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Content length. Does the number of characters matter?

7 minutes of reading
Content length. Does the number of characters matter?
Category SEO

It’s no secret that the first few sentences of any given piece of content are usually the most important, they’re often what persuades visitors to stick around and continue reading. If your content isn’t optimized from the very beginning, you risk losing your readers’ attention to something more interesting or relevant instead. It can be difficult to strike the right balance between giving the right amount of information at the right time and knowing how to keep your reader interested, so here are some tips on how to optimize your content to ensure it meets its maximum potential.


How does Google evaluate the quality of content?

It’s no secret that Google looks at a variety of factors when it comes to determining the quality of content on a website. While there’s no magic number of characters that will guarantee top-ranking results, there are some general guidelines you can follow to help ensure your content is optimized for search.

The search engine indexes the content in terms of word density and text length. However, the most important thing is whether the given message responds to the user’s query (if so, the text can be up to 400 characters long). So it is about QUALITY, not QUANTITY. Google has therefore introduced the Search Quality Evaluation Guidelines (E-A-T). Search engine breaks down content into three elements: main content, additional information, and advertising. They should be supportive, not mutually exclusive.

It’s worth knowing that additional information refers to links and graphics, as well as metadata like HTML title tags. Advertising can only be inserted at certain points within the content flow. Webmasters must also keep in mind any page layout restrictions imposed by their template design or CMS software.

The 2000-character myth

You may have heard that Google’s algorithms favor content with at least 2,000 characters. However, there’s no hard-and-fast rule about this number. While it’s true that longer content tends to rank higher in search results, several factors contribute to this ranking. The quality of your content, the keyword density, and the relevance of your keywords are just a few of these factors. All told, the length of your post doesn’t matter as much as you might think. What does matter is giving people what they want from you and serving them information that is relevant to their needs.

Three golden rules

Although there are a lot of ranking factors, in the case of content, we must first focus on the three principles that determine it.

Do your research

It all starts with an idea. What do you want to write about? Are you interested in facts, information or current events? Or maybe you are interested in cooking and want to run a culinary blog? Lifestyle? Or maybe you write short stories, essays, articles, reviews? There are many questions, but they come down to one principle – find what you love and write about it. The topic should be interesting, introduce something new, your element.

Always write for your audience

You should always write for your audience first and foremost. It doesn’t matter if your post is 500 words or 5,000 words – as long as it’s engaging and useful for your readers, that’s what matters. Different age groups, genders, and interests will have different preferences. That’s why it’s important to get to know your target audience and write content that appeals to them. You should also consider the amount of time they are willing to spend reading and writing.

Length = intention

Longer content does not mean that it will be better. In many cases, a concise message is more appropriate and clearer. Quality assessment does not always mean professional text, but rather the relevance of matching keywords to the question asked. It is also related to the level of security that Google cares about, mainly in topics related to health, finance or government information. The content on these pages is mainly done by professionals as they require more formal knowledge.

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Elements: title, headings, keywords, multimedia

It’s no secret that creating quality content is one of the most important aspects of a successful website or blog. But what does quality content mean? While there are a number of factors that contribute to great content, one metric that’s often debated is character count. In addition to the main content, you need to focus on the title (subtitles), headings, keywords, and additional materials (e.g. images, photos, videos). These elements all play an important role in the user experience. They have a positive impact on the interaction of recipients, and above all, the work of network robots and algorithms. Each of these elements is also a ranking factor.

Content that matches the form

Blog post length

Here are a few things to keep in mind when determining how long your blog post should be. Longer posts tend to get more comments and shares than shorter posts (but this isn’t always the case). If you want people to read it all the way through, then you need at least 2000 words (which typically translates into 3-5 pages). But if you want people to scan it briefly before moving on, then 1500 words might suffice.

Social media post length

First of all the optimal length for a social media post depends on the platform you’re using. For example, Facebook posts with more than 300 words are not recommended, while Twitter posts that are more than 140 characters aren’t advised either. And it’s been found that on average, Instagram captions with fewer than 20 words receive more likes and comments as opposed to those that have longer captions. It can be said that less is sometimes more. The bottom line is that you should always pay attention to the guidelines provided by the platform, which will give your content its best chance at being successful and reaching as many people as possible.

Advantages and disadvantages of long/ short text

On the one hand, longer content allows you to dive deep into a topic and explore all its facets. This can make for a more comprehensive and authoritative piece that establishes you as an expert in your field. While shorter text may be easier for readers to digest, it can also come across as superficial or light on substance.

On the other hand, shorter content is often easier to read and digest, making it more user-friendly. It can also be more attention-grabbing and shareable, which is important for building an audience. However, longer text can provide more comprehensive coverage of a topic but may run the risk of boring or losing readers.

Last thoughts

You may have heard that shorter is better when it comes to content marketing. But does that necessarily mean that longer content isn’t effective? The answer, as with most things in life, is a little bit complicated. It’s true that people are generally more likely to skim online content than read it word for word. But that doesn’t mean that longer content can’t be effective. In fact, sometimes longer content can actually be more helpful to readers.

Based on our research, the number of characters in your content does not appear to be a major ranking factor. The optimal length for your content will vary depending on your audience, topic, and format. What is important is that you deliver high-quality content that resonates with your audience and makes them want to share it with others.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to content length. Just write something interesting!

Aleksandra Pietrzak
Curator at the National Museum in Poznań, graduate of Art History at the Jagiellonian University and Contemporary Art at the Pedagogical University of Krakow, curator of exhibitions and author of scientific and popular texts. A lover of contemporary art, literature and travel.
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