Why Google is Making Us Wordy: An Argument for Value
Given that today’s marketing world is overwhelmed with content, it’s become increasingly evident that some marketers truly prioritize quantity over quality. And when I say quantity, I’m not just talking about the amount of posts published, but the number of words in those posts.
If you search “optimal blog post length” in Google, the search engine will return 1,500-2,000 words, while HubSpot claims blog posts should be 2,100-2,400 words long for SEO purposes.
While I’m all about having in-depth content and well-researched articles, most people aren’t reaching 2,000 words by laying down fact after fact. More often than not, I come across posts that rehash the same argument time and again for the sake of hitting that coveted content tipping point.
What Happened to Being Concise?
The more we delve into the content marketing world, the further we stray from our high school English classrooms. It seems as if we’ve all forgotten the writing lessons where teachers begged us to get to the point. In an age where content is competitive, being pithy is under-appreciated.
So how do we, as content marketers and storytellers, avoid the pitfall of being wordy for Google’s sake? Instead of laying down points A, B, and C, then summarizing A, B, and C, and finally drawing conclusions from A, B, and C, why not just give our readers points A through O?
The only reason for us to be wordy is if we’re consistently offering value throughout the article.
Wordy but Valuable: The Skyscraper Technique
In an awesome post by Brian Dean of Backlinko, the back-linking king reveals how he increased search traffic by 110 percent in 14 days by using something he calls “The Skyscraper Technique.”
The Skyscraper Technique is simple in theory, time consuming in practice, but incredibly beneficial in the long run. To implement it, perform a search for the topic you want to write about and find out what your competition is offering on that subject. Find the list article with the highest number of tips/ways/techniques, then double or triple that number. Not only will you, as a writer, be offering more value to your readers, Google will take note of the longer length of your article and potentially rank it higher than the competition.
People constantly advise content marketers to offer value in our posts, when what we really need to do is offer more value in our posts. And if you’re not filling the page with said value, please, to protect our collective reputation, be brief or bide your time until you have something of substance to add to the conversation.
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This post was originally published in 2014 and updated in 2021.