Google Will Rank Shorter Content...If It's Good

Do you find yourself spending a lot of time trying to pad out your Web pages with more words just so they will be ranked by Google or other search engines? Well, you might be glad to know you can stop that practice.

A common misconception about search engine optimization (SEO) is that a page must have at least 500 words (or some other arbitrary number) in order to even be considered to rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs), but Google's John Mueller has recently stepped in to squash this popular, albeit incorrect, theory.

Mueller's testimony comes from a thread on Google's Webmaster Help forum entitled, "Is Short Content = Thin Content?" The Google employee stepped in to assure users that "Googlebot doesn't just count words on a page or in an article."

According to his post, Google's focus is on finding and sharing "useful & compelling" content, which even shorter articles or bursts of content (such as tweets) are able to provide. This means that there isn't a specific number of words or characters that automatically qualify a Web page for ranking consideration, but rather quality content.

That being said, one way to help get shorter articles noticed is to use them to generate discussions, as allowing users to share comments on an article is an easy way to include additional information on a page that doesn't actually require any extra work. On occasion, this can be especially useful because "sometimes users are looking for discussions like that in search."

Mueller wrapped up his post by reiterating that the best way to get ranked is to create truly unique, high-quality content, rather than material that is simply rewritten or autogenerated.