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Google Says Word Count Not a Quality Factor

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Google’s John Mueller answered if it’s helpful to add more words to a web page to help it rank better. The idea was that if a page wasn’t ranking, adding more relevant content will help.

Will Adding Relevant Content Help Rankings?

The person asking the question wanted Mueller’s opinion as to the efficacy of improving a web page by adding additional content that was relevant.

The person asking the question was unclear about what they meant by “relevant content,” which can mean different things. It boils down to whether the content is relevant to keywords or if the content is relevant to user intent or if the content is relevant to people.

There are a multitude of ways content can be relevant, with some versions of “relevance” being, in my opinion, more useful for ranking purposes than others.

Here’s the question:

“Let’s say I want to improve content on a page. I add as much relevant content as I can for the users.

Does this mean that when I add relevant text to the page, Google automatically assumes that the page is better?

Does it work out like that? Is more text better in the eyes of Google?”

The person asking the question related that those in charge are insisting that improving rankings is “as simple” as adding more text.

Updating Content is Not a Simple Process

John Mueller began by stating that updating content is more nuanced than adding more content:

“It’s definitely not quite as simple as that.”

Is Content Quality Linked to Word Count?

There is a common perception that quality articles are comprehensive. Because quality articles are comprehensive it follows that those articles are inherently longer.

How can an article be both comprehensive and not on the long side, right?

I see this quite often. Quality is often equated to comprehensiveness, which means a higher word count.

Google’s Mueller continued his answer by remarking on the idea of word count in the context of quality and ranking factors.

Mueller explained:

“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.”

Mueller next put the idea of content within the example of a book versus a brochure and what the user feels is useful to them.

He said:

“It’s a bit like if you want to present something to a client who’s walking in, you can give them a one or two page brochure or you can give them a giant book of information.

And in some cases people will want a book with a lot of information. And in other cases people want something short and sweet.

And that’s similar to search.

If you have the information that you need for indexing for …kind of making it so that users and Googlebot understands what this page us about, what you’re trying to achieve with it uh… in a short version then fine, keep a short version, you don’t need to make it longer.

Just blindly adding text to a page doesn’t make it better.”

What About Thin Content?

Some people may say that thin content is an example of  content that Google won’t rank because it’s too short.

But that’s not the case.

Thin content is commonly thought of as content that is short.  A more precise definition is content that lacks usefulness.  Factors that define thin content include more than how many words are on a page.

Improving Articles for Better Rankings

Improving an article to hopefully improve the rankings can be somewhat complicated. First, you have to assess what the web page is about and if that web page fulfills the mission of communicating the information a site visitor wants.

Sometimes an article fails because it’s not about what users mean when they search with a particular query. What people mean when they search for something can change.

The reasons why content stops ranking can sometimes be teased out by identifying if the traffic gradually slowed down or if there was a definite date when the traffic dried up. These are data points that must be considered before drawing up a strategy of what to do to help an article rank better.

As John Mueller said, “…blindly adding text to a page doesn’t make it better.

There has to be an explainable purpose to the content rewrite.

Citation

Watch John Mueller answer question about content quality and rankings at about the 20 minute mark:

Searchenginejournal.com

GOOGLE

Google Search Localized Language Carousel, Despite Language Of Query

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Google Search Localized Language Carousel, Despite Language Of Query

Praveen Sharma shared a screenshot of a new carousel in the Google mobile search results that shows localized language content based on the location of the searcher, despite the language of the query entered. In this example, Praveen’s query was in English but Google showed him results in Hindi based on his location.

The screenshot Praveen shared on Twitter shows the results and an overlay explaining “Why are some results in Hindi? It looks like this search is coming from Haryana, where Hindi is commonly spoken.”

How cool is that?

Here are more screenshots from Praveen:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Google Ads Editor Confirmed Bug With Image Ad Uploads

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Google Ads Editor Confirmed Bug With Image Ad Uploads

Google has confirmed a bug with Google Ads Editor version 1.8 and the image ad uploads feature. The AdsLiaison said on Twitter “the team is aware of a recent issue that may be impacting image ad uploads in Editor and is working to address it.”

So if you are having issues with uploading image ads using the Google Ads Editor, you are not alone, Google is aware of it. Google added that they are working on a fix, Google said the team is “working to address it.”

Downgrading to AdWords Editor version 1.7 won’t help, Google said “changing versions won’t help in this case.”

Here are the tweets complaining about this:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Google Shopping Ads With Negative Prices

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Google Shopping Ads With Negative Prices

Zac Stafford posted a screenshot on Twitter of his client’s ads showing negative prices in the Google Search shopping ad results. He said Google auto generated promotions using old codes with discounts greater than the product value.

You can see here, that the Jellycat pacifier normally costs $20 but with a code, you will be paid $27.95 to buy this. Here is the screenshot:

Zac said his client was very unhappy and disappointed with this outcome.

The best part, it seems like Google did this automatically using the Google Ads machine learning stuff. Here is a screenshot from Zac showing “modified by Google.”

click for full size

Not a good thing – I wonder if Google has an explanation for this?

Here is Google’s response:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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