If you want your website to rank well in search engine results pages or SERPs (whether locally or globally), it’s likely that you’ll need to publish high-quality and relevant content. And in the midst of all of this, you’re probably wondering how long your article should be.
Well, luckily for you, our focus today is going to be on why word count matters for SEO. Then, we’ll take a look at what the SEO scene currently considers to be the best word count for each type of content. Lastly, we’ll share some tips and tricks to help you write better and perhaps longer articles.
Sound good? Great, let’s get started.
So, does word count for SEO matter?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question has never been a straightforward one. Instead, it has been a topic of hot debate in the SEO scene about whether word count matters for SEO or not. Some people claim that the longer the article, the better. Others might argue that the quality of the words is what counts, not their quantity.
Is it a ranking factor? Some would ask. Well, no. Google’s very own John Mueller has confirmed that word count is not a ranking factor in the search algorithm. He goes on to mention that “blindly adding text to a page doesn’t make it better”.
However, typically speaking, the longer your content is, the easier it becomes for search engines such as Google to determine what your article is about. In other words, it becomes easier for the search engine bots to crawl through your pages and properly rank them.
Still, we don’t recommend that you try and increase your word count by fluffing. Your readers will notice, and so will Google.
You see, providing relevant and unique information about the topic at hand, regardless of length, is essential. Otherwise, you might end up boring your users, which would lead to bad reader engagement, thus hurting your SEO in more ways than one.
Back to word count, though. Long articles provide more room for optimisation. For instance, you get more opportunities to incorporate your target keywords, especially long-tail variations, without falling into stuffing. You also get to optimise more content elements such as headings, images, and links if your content is lengthier.
Lastly, longer articles give you the opportunity to explore the topics at hand in greater depth, thus making them more readable.
The best word count for SEO
So now, the question that arises is: what is the best word count for SEO? Well, there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all answer for this. Instead, the best word count depends on a number of factors. For starters, the type of page you’re writing affects this.
Backlinko analysed over 11.8 million Google search results and found that the “best” word count for SEO was 1,447. Of course, this isn’t set in stone. Writing somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 words won’t automatically make your content rank well in SERPs.
1,447 words is actually the average word count of the pages and posts that rank the highest on Google. Therefore, it can be regarded as a benchmark of sorts that you could follow.
If you happen to be able to provide enough detail and value in your content at that word count, then you’re set. If not, you can always go shorter or longer, depending on the situation you find yourself in.
Still, let us take a look at what lengths are the best for certain types of content. And once again, please keep in mind that these are general estimates and not hardcoded rules.
Blog posts word count for SEO
First off, let us take a look at perhaps the most common type of written content that you could find on websites – blog posts. These usually make up the majority of written content on any website. It’s normal for their length to range anywhere from 300 to 1,000 words.
However, long-form blog posts that have more depth to them, such as tutorials or how-to posts, can be longer.
If you happen to be writing the latter, it’s usually best to land at the 1,500 to 2,000 word mark. Anything over that can make both users and Google look somewhat warily at the post. This is what we usually aim for with Rockstar Marketing and our SEO clients.
The main purpose of a landing page is to drive conversions. In other words, the focus of your content should be on pointing the visitor to your Call To Action (CTA). And such a task usually doesn’t require much content. We’re talking about something in the range of 500 words. Enough content to provide adequate information, include keywords, and, most importantly, engage readers.
It’s also short enough to allow you to get to the point and incentivise users to click on your CTA, i.e. perform the desired action.
But then again, you have to keep something in mind. The best word count for your landing pages and SEO, in general, is one that resides well with your audience.
In other words, if you feel like your target and current audiences are comfortable with ~400 words, then 400 words it is!
To put it simply, writing for your readers should always come first, before search engines and anything else. Such an approach can help your SEO rankings to improve organically.
Word count for SEO: Product pages
Good product pages usually contain attractive images supported by a creative copy. And in order to showcase your products in a concise and aesthetically pleasing manner, it’s best to avoid long descriptions.
Something in the range of 300 words is usually a good word count for product pages. Such a length gives you plenty of room to describe a product and to highlight its unique features and benefits. It also enables you to incorporate short and long-tail keywords, all without the need for keyword stuffing.
Tips and tricks for achieving your target word count
Deciding how long you want your content to be is the first important step. Then comes the more crucial step of trying to reach that length. If you find yourself struggling to reach your target word count, consider trying some of the following tips:
Make use of headings
One of the best ways to lengthen your articles and not hurt the user experience is to break up your post into subsections. And using headings to organise your post and divide it is a great way of doing this.
You see, using multiple headings in a post allows you to dedicate specific sections to specific ideas or topics. Such an approach also ensures that your article doesn’t look like one long boring block of text.
Plus, it also helps to improve the overall scannability of your post. Readers will feel more inclined to explore each subcategory in detail without losing interest quickly.
Moreover, incorporating key terms/keywords in your headings can be helpful for your SEO. Yes, a post should only contain one H1 tag, but it can have as many H2 and H3s as you see fit.
Word count for SEO: Back-up your claims with research
Using research and statistics to back up your claims not only improves the credibility of your content but its length. Indeed, including research and data can legitimise your content as well as better highlight key concepts and ideas.
It also pushes the readers to explore your topics in greater depth elsewhere. And although this sounds counterproductive, it’s actually good for you since it sets you up as a credible source of information in the future.
Research can include statistics from authority sites such as Statista, for example, academic papers, and more.
Write content for the layman
If you wish to expand your posts, then it’s essential to flesh out your ideas and provide sufficient explanations and detail. Basically, write your content as if you’re explaining a layman. This basically refers to using plain language that the average person can understand. Avoid any technical jargon that only experts in the topic can understand.
Of course, this tip applies to you entirely if your content is mainly how-to posts or tutorial-style articles.
Always ask yourself questions such as “would they understand the steps needed as I explained them?”, “would they understand this technical term?” “is my writing logical and well thought out?” and more.
Besides making your language simpler, you should also try to shorten your sentences and cover anything you mention in detail.
You should also consider making use of images or videos to complement your written content.
Word count for SEO: Avoid unnecessary fluff
While this tip might sound counterproductive given our objective here, it’s actually for your own good. Fluff is necessary only when done properly. You don’t want to overdo it to the point where your content loses value in the eyes of both Google and your audience.
Remember, your posts should be engaging and relevant to the topics they discuss. And fortunately for you, there are plenty of AI apps out there that can help you cut out the fluff. These include Grammarly, Hemingway App, and more.
In addition to identifying wordy sentences, these tools can also help to make your content grammatically correct, so you get a many-in-one sort of deal.
Let us optimise your content for you
On-page SEO can be challenging for newcomers, but you don’t have to worry because we’re here to help. Book a discovery call with us today, and we’ll show you how we can boost your SEO efforts without breaking the bank.