In 2007, you probably would have been told that your content needed to be 500 words, or Google would not even look twice at your website.
The truth is that while you do need a certain threshold of content in order for your dealership’s website not to be marked as spam, there is no magic word count number when it comes to determining whether or not your website has enough content on it.
Some will tell you that longer content is better because it offers you the opportunity to provide a more in-depth view on the topic, while others will tell you that shorter content is better, because of the shorter consumer attention span.
But which is really going to be better for your automotive SEO campaign?
The short answer is this: it depends.
Both short and long content have their place when it comes to your website.
Here’s what you need to know about both and when the best time to use either might be:
Did you know that the average WordPress post is less than three hundred words long?
This is probably because, first, most WordPress posts are not written by professional writers and second, because shorter content is more likely to be read in its entirety by site visitors.
Any content that is less than a thousand words, and content in the form of infographics, very short videos like those posted on Vine, and list posts are all considered to be short content.
The benefits of short content include:
- The ability to scan the content
Most people, when they read content online, are actually scanning the content, not reading it.
This means that they are quickly reading through the content, looking for the little details and specks of information that they originally clicked onto the link to find.
Shorter content is much easier to scan because it is short and the relevant information is unlikely to be buried somewhere several thousand words into the page.
- Is easier to share
Every social media has a character limit when it comes to sharing content.
The shorter your content is, the more of that content will be visible above the “Read More” break.
Shorter content is also just more likely to be shared because it can be quickly read, and that is exactly what people are looking for when they go online for information.
- Easier to read on mobile devices
Even if your content is mobile-friendly, meaning that it enlarges the text and fits it to the screen of the device that is accessing it, shorter content is going to be better than longer content for mobile readers.
Scrolling through thousands of words on a mobile device is tedious, especially because mobile readers are much more likely to expect short, bite-size content and naturally have a shorter attention span than if those same users were accessing the article or page through a desktop or laptop.
- Shorter content is more likely to go viral
Shorter content is simply more statistically likely to go viral.
Of course, short content also has its drawbacks, which include:
- Tends to be more formulaic
Content in the short form is more likely to use a formula, like a list post.
The short length does not provide the author with as much freedom to go outside the box.
- Provides fewer opportunities for an in-depth discussion of the topic
Short content, especially if the content is being artificially shortened (a topic that requires two thousand words is being covered in three hundred words, for example), you probably cannot provide real, in-depth commentary on that topic.
You simply might not have the room to cover all of your bases when it comes to that topic you are trying to cover, making the post feel shallow or thin.
As with short content, long content has a variety of negatives and benefits.
What will ultimately be better for your website will depend on the topic itself.
Is there enough meat to the topic to write a two thousand word post on that subject?
Or would three hundred words do?
Here are some of the benefits of longer content:
- Search engines prefer longer content
Search engines will give preference to longer articles and posts, simply because they are more likely to provide a thorough discussion of the topic than longer articles are.
That said, a two thousand word topic that is really stretching and grasping for something to talk about is going to be deemed less valuable than a short topic that covers the topic and does not inject any fluff into it.
- Lends itself to the more engaged audience
The audience that you really want to speak to, the one that actually cares about the topics you are writing about, are going to prefer longer content.
This means, if you are trying to produce content for them, longer content is the better option.
- Helps to build authority
When you can write long, high-quality content about a topic for automotive se, you have the ability to build up your authority on that topic.
Building authority is ultimately what will put you on top when it comes to ranking your website.
The negatives of longer content include:
- Shorter attention spans won’t engage
If someone clicks your link and sees that there are very long chunks of text to read and they have a short attention span, they will probably just click away, rather than engaging with the article
- Longer articles are less likely to be shared
The longer the post is, the less likely someone is to share it to their social media pages.
- A longer article doesn’t necessarily mean a better ranking
Simply writing something longer than what has been written on a topic previously does not mean that you will get a better ranking than those other pages or posts.