John Mueller, one of the larger brains from the Google dream factory has just reviled something website content writers, and SEO specialists have often suspected but never dared speak out loud, and that’s when it comes to website content for SEO, it’s the quality of the content that matters, not the quantity.
John was quoted as saying “Some pages have a lot of words that say nothing”Based on this logic, there are website pages that have far fewer words but may have the exact content the user needs for that particular search.
As a result, Google won’t just look at the website that has the most content, or uses the highest frequency of key words, they may in fact prioritise short form content over web pages that have longer content that may be less relevant, or slightly rambling as some content writes get desperate to meet a word count by any means necessary.
This has been a quandary for SEO and content writers for some time but is now being explicitly confirmed by the best of the best at Google.
An example of this would be people who are searching for quick answers. They would be better served getting short responses, so if a search askes“What was World War 2?”That question would warrant a long and possibly detailed answer, but if someone asks“What does the word contemporise mean?”It is almost certain that person just heard that word on the tv and wanted to know what it meant very quickly. It’s this deafferentation that SEO and content writers need to look at.
This subject was raised by a Mueller on Twitter in response to a Tweet that enquired as to whether or not it would be beneficial to de-index short articles and content.
In response to this question, Mueller said that “word count is not indicative of quality.”
This means it’s up the site to use its judgement to determine content size as well. This creates a lot of ambiguity as SEO teams around the world follow Googles proclamations as an obsession. Without specific guidelines, it seems that people will have to use more of their own judgement, and this kind of ambiguity will only become more acute as the Google crawlers become more sophisticated to user needs.
It’s at this stage we would like to mention that Google’s updated Quality Rater Guidelines don’t mention anywhere anything about word count.
However, when a Google quality rater manually assesses a webpage's content, they are required to determine that particular page “achieve their purpose.”
That may be answering a specific enquiry, giving a description of a product or service, giving information about a location, or whatever else people may want to know about.
It seems that the moral of the story is, don’t worry too much about the size of the content, just keep in mind what you want to tell the user, to “achieve their purpose”.
As a result, no matter how long or short it is, if Google thinks its relevant, it will rank, regardless of size.