People told me when I started marketing that I had to write 2300 words articles to get on page 1.
They didn’t need to be exact 2300 words but anything in the range of that was acceptable.
Let’s face facts. Some industries or topics don’t require as many words. Think about someone searching Google for “how do I tie a tie”. What if you could read 2000 words? Or 1000 words?
No, probably not. Instead, you’d like to see some images or a short video that shows you how to tie a knot.
Google now looks at whether someone clicks on search results and exits immediately. Google will know if a lot people exit from a particular article and decide not to rank it so high.
The question is: Does word count affect your rankings or overall traffic? And how does industry differ?
To answer the question, I wasn’t going to trust my gut so my team pulled data form BuzzSumo and Ubersuggest to complete a thorough analysis.
We examined over 10,000 articles in these industries based on backlinks and SEO traffic.
- Real Estate
Here are the lessons we have learned
What’s the average word count for content types related each industry?
You can see that most people don’t write blog posts of more than 2300 words. It doesn’t make sense to have all of your content be extremely detailed in most industries.
We found that the average length of each industry was approximately 900 words.
Let’s now examine the content produced for each industry.
Although it varied by industry, “How To”, posts on “What” and “Why” were most popular in all industries.
Let’s now look at the word count for each type of content by industry.
What’s the industry average word count for certain content types?
We looked at the four most popular types of posts.
- Posts titled “How to”
- Posts from the “List” category
- Posts tagged “What”
- Posts tagged “Why”
Below is an industry average for each word count.
You can see that “How To” posts are often longer than the industry average graph.
Although engineering was generally lower than other subjects, we found that engineering content was more heavily influenced by videos. This makes sense considering that many engineering-related topics can be quite advanced.
We also analyzed more than 10,000 articles on the internet. It wasn’t the largest sample size for all industries.
For most industries, the average word count of “List-Based” posts was comparable to that of “How To” posts.
However, this was not the case for posts based on “What”.
Average “What”-based posts were shorter than “How To” or “List-Based”.
The graph below shows the length of posts based on “Why” per industry.
Let’s now dive into backlinks.
What’s the average number backlinks per post at each word count threshold for
Based on the length of the article, here is the backlink count.
Remember that we analyze the popularity of articles within each industry. Some articles do not get the same amount of backlinks.
The graph shows that posts with word lengths of 1001-1500, 1501-2000 or more than 1000 words get over 1700 backlinks. Similar with word counts of 3001-3500 words.
This graph shows that aiming for content lengths within these 3-word ranges is the best way to generate more backlinks… , assuming your content quality is high.
What’s the average traffic for posts below each word count threshold?
Backlinks don’t always work.
You don’t get traffic if you have many backlinks. This is the average traffic to posts based upon word count.
The most traffic was generated by posts that had between 250 and 3000 words. Then came posts of 3001-3500 words, and then posts of 3501-4000 words.
Optimizing for traffic is easy. You can see that a range between 2501 and 4000 words is the best. However, this may not apply to every industry. Let’s take a look at the data.
This is how the traffic distribution for each industry by each word count threshold looks.
As you can see, every industry is unique.
It’s evident that students prefer content shorter than 500 words in the Education sector. Posts that are between 350-1000 words and 4,000 words work well in the Entertainment industry. However, posts of this length do not do well in Technology or Travel.
What’s the average number social media shares per industry for word counts?
Let’s take a look at what social media users like.
We chose to focus on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for the graph below because not all social media networks provide sharing data.
You can see that not all industries are as easily sharable. For instance, I don’t believe most people would want to share articles about Engineering, E-Commerce, and Insurance.
On the other hand, technology and travel did extremely well.
Here is data by industry from Facebook.
Here are the Twitter data broken down by industry.
Here is the Pinterest data.
The 3 charts below will help you determine which social media channels to focus on to increase shares based on your industry and word count.
How many keywords rank on the first page of Google for content that has different word counts?
We selected between 80 and 100 URLs for each word count threshold. This was done to determine the number of keywords found in positions 1-10.
This question was answered by approximately 8.5% of URLs in the total analysis.
Shorter articles had a tendency to rank higher in page 1 than those with 1001-1500 word. Also, articles between 250 and 3000 words did well.
This doesn’t necessarily mean your articles need to be in these word count ranges if you want to rank higher on page 1. No matter what word count range you are in, quality should be your top priority.
A shorter article will result in fewer words and less value content. In theory, this would mean that you would be ranked lower on Google’s first page.
Google will rank your article for keywords after a certain point, such as 1001-1500 words posts.
What’s the average word count for top-performing content in each industry?
We selected posts from each industry to be included in this section.
- The top 10% of traffic
- The top 10% of social media shares (Facebook and Twitter combined)
- The top 10% of backlinks
This way you can clearly see the average word count of the top performers.
If you want to rank in the top 10 in your industry, your article should be at least 500 words long and likely under 1500 words.
Conclusion: Does word count impact performance?
Word count does not guarantee success in a traffic, social share, rank, or backlink perspective.
The data below will guide you as to where your article should be in your industry. You can have a lot more success if you combine that with your paid advertising and SEO efforts.
You don’t want any “fluff” in the content you create. Keep it simple and to-the-point. You also want your article to be clear and concise so that people understand what you are trying to say.
Subheadings, such as the one I used in this article, make it easier to read your content, especially if it’s long. You can also look at your sources to find out how you can extract more data from your content in order to draw better conclusions.
What length of content do you have?
By: Neil Patel
Title: Does Word Count Impact the Performance of your Posts?
Sourced From: neilpatel.com/blog/word-count-impact-performance/
Published Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2022 16:53:53 +0000
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