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Why Completeness Beats Length

“500 words, or 2000 words? That is the question.”

Sorry, Shakespeare, that’s actually not the question.

The idea of content length arises in SEO quite often. “How long should your content be?”

Part of the reason is that multiple studies over the years consistently show that, on average, longer content tends to perform better in Google than shorter content. But smart SEOs believe that the reason this content performs better is not that it’s longer, but because it actually offers more completeness.

What is “complete” content? This is content that:

  1. Completely satisfies a user’s search query (again, “be the last click”)
  2. Offers supporting evidence
  3. Answers additional related questions to the user’s search query
  4. Is authoritative (in other words, gives the user a reason to trust the information)
  5. Provides quality supplemental content to support the main content

From Google’s perspective, there are several reasons why more complete content may perform better. We won’t dive into all the science and details here, but a simplification may be that:

  • Google constantly works to figure out what your content is “about.” More complete content makes this job easier.
  • More complete content tends to satisfy users.