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Several studies show that content length helps with ranking on Google. However, this is a surface level, correlative analysis.

Not every article warrants 4,000 words of copy, and you can generally notice when a post has been written for SEO rather than users. Great writing is dense, not long. I get into that thought process and why you should shift your thinking there in our latest video.

Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Ross, founder of Siege Media. Today, I want to talk about why you should think about content density instead of content length.

So, sometimes in a pitch situation for new clients with us, they say, “What is the average content length of the content you put out? We’re paying for something. It should be 2,000, 3,000 words, what have you. That makes sense to me, right?” And actually, my response is “No.”

In today’s content marketing world, what matters more is density instead of length. What I mean by that is a lot of people will just make 2,000-4,000-word posts and they’re not of any value. They just think they have to meet this arbitrary number, while actual quality can be seen and can be felt in a small amount of words in a small section.

The difference there is how much time is put into that specific thing. Let me show you an example of content that looks great and looks like they spent a ton of time to figure out the small subtle design details.

Maybe it’s video, maybe it’s animation, etc. And additionally, you could spend weeks to find research for a single sentence to do survey content, to get data collected, and to distill that into a chart.

That is dense. It’s not thousands and thousands of words but it’s that kind of content and that kind of copy that is more engaging on average than 3,000 words. It’s possible to hold people through the 3,000 words and yes, that may tangentially help SEO.

But if you build something that truly engages them to the end or that they are satisfied with, and is dense because of that content marketing sophistication around it, around the quality rather than just the quantity of your words, I think you will actually perform better on average.

So, I think in good content marketing campaign, and this is actually reflected in a new study by Orbit Media on blogging performance, people are starting to realize that content length is not the goal.

The numbers have come back down in terms of average length that people are publishing, I believe because people are starting to become more aware that Quick Answers matter and long-form doesn’t always perform better.

It’s more about density. It’s the rich media that makes it great. And also the research and time around every word that you put out rather than just thinking you have to put thousands of words on the internet.

So, hopefully, this helped you flip your switch around content marketing and content density versus content length. If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

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Comments

  • Thanks for the article. I think we often get lost and buy into the whole notion that we must be writing massively long blog posts that the ‘experts’ tout as the best route to improved rankings.

    • Thanks for commenting Tyson! Glad you liked it.

  • Great article Ross, and thanks for starting the conversation. Do you have any good examples of content dense pages to share? Also, have you found particular tools helpful for evaluating content density? Thanks so much!

    • Hey Ian I think the customer service statistics post above is one good example of this. Our post on content marketing examples: https://www.siegemedia.com/strategy/content-marketing-examples also has a lot, I’d just filter for posts w/o 5k+ words.

      Unfortunately I’m not sure density can be measured as well.. besides high rankings. 🙂 It’s more of a feeling, although it will definitely correlate with more links+rankings etc because of that quality/engagement. Some Screaming Frog analysis of top rankings+highly linked content against small word count would likely reveal a good amount. However, wouldn’t be as easy to measure for a new asset besides with user testing.

      Hope that helps!

  • Great point made here. I’m a product designer for a remote design firm ( https://wandr.studio ), but I’m starting to take a real interest in content creation and the nuts and bolts of SEO. I’ve recently asked to try my hand at writing for a design blog and hadn’t considered the concept of density. Really grateful I came across your post!

  • Bobby Chicano

    I can see why blog post length has come down. I’ll venture to make this claim without offering any statistics: there appears to be many more bloggers and content out there, so naturally, people’s attention is more divided. Personally, I’d rather engage with content that is dense and succinct. I think you hit the nail on the head.