Table of Contents for our Analysis of SEMrush’s SEO Ranking Report:
- Part 1: Introduction, methodology, and key ranking factors.
- Part 2: How website security affects SEO.
- Part 3: How backlinking and referring domains influence SEO.
- Part 5: Which parts of on-page SEO are the most important.
- Part 6: How site traffic and behavior cues affect SERP ranking.
Welcome to the fourth part of our analysis of SEMrush’s SEO ranking report, where we’ll weigh the importance of content length as a ranking factor.
This time, we’ll be discussing content length and how it affects SERP ranking. Should you stick to an arbitrary number?
i.e.: Should you always create content longer than 300 words?
Read on to find out.
The effect of content length on a website’s search results ranking is still a controversial issue unto this day. Back in 2014, the following question was posted on Google’s Webmaster Central Help Forum:
“I want to keep my article length between 200-300 words. I heard somewhere minimum article length should be above 300 words. also want to know the maximum length of article. I know short content does not rank well, but I don’t want to be penalized by Google algorithm. Any suggestion about short content or do I need to write long content for search engines?”
John Mueller, a Senior Google Webmaster Trend Analyst, had the following response to the question:
“There’s no minimum length, and there’s no minimum number of articles a day that you have to post, nor even a minimum number of pages on a website. In most cases, quality is better than quantity.”
Mueller further said that Google’s algorithm is designed to find websites with high-quality, unique, and compelling content. If this is the case, then, is content length insignificant to SEO?To err is human, so err on the side of long content.Click To Tweet
In this article, Edgy Labs will try to answer this question by probing deeper into the SEMrush research study.
Research Purpose and Methodology
In their recent study, SEMrush tried to find the correlation between content length and a page’s search results position.
From the global base of the company, they calculated the median value content length of the top 10 pages based on 600,000 keywords. Moreover, the team divided the results into four keyword volume intervals and used the first 20 positions to present their findings.
Based on the search volume segment, the research study clearly shows that high ranking pages for all search intervals generally have more content. Refer to the original graph below.
The SEMrush study also suggests that the bigger the keyword volume is, the longer the content. Furthermore, the median curve for high-volume keywords is more abrupt as compared to low-volume keywords.
When the results were segmented by keyword length, the SEMrush team discovered the following:
- The middle-volume interval (101-1,000 keywords) have similar trends for both short-head and long-tail keywords.
- Long-tail keywords have more written content than short-head keywords.
While Google is clear that they favor high-quality and relevant content regardless of its length, the SEMrush study suggests that long-form content can boost a page’s search ranking. On average, long-tail search queries have more content than short-tail queries.
The SEMrush study also shows that users are not particularly interested in reading long content articles on broad topics. However, if the topic is narrowed down to a precise statement, it should offer more in-depth information.
Tip: If you want to rank for popular keywords, write long and informative content.