Google is testing the labels, which highlight whether the content of a page can be read in five minutes or less.
Google is testing two new labels in search results:
- Quick Read
- 5 Min. Read.
Short content can be helpful content. For nearly a decade, skyscraper content and 10x content have been popular concepts. In short, the idea behind both was that “length is strength.”
Some SEO correlation studies appeared to back up the idea because Page 1 of Google is full of articles at 1,000+ words.
However, word count is not a ranking signal. And searchers have been growing tired of clicking on articles that discuss the entire history of a topic before finding the answer to their question buried somewhere in a 2,000+ word blog post.
Axios has built an entire news strategy around smart brevity.
Does that mean all long-form content is bad? No. In some industries, longer content is good, necessary and acceptable.
There is also no need to revisit your content strategy at this point. Don’t edit or break up all your stories so they have a reading time of 5 minutes or less.
Why we care. Any change Google makes to its SERPs can impact which sites get clicks and traffic, which makes this test one to watch. If this test becomes a feature, it could have a major impact on recipe searches, for example, which are notoriously overstuffed. It also makes sense in places where you’d expect a short answer or definition instead of a novella full of anecdotes and tangents.