We have been in the Digital Marketing and SEO industry long enough to have experienced many changes in how the industry and the search engines work firsthand. However, one of the constant debates in this community that remains in the ether and refuses to die is – “Does size matter?” Innuendos aside, this is a valid question, do search engines prefer a specific content size? More relevant to this article is the question – What should be the minimum content length for low competition keywords?
Well, the answer is simple, both yes and no. It depends on whether your content satisfies the user intent or search intent. This is especially true in the case of low competition key words, as they are predominantly long tail keywords in which search intent is more explicit and narrower. If you can satisfy the user search intent, the bounce rate drops and helps your page rank faster. However, a lot more variables play into it, and we will get into it in the subsequent sections.
The problem with content length in low competition keywords
As mentioned before, there has been a raging debate about the impact of content length on page rankings. While several practicing SEO specialists would swear that longer content does unequivocally help in getting a better page rank (SERP), there are leading experts vehemently opposed to that notion. John Mueller of Google himself stated that word count is not one of the factors that affect page rank, and he added that just adding text to a page blindly would not result in a higher rank for the page.
But on the other side of the picture, several studies have found that a specific word length window ranks higher on the SERPs. According to a study by Brian Dean and Eric Van Buskirk in 2016 of over a million websites, the average length of the first page results on Google was 1,890 words per page. Ahrefs also conducted another study of 2 million websites in 2018. They found that the median length of top performing articles was around 800 words. So now, we find ourselves in a conundrum, how do we determine which side is right? The answer is a bit complicated, and bear with us as we get to it.
Factors that affect page ranking
To understand how length affects page ranking, first, we need to be clear about one idea, length directly does not affect page ranks. Yes, there is no direct correlation between length and page rank. But page length does afford some flexibilities that can then affect ranking.
Backlinks: According to the 2016 study mentioned above, the most crucial factor that dictates the page ranks as the number of backlinks that a page has studied. Another study by Dean and BuzzSumo of 912 million blog posts back in 2019 showed that longer content was more likely to get backlinks. This is why the length of content can matter in search rankings indirectly.
Search Intent satisfaction: We need to consider search intent, especially when dealing with low competition and long-tailed keywords. Take the example of this long-tailed keyword – “best smartwatches under $500 for men.” This clearly suggests a specific intent on the user to look for smartwatches and not learn how they work or define them. Now, suppose we are targeting this low competition keyword and write a 3000-word long article that takes over 1500 words to even get to a smartwatch list. In that case, the website becomes less beneficial for the user, and this can affect ranking over time. While having backlinks and proper SEO optimization helps, the nature of the content dictates your rank as competition on the keyword increases.
Authority: If the aim is to write a comprehensive piece that covers the breadth of a specific topic in detail, then writing a longer form of content could be more effective in getting a better rank and even establishing the page as an authority. These use cases are optimum for long-tailed keywords as apart from the primary keyword, you can also target secondary and tertiary low competition keywords through this “pillar content.”
How to know the content length for low competition keywords?
So, we now know how length indirectly affects page ranking. But how do we determine the correct length for us? We need to consider several things, but as a guide, here are a few essential guides that can help you.
- Do not write articles less than 300 words in size. As mentioned above, try to maintain a length between 800 and 2000 words as a yardstick.
- Research the competition to find the word counts they have and try to improve them in quality and quantity. You can do them manually, but thankfully there are tools like clearscope.io that can also help analyze the competition in this regard.
- Cater to the search intent of your keyword. For specific information, be precise and concise in your writing and avoid writing fluff. For pillar content with a broader scope, write longer articles, even up to 5000 words. Effective use of multiple primary and secondary keywords could get you ranked in multiple queries.
- Finally, you know your audience and writing the best. Analyze the performance of your previous articles and compare them with their lengths. You might find patterns and insights that you find anywhere else.
While being a personal blogger, it is relatively easy to keep track of the competition, page ranks, page lengths, etc., and cater your content to that. I hope in this case, this article has been of some help to you. If, on the other hand, you are a business that is looking to improve the visibility of your website on internet searches, then you need a comprehensive and experienced team that can help in this regard. Inteliqo Research and Services offers comprehensive digital marketing and SEO services that you should enquire about today at the Contact Us section at the top of our website or use the chatbot for 24/7 assistance.