How Many Words Do You Need For A Web Page?
Many business owners, bloggers, and marketing specialists grapple with the question of word count. What is the ideal length for an article to rank high in SEO metrics, and at the same time provide a satisfying answer to a user’s query? Is there a specific formula for article length that should be consulted?
To answer the last question first, delivering high quality content that really adds value to your readers and customers is not something that depends on an all-encompassing formula, or rigid word count guidelines. However, statistics indicate that article length does play a critical role in determining whether a piece of content achieves its desired results to the fullest degree.
While there is a huge number of considerations for selecting the optimal word count for any particular post, 2 factors seem to stand out from the rest. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your website’s articles and blog posts, be sure to ask yourself these 2 vital questions:
1. How Does the Article Add Value?
The first and most important factor when determining an appropriate word count for a post is to have a firm grasp on who your audience is, and what their intentions are.
For example, if a user is searching for basic discovery information, such as an answer to the question, “Who defeated General Custer at Little Bighorn?” then a concise answer (“Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse”), perhaps followed by a brief biographical sketch, would most likely be sufficient. However, if the user is interested in learning detailed information about Sitting Bull, or is planning to visit the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota during an upcoming vacation and wants to do some pre-trip research, then an in-depth, long form article would be appropriate.
The above example demonstrates why many websites offer various articles on the same subject, but at different lengths and depth of discussion. However, is there a minimum word count that should be taken into account, even for more basic information? Many experts recommend 300 words as a good threshold for the lowest word count in a website article.
That being said, studies have shown that articles containing 1,000 words or more “consistently [receive] more shares and links than shorter form content.” Why is that the case? One factor could be that longer copy simply allows the space for answers that satisfy users who are interested in more than surface information. While a 300-500 word article that is exceptionally dense and well-written may provide more value than a 1,500 word post that is mostly fluff, in general it is very difficult to provide in-depth information in posts with low word count.
Another vital factor to keep in mind is the amount of time you expect your target audience to allocate to their search. Are your users looking for a quick answer and then planning to move on? Or are they willing to devote a significant amount of time for reading? The desired word count for a particular article will depend on the answer to those questions.
The bottom line is, your first and foremost priority when creating web content should be delivery that provides clear answers, matches your target audience’s intent, and is tailored to your users’ reading preferences.
2. How Will Google Rank the Article?
The second vital factor that you need to keep in mind is how Google prioritizes content in its SERP rankings. There is certainly some value in extremely short, concise answers (even one word answers) that could score as Google’s featured snippet. However, Google measures site authority, and by extension article authority, by means of two major metrics: relevance and external citation authority. In other words, does the content answer the specific question? And is this answer supported by trusted sources?
In the above-mentioned example involving an information search around the Battle of Little Bighorn, a post from Wired.com is listed on Google’s first page of results, after the websites for virtually unassailable historical sources like History.com, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and the Smithsonian. Why? In part because of the article’s relevance, but also due to the plentiful links to historical reference sites scattered throughout the content. In contrast, results on page 10 include blog posts and articles with relatively equal relevance, but a dearth of links to authoritative external sources.
Google is looking for content that is not only relevant, but substantial and fact-based; and again, word count often plays a crucial role in providing these SEO-friendly elements. In fact, the average article length for first page Google results is about 1,890 words.
Why is that the case? There are several factors that may potentially play into the effectiveness of longer posts, including the following:
- For one, it is much easier to include a variety of high-authority links in a 1,000 word article than in a 100 word article.
- A long form post may rank higher on Google’s SERP because the more words are contained therein, the easier it is for Google to determine topical relevancy.
- Google algorithms may simply contain a built-in preference for longer articles.
The key takeaway, though, is this: longer word counts often allow the necessary space to boost your content’s relevance and authority scores. This, in turn, will enhance your content’s SEO scores.
Optimizing Content Length and Substance
It takes a lot of hard work and introspection to craft premium content that is practical, insightful, and fully optimized for Google’s SERP rankings. It neither happens overnight, nor occurs by chance. And word count is only one among a multitude of factors that must be considered.
At GlobalSpex, we have the proven expertise to deliver articles and blogs that can drive your business’ SEO and customer engagement metrics. We are experienced professionals that have helped scores of clients to craft engaging, substantial pieces of content which contain word counts perfectly matched to each target audience.
If you are interested in optimizing your web content’s performance, download our practical resource, 105 Internet Marketing Tips and Techniques. Or reach out to us for a free estimate. Let us help you craft excellent content (with appropriate word count) that will help you meet all of your business objectives.