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Note: This is an article by Faruque Alam. He is a niche site builder and online marketer from Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Question: How long should a home page or any other article be?
Answer: Google will never tell anybody the answer to this question. Mainly because of the AI (artificial intelligence) algorithm they use. The algorithm has too many factors to give a good definite answer. So, the best answer is, it depends (on many different factors).
Simple answer – the article should be as long or short as it is needed to answer or explain the title. It should be short enough to keep the reader’s attention but not so short that the reader has to look elsewhere for the answer and further clarifications. And not too long to make the article boring.
Before we get into the details of the answer, let’s think. Are we asking the right question?
Question: Why do you need to know the length of the article?
Answer: To rank, of course.
According to Bacllinko.com, longer articles tend to do better in SERP results:
“The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.”
Take a look at the graph below. It shows a longer content rank higher. Average word count for the 1st position is 2,416. And the 10th position word count is 2,032 words.
Question: Did the articles rank because they have more than 2,000? Or they ranked for different reasons?
Most people are writing 2,000 and above words per article so that they can rank higher than others. Top 30 results, many have articles more than 2,000 words. Those with fewer words ranking higher have very good topical authority.
Question: Will adding more word help?
Answer: Yes and no.
Yes. If all other ranking factors are at per with the competitor (SERP results), more words will help you rank better.
No. If you stuff filler words, repeating the same thing over and over again, add words without adding value to the content, etc. it will result in bad user experience and eventually negatively impact the ranking.
Since the primary objective of writing a blog is to get more traffic, we should be looking at the ranking factors.
Word count is one of the many ranking factors. It’s not even the most important one.
For a more detailed study check here: https://semrush.com/ranking-factors/
Article Length as Ranking Factor
In the image above, number 5, 6, 7 and 8 are some of the most important factors, but they are not going to help you for very long. Intelligent google algorithm updates will detect bad and irrelevant backlinks.
You can buy these factors.
But you cannot buy the first 4 factors in the above list, and they are the most important factors for ranking.
- Direct website visits
- Time on site
- Page per session
- Bounce rate
I will not talk about the first factor as I don’t know much about how to get “Direct Website Visits”.
The next three factors boil down to one main factor: Content Quality.
Quality of the Content
Every sentence in your content has to carry a useful and complete meaning. It should be able to stand out all by itself. This single sentence has to serve as answer to the query of the reader.
Problem is, you may not have so many sentences to make up even 600-word article. What do you do?
Content Above the Fold (Scroll)
Most visitors have a short attention span when it comes to browsing the internet – 8 Seconds Attention Span. But if you can grab their attention in the first few seconds, they will read your content.
So what should be done is, make the content which is above the fold most informative and useful.
The middle section should have paragraphs on related focus keywords.
And the conclusion with the summary of the whole article: again most informative and useful.
How you structure your article is also important as is presentation.
It’s like writing a story, only a very small one.
If you have good article the “Time on Site” will increase.
If you have good interlinking, people will visit other pages, increasing the “Page per session” and decreasing the “Bounce rate”.
Content quality is very important.
For an article to rank and keep the ranking topical authority is very important.
I have seen a 3,646 word home page with about 294 keywords ranking on 1st position in google and 1,008 keywords ranking on the 1st page of google. Many of the keywords are not even on the page. But the site is on those topics.
Topical authority matters a lot.
I have a 2,895-word page. Google indexed 832 keywords on that page, the average position is 8.8 (google webmaster data). I have not focused on most of the keywords.
According to MOZ:
18% of domains ranking for high-volume keywords don’t have the keyword in the body.
If Google thinks you have good content and answered your visitors correctly, they will rank you.
2,000 to 3,000 words ought to be enough to describe the title of the article. In my opinion, a 5,000 or more word article is overkill. The point gets diluted.
But who am I to judge. Some writers can write a 10,000-word article on a “Pen” and make it engaging and entertaining. If you are that writer, you will not be reading my article. And since you are not, you will have to have it written by an expert. The cost of this type of large article has very low return of investment.
(Disclaimer: I’m not an expert – not even close. I’m writing based on my experience and reading and researching on the topic. If I’m wrong, please correct me politely.)