"We will consider content to be low quality if it is created without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill.” - Google
That is a big deal! This doesn’t mean that content has to be written by a professional, but it seems safe to conclude that Google (and other search engines) have little tolerance for content that is just thrown together and fails to adequately communicate what is intended.
Consider this. You come across a webpage about the history of flight that contains two paragraphs of text with a single photo. You read the page in disbelief that a topic could be treated so inadequately. So does Google! That’s why a page like that would never show up prominently in a Google search for ‘The History of Flight.’
Yes it is a pain! – Either to write website content or pay someone to write it. The question is, “How important is it that your business be well regarded by website visitors – or found in web searches?” Google is determined to make its search rankings for particular words or phrases match what users are looking for when they search those words or phrases. That is organic SEO in a nutshell.
Think of your webpages as authoritative material about particular subjects (your company – an industry – an aspect of an industry – etc.) Authoritative doesn’t necessarily mean long, and it definitely shouldn’t be boring and overly technical (unless it is meant to be). Make your content thorough and understandable. Make your page titles descriptive. Those are the first and best steps to better visibility for your organization in online searches.
It needs to be added that the number of words is not the issue. Instead, does the content accurately and thoroughly cover the content? A high-ranking pork chop recipe page will never be as long as page about the history of flight.