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There is not an SEO tool out there that won’t pop up some kind of warning if your content length is too short, and most SEO’s build it in to their SEO strategy. But is content length an SEO ranking factor? And if so, what should your ideal or minimum content length be?

As Google has stated several times, content length is not an SEO ranking factor, nor is it indicative of quality. The content most likely to rank is independent of length, since in some cases it a better user experience of the content length is shorter, rather than longer.

While this may be true from a purely technical standpoint, as SEO’s we know that it’s not always quite so black and white. Most SEO’s also see longer content pieces drive more traffic on average, and that content less than 200 words rarely drives significant traffic volume.

So is Content Length an SEO Ranking Factor?

As the major search engines have confirmed, No. Content length is not necessarily going to help you rank for a target keyword.

However, as SEO’s we know it’s not just about target keyword, but search intent. We also know that one page will generally rank for dozens, if not hundreds of keywords if structured correctly. And it’s far easier to build up one page, than dozens of separa0te pages.

So while content length may not impact the ranking of your performance on a single keyword, it could have a huge impact on your organic traffic performance.

What is the Ideal Content Length

Google mentioned that content length is not as important as user experience, and that’s true. If you’re trying to answer a simple question a long answer might not be ideal. However managing large swathes of content is not ideal either, and each page requires upkeep, maintenance, and promotion (in a perfect world).

Historically as SEO’s we know that while page length doesn’t matter on a per keyword basis, traffic rarely comes from a single keyword. Longer content means more longer tail keywords, and larger overall traffic volume to individual pages.

The good news on that front, is that content is becoming just as dynamic as search intent. The days of page length may soon be replaced by excerpt length as Google has doubled down on passage based indexing to deliver the right “section” of content on the page to the search results. These excerpts may be displayed in the Google FAQ/Question blocks, or entirely replace the title and meta of your result.

Regardless of how the content is displayed, this shift to a more dynamic organic search delivery comes with a huge benefit. It means that you can now create pages focused on multiple related topics and effectively rank for them all, while having them exist on longer form pages. This reduces maintenance and promotion requirements, while allowing you to effectively rank for keywords in a user-focused manner.

So with this in mind, we can safely agree, that while the length of content should be focused on the best user experience, we can create longer form content that allows Google to display a great experience to the user for a specific keyword, while still benefiting from a wide range of longer tail keywords relevant to the topic.