One of the long-held strategies of SEO for doctors is that word count mattered. For any page or post to rank, it needed to be longer than 300 words.
However, John Mueller from Google recently stated that word count is not a ranking factor.
“From our point of view the number of words on a page is not a quality factor, not a ranking factor. So just blindly adding more and more text to a page doesn’t make it better.”John Mueller, Google
So what does this mean for doctors who are focused on content marketing and SEO?
Can really short pages and posts rank? Perhaps, but we know for certain that Google’s algorithms consider several things, especially relevant, high-quality content.
Why Long-Form Content Typically Ranks Higher
Even though Google says that word count isn’t a specific factor, there’s no denying that long-form content tends to rank higher.
Just take a look at almost any research-related Google search. The pages that rank in the top spots almost always are longer-form content (300 words or more).
This is what has long contributed to the thought that word count mattered.
Why Long-Form Content Is Still the Best Practice for Content Marketing
In light of this reveal from Google, it might be tempting to create content that is much shorter. However, I would recommend against that though for most doctors. Here are a few reasons why:
Helping Google’s Algorithm: Creating longer content helps Google’s algorithm better understand what your content is about.
Authority: You want Google to position you as a local authority in your specialty. Content that is well-written, original, and helpful to patients will typically be longer. This is what Google is looking for.
Mobile Experience: We are now several years into Google having a mobile-first indexing process. Even if the majority of your visitors still come from a desktop, Google will rank your site based on the mobile experience. And scrolling through content is seen as more mobile-friendly than clicking several links.
Word count alone will not determine your rankings, but it can still be a helpful guide for determining how comprehensive and valuable your content can be for a particular keyword.
Ultimately, you will need to create content that best serves the needs of your patients, regardless of the length.