How Much Content Do You Need to Rank?
Hint: Size DOES matter but there’s more to the story
You heard content was necessary to rank but the idea of spending your free time writing isn’t fun. The truth is – it’s not about writing the most. If you want to rank your website on Google think quality over quantity. You’ll need anywhere from 600 – 4000 words to cover a topic in-depth, and with multiple keyword variations. The longer your content, the more keyword variations you can include. Your rankings will also depend on your backlinks and the strength of your site’s domain.
No matter what trade you’re in, publishing content on your website is crucial to put your business in front of people who are searching online.
Right now you’re thinking of publishing content on your site, or maybe you’ve already knocked up a few blogs, but you’re not sure what the rules are. It’s exciting to think of your business appearing on Google and attracting new leads while you sleep, but there are plenty of unknowns too.
What content do I need for my website?
Create a blog they say!
And then write, and write and write content. Do that and customers will come rushing to your door in droves. But you tried that already, and you still didn’t rank. (You can read more in our full article about why your website isn’t ranking even though you’re producing content here.)
So why is content important then? If it’s not a guaranteed success.
In short, it’s not important.
See, the internet has never been about content. It’s about satisfying your customer’s needs and wants. Nothing has changed in marketing for hundreds of years in that respect. Your goal is to give your customers what they want, answer their questions, and help them make the best decisions (just like we’re doing right now with you reading this article).
The better you answer your customers’ questions, problems, needs, wants and desires; the better the content will rank. Yup! That’s the secret! Is there an art form to it? Of course. That’s why you pay people to do it for you.
If you’d like to read more about the secrets of creating successful content go here.
In short, YES.
Your customers won’t cling to every word, but they do expect content on your site. Roughly 70% of people prefer to learn about trade services through content, as opposed to ads. And 60% of people won’t do business with you if you have poorly written content, or content that’s overly personalised (in other words, the written equivalent of a dodgy used car salesman).
Google also knows people want quality content that makes their lives easier. That’s why content amount, length and quality are all important ranking factors. So if you don’t publish well-written content regularly, with enough words to cover your topic properly, you won’t be able to rank.
How to rank without writing a blog post every day
Firstly, let’s face it – you’re not going to write a blog every day (or pay for someone to write a blog every day).
It’s not about smashing out articles. If you want to rank content on Google you need to better what your competition is doing, and write content that gives your audience what they want. And you’re better off posting one well-written and relevant article each month instead of 7 short, crappy articles.
In this article we’ll explain why content is important, how your audience will determine the content you need to rank, and what impact your competition has on your content strategy.
How target audience influences the content
Your contractor business has two types of customers:
- Maximisers = want content to compare options and make informed decisions
- Satisfiers = want to save time and prefer to find the best deal available
If your target audience is mostly maximizers you’ll need long-form content that helps people make decisions. These are customers looking for full kitchen renos, splashback upgrades, new deck installations. In other words, big home improvement changes need to be carefully thought out.
You’ll need in-depth blogs that break down your service, offer prices and comparisons, and include practical tips. The people reading these blogs aren’t going to pick up the phone and commit to a new kitchen right now, but they are looking for help to make that decision. To rank this content you’ll need to be the most helpful and relevant source possible, which means longer word counts and exploring the topic from every possible angle.
If your target audience is mostly satisfiers you can get away with shorter content that saves people time, which is their #1 priority. These customers are looking for urgent plumbing help, backyard mowing before a party, kitchen outlets that carked it at the worst time. In other words, time-sensitive home improvements that need to be solved FAST.
You’ll still need blogs and articles written around the keywords people are searching for, but the focus won’t be on length, but relevance. Someone looking for help replacing a shattered kitchen window doesn’t need a 2,000 word article on the history of glass and shatter-repair techniques from around the world. You might turn them off for life. They need to know you’re fast, reliable, and are known in your local area for fixing windows.
How competition influences the content
There’s no one size fits all approach for content, but using the websites ranking above you as a yardstick will provide a roadmap of where to go.
It’s pretty simple, content that’s already ranking for the keywords you’re targeting must be doing something right. Check out each piece of content on the first page of Google and you’ll have a benchmark to hit.
- How many words is the content?
- What format is the content?
- How does the content cover your topic?
If every piece of content on the first page has 1,000+ words, that’s going to be your target. That’s Google’s way of letting you know they don’t think short content is valuable enough, so you’ll need to match what everyone else is doing.
The format of the content is also crucial. If every piece of content on the first page is in the form of a list, your content should be in the form of a list. If ranking content compares multiple products with tables and charts, that’s a sign Google considers that content type valuable.
Success leaves clues, so use the content that’s already ranking as your guide.
Do you need long content to rank on Google?
Size does matter. But not in the way you think.
Using more words doesn’t make your content better, and more words won’t make your content rank higher. But using more words DOES mean you unlock more ranking opportunities. For example, if you wanted to rank for the keyword ‘how to install a fridge’ you could cover the topic in 300 words.
But by increasing your content to 500, or 1000 words, you’d cover the topic in-depth. If you added a section on fridge installation mistakes to avoid you might start ranking for more keywords. Now people can find you when they search Google for fridge installation tips AND fridge installation mistakes to avoid.
The more content you have, the more keywords you can target, and the more opportunities you’ll have to appear on Google. If there’s a way for you to make your content more valuable, it’s worth doing.
Does the word count have any influence on the content?
When it comes to content, length is strength.
The more words you use, the more chances you have to:
- cover a topic in depth and answer your audience’s questions
- cover a topic from more angles than your competition
- Include extra keywords naturally
- boost your odds of ranking
But your customer’s needs also matter. There’s no need to smash out 10,000 words on ‘How to change a lightbulb’. So keep your target audience in mind if you’re going to write content. If the topic requires depth, don’t be afraid to stretch out the word count.
It’s possible to say more with less though, so it’s not the content length you should focus your energy on, but the relevance. Yes, length is important because it means you can go in-depth on your topic, but content quality and clear problem-solving tips are more important.
Stuck for time but keen to publish content that attracts leads?
Book a FREE consultation with our Tradie Digital experts and find out how to grow your trades business without spending a cent.