having 32 different social media accounts is difficult to manage but you have to engage with your visitors. Its ok to yell from the top of the mountain until you can’t yell any more. But if there is no one below to hear you why are you yelling? I think the same holds true for digital marketing and social media. If you keep on yelling at people and not engaging with them you will before long have no voice.
Now we sit back and wait to see the results of the test.