According to the Backlinko study, the average word count of a first page search result is 1890.
In other words, content with a substantial word count seems to be correlated with improved rankings. This could be for a number of reasons: perhaps long-form content commands elevated topic authority due to its sheer length, maybe it’s so in-depth that it becomes an industry resource and gets cited by numerous platforms as a consequence.
However, there’s no need to cease your regular short-form blog output or immediately beef up your landing pages.
There will always be some subjects that can be satisfactorily covered in fewer words. For example, using the blog as an opportunity to answer very specific questions relevant to your industry probably won’t demand 1000+ words per question. And just because a page can reach 1000+ words, doesn’t mean it always should.
Taking topic authority into account, if you have a concise 500 word post and add another 500 words to make it longer, you could run the risk of diluting your authority. Furthermore, your concise content could be rewarded with Google’s knowledge box for certain searches.
However, the opposite is also true: if you tackle a subject that warrants extensive discussion but only provide a general overview, it’s unlikely that you’ll influence the search results.
Investigation will be necessary in order to find what topic is worth the investment of time for long-form content. Mining data from queries in Search Console and keeping abreast of issues relevant to your industry can help.
In conclusion: respect the evolving basics of SEO
SEO does not sit still, so it’s essential for agencies and practitioners to research and talk about new developments in search.
An example of how we can expect ranking factors to shift in the future can be found in the video below, where John Mueller of Google mentions the likelihood of structured data becoming more important.