If there’s one question that we get asked more often than any other, it’s this: “How many words should be on the page?” Or, “How long should my blog post be?” Or “What’s the ideal word count for my content to rank in search engines?”
Then there are similar questions such as, “How do I make sure there is enough information without overloading my audience?” Or, “How do I make sure the information I added isn’t too much?”
As you can see, it becomes incredibly confusing to decide the right word count for your web content.
So, what’s the sweet spot when it comes to word count? Before making benchmarks for your content’s length, let’s get to the truth about word count and what actually matters.
Surprise! There Isn’t a Right Word Count After All!
How relieved are you right now? But seriously, it’s time to put aside the technicalities and get down to the cold, hard truth about content: the actual number of words on your page doesn’t matter. What does matter is the quality of your content.
John Mueller of Google said it this way:
“Some pages have a lot of words that say nothing. Some pages have very few words that are very important & relevant to queries. You know your content best (hopefully) and can decide whether it needs the details.”
If the granddaddy of all search engines believes that quality doesn’t hinge on word count, why are we so worried about it? And what should we actually focus on instead?
Word Count Only Matters When It Impacts Quality
If you look up articles on how long content “should” be, you’ll find a plethora of advice. From 300 words to 2700 words, there’s a wide range of answers, making it easy for anyone to become fixated on word count.
Here’s the thing: It’s true that long-form content tends to perform better than short-form content. But that’s not because of the word count. It’s because long-form content can provide more detailed, in-depth information on a topic.
This deepens search engines’ understanding of what your content is about, allowing them to match your content better with search intent. More importantly, informative content can provide more value to your reader. But only if it’s high-quality.
That means no fluff, unnecessary details or fancy jargon. It also shouldn’t have a lack of information. Cover the topic in full, and make it a valuable resource for your target audience.
Remember, bigger isn’t better. It’s the quality of your content that actually matters, which ultimately will drive your word count.
That begs the question: How do you create “quality” content? Well, you need to gauge what’s important to your target audience, understand them thoroughly, and how to best communicate a topic to them.
How to Make Sure Your Content Is High-Quality
Whether it’s website copy about who you are or a blog post about a specific topic, the ultimate goal of your content should be twofold: Provide value to your audience and communicate it to them clearly.
Ensure that your content meets these goals and the “right word count” will follow suit. Let’s go over some must-do tips to make your content valuable and engaging.
1. Understand & Meet Your Audience’s Needs
What Are Your Audience’s Content Needs?
Your target audience is searching for an answer. If they click on your page, you’ve most likely enticed them with a title and snippets that communicate, “Here’s what you’re looking for.” But getting them on your page doesn’t mean anything if they don’t stay there.
Your audience is trying to find the information they need. To provide them with this information, you need to know and empathize with their pain points, goals, values and more.
Before creating any kind of content, make an ideal customer avatar for your target audience. Once you understand your audience, you can address their needs with informative content.
What Are Your Audience’s Learning Needs?
Solving a problem or learning about a topic isn’t your audience’s only need to address. You also have to consider how they consume content in a way that works best for them.
Everyone reads, learns and understands differently, and their demographics and behaviors will affect your content. Consider your audience’s persona when writing your content.
For example, is your target audience full of busy business owners? Keep that busyness in mind when you write your blog posts. They might have time for a short-and-to-the-point post, but long-form content might be a crunch.
2. Make Your Content Engaging
Creating valuable content trumps word count, but how do you do that exactly? To make your content engaging, do the following:
- Paint a full picture: Whatever the subject matter, give your audience the information they need and an end result whenever possible. Make it as thorough as necessary so it’s actually useful for your audience.
- Don’t overdo it on the details: Your audience needs relevant information to solve their problem or answer their question. Cut out any unimportant details that aren’t helpful or don’t support your audience’s ultimate goal.
- Use current information: In our fast-paced world, information can become outdated rather quickly. Use the most recent data, information and resources you can get your hands on, and keep your content updated regularly. Not only will your audience appreciate receiving the most recent information, but they’ll also start to trust you as a reliable resource.
Clear Communication Tip: Keep Your Copy On Point
No matter what the content is about, make sure there you have a clear message before you start. For example, if you’re writing an About page for your website, the message should be about how you are different from your competition, and how that benefits your audience and addresses their needs.
Keep your content on point with the message you’re trying to communicate from start to finish. This will ensure short ideas stay short and sweet and complex ideas have enough room to develop.
3. Write Until It’s Clear, Then Edit Ruthlessly
Always write and rewrite until the message is clear. For example, a how-to blog post will have certain steps involved to teach your audience a task. Once your first draft is complete, edit it ruthlessly. Cut the fluff down and kick information out that isn’t important.
This is especially critical if you’re using AI writing and content creation tools. No tool will know your target audience better than you do. Don’t be afraid to shift things around, rewrite sections that need clarity or add additional information as it fits. Then, be prepared to edit all over again.
Use the Right Words & You’ll Have the Right Word Count
Past SEO best practices such as word count have now taken a back seat to quality. Above all, deliver value to your audience in the right way through your content. Focus on communicating your message to your audience clearly, always putting them first.
Need Some Help Writing the Right Content?
Writing content for a specific audience can be hard, especially when you’re not a professional writer or editor. At CCS, we use your voice to create content that is helpful to your target audience while communicating your message clearly. For almost a decade, we’ve helped businesses create valuable content for their audiences.