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Displaying Word Count in the Google SERPs

     
5:28 am on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google tests a new feature that shows the approximate number of words next to certain search results. The word count is usually displayed for articles, but only for a small number of results. You'll probably think twice before clicking on a search result that has 50,000 words, unless you're looking for an in-depth report.

[screenshot included]

[googlesystem.blogspot.com...]
5:38 am on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The idea that Google spends resource recording things like word count - or even more, reading level - intrigues me. I appreciate that this might just be research for now, rather than being used in the ranking algorithm. But it doesn't stretch the imagination too far to foresee matching those factors with Google's "intention engine" data.

As a rough example, a transactional intention might depress pages with very long copy - but an informational or scholarly intention might lean toward longer and higher reading level content.
6:24 am on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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>intention engine

That makes a lot of sense...

It'd be interesting if they could come up with word counts after the template is stripped.
8:04 am on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I can see this being used in the algo. Perhaps they could offer a transactional/informational search option. I can see that being very useful.
12:59 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I guess they will use the informtaion they glean about whether visitors want to go to pages with a lot/few words
6:02 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I think I'd find it useful. But it's all clutter on the page, and they're already adding a lot of other extra text for certain pages. It has to earn its place by being useful to most users.
 

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