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Google: Word Count Does Not Equal Quality Content

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Google: Word Count Does Not Equal Quality Content

Google’s John Mueller has revealed that content length is not an indicator of its level of quality.

“Some pages have a lot of words that say nothing,” Mueller says. By the same token, pages with few words may be highly relevant to a user’s query.

So Google will not necessarily rank pages based on word count alone. Short form content may rank just as well as longer content.

What’s most important is how well the content satisfies a particular query.

If someone is looking for a quick answer to a simple question, a wordy article may be the exact opposite of what they want to land on.

This topic came up on Twitter in response to a user who asked whether or not it would be beneficial to de-index shorter articles.

In response, Mueller stated that “word count is not indicative of quality.”

Ultimately it’s up to the site owner to use their best judgement.

It’s worth noting that Google’s updated Quality Rater Guidelines do not specifically mention anything about word count.

When one of Google’s quality raters manually evaluates content, they are to determine if pages “achieve their purpose.”

That may be answering a question, describing a product, providing how-to instructions, and so on.

So don’t get hung up on word counts. Consider whether the content serves its “beneficial purpose.”

If Google sees that the content is beneficial to searchers then it will rank regardless of how long or short it is.

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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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