Google rewards high quality content, but the question remains - what defines quality content? What is the length of an article or blog post that ranks highly?
What Influences Your Ranking?
Similar to many other SEO questions, there is no definitive answer to that one. We know for sure that there are certain factors that help promote content on Google. Here are five factors that had a major influence on website ranking in 2013: Google+, Facebook (likes, shares, and interactions), backlinks (how many you've got), Pinterest, and Tweets. This data, however, is not enough to tell the entire story.
Quality is on the First Place
It goes without saying that Google gives priority to high-quality content. At the same time, when it comes to the length of an article or blog post, the question is how long does it take to discuss the topic in a comprehensive manner. The truth is, a blog post has to include as much content as necessary in order to cover the discussed topic. No more, no less. Of course, there are some subjects that require long posts, but simple questions can be answered shortly.
Take a Look at Statistics
Before deciding on a length of your blog post, consider taking a look at some actual data. Statistics say that in 2013, there is a significant drop in content length. This is especially true for the first ten positions on Google. First position pages usually have 400 more words on the page than tenth position pages.
An interesting thing is that older domains ranking high have longer content per page, while newer domains with high ranking have less content per page. In general, 55% of domains that ranked in the top positions were all ten years old or more. Talking about pages that rank for keywords, which are highly-competitive, this is due to the usage of social signals and backlinks, not because of length of content. Generally speaking, Google tends to favor fully-developed websites with a lot of content of high-quality.
To sum up, in order to rank high, a content page should average 1,500 words, keep in mind that not all content is equal though. Focus on social engagement and quality link-building instead, it pays off more in the long run. This advice is especially useful for those targeting highly-competitive terms.
So What's the Plan?
For obvious reasons, each single content page can't be 1,500 words. In additionally, studies reveal that people read only 20-28% of a post. What is great about longer posts is that even if your page does not rank in the top positions for every keyword, it will still appear in the ranks for a larger range of keywords that are found in your content. So you may still consider using longer posts for your greatest advantage.