Word Count, Does It Matter?

After the last week I have been performing copious amounts of tweaks and adjustments across several sites and I noticed something that spark my interest. The famous word count suggestion by Yoast’s little WordPress Plugin. It noted that my content had fewer than the recommended 300 words which is not ideal.

This got me really pondering the word count suggestion or recommendation because there are so many suggestions and sweet spots that we are supposed to hit to get the best possible results. This ranges from 300 words all the way to 3000 words. I mean that is a massive window that makes me wonder how true it is.

Does word count really matter anymore?

You know, I don’t really think it does. Remember in our day and age people want the answer as quickly as possible. People also do not want to read a 1500 word essay about a simple question. So, I do not think Google basis where you rank based on the number of words you have.

I think that is based on how you answer a particular question. Yes, the longer form content really helps in establishing the fact that you may be an authority figure and yes Google reads text a lot better than other forms. However, I still like to believe that Google is a lot smarter at understanding whether or not you solved the problem.

The reasoning behind the theory is simple, I like to believe that people have needs and preferences as to how they go about gathering information and researching. Clearly, video content is becoming super powerful. How do you measure 3000 words there?

What about an infographic? That can solve a query rather effectively can’t it? Or what about a simple paragraph or two that gets right to the point? A recipe may not have 300 words yet because so many people use it, it ranks well?

Word count idea busted?

I believe (my opinion) that word count isn’t as important as what people make it out to be. Simply because context and ease of use play a much bigger role in answering a question. Topics also factor into this conclusion or belief I have.

Take how to content pieces. Don’t user generally run to video content to learn how to do something? The article that one would create wouldn’t generally answer that.

It is all about context and the user at the end of the day. The question or requirement also plays a really really strong roll in determining the effectiveness of an article or content piece.

I think that the biggest problem is that people still believe that content is text, can article or essay. They are brainwashed into believing that that is the only way that they are going to get organic visibility.

To bust that myth, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Video is dam powerful. It is also relatively easy to create. I know I vlogged for two months just using my smartphone.

Solving a need is what matters more

Yes, in context word count can matter to an industry but only a few industry. Others can get away with short to the point content pieces. Others can rely purely on video content while some use images.

What really really matters is, are you providing a solution? How you provide it doesn’t matter like it used to. Just as long as you are providing that solution.

It also goes on your users. What do they prefer digesting? Some love video content because they are on the move. Some really love mixed content pieces. Others just want a short answer, which is why Google has the answer box. It gives the answer.

Maybe a word count VS type VS context case study is needed

I think to fully answer this query we need to perform a series of tests and I think I have the perfect one. This is what I aim to do.

Over the next while I am going to create several pieces of content being:

  1. Articles
  2. Videos
  3. Images
  4. Infographics
  5. Mixed content pieces like this one

Post them (annotations in analytics) and monitor the performance across the board.

Now I am not just going to test them broadly. I am going to create each of the content types in a specific topic like Search Engine Optimization or Accelerated Mobile Pages or just plain Marketing. Using topics to guide it. That way we can see how it really works.

Factors to judge on would be:

  1. Rankings
  2. Click Through Rate (going to say what the content is Like (video or Article or image))
  3. Bounce rate
  4. Time on page
  5. scroll depth
  6. Exit rate
  7. Pages per visit

I think that should give a clearer indication into the effectiveness of the test.

To take it a step further I am also going to be running this test across other sites too to really gauge how effective this form of content can be.

Now it is going to take some time to see real tangible results here so please bare with me while I perform this test. Once done we can conclude if I am right or wrong.

Stand by for more.

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