Knowing the correct amount of word count can save you time and frustration over a lack of traffic and conversions on your website. You don’t want to miss your chance every time people search locally. That only means they are ready to buy or at least have a plan to visit your site or store. Therefore, the chances you get should also be when you’re on the first page and top rank to get found by the users.
SEO could be an acronym for - Seize Every Opportunity
But before that, let’s walk you through the importance of word count in improving your SEO ranking.
Word Count as First Key Point of SEO
Word count is an essential point when doing your search engine optimisation. You need to consider how many words you will need to rank your website. Is there a required length of copy for SEO?
Most clients often ask this question with regards to the SEO copy when improving their website pages. The primary purpose of the copy, the other details needed, and the audiences to target are the secondary points.
The Myth Behind Word Count
You may have heard that the longer the content, the better ranking.
When your content has more words in it, it will look more “authoritative” when searching on search engines. Thus, the higher ranking will be for your website. These beliefs do not have any factual basis to them.
The question is - why is it often believed that longer SEO copies make for more rank-worthy and top-rated pages?
Misunderstanding Studies About the Word Count of SEO
Studies are everywhere when it comes to the right and proper word count of SEO copy.
There is one study conducted by Backlinko and published last April 2020, saying that “average Google first page results contain 1,447 words.”
You may be forgiven for thinking that pages need about 1,500 words of copy for it to rank on the first page. However, the study is saying the other way around.
It is suggested that there should be a familiarity between the top- and high-ranking pages. But the study says that there is no direct commonality in word count and rankings. The study cannot pinpoint and explain why long-length copies tend to have a top place on the first page.
This is only a correlation and not a causation. There’s more about it moving forward.
What is Really the Best Word Count for SEO?
Many factors determine how long a page content should be. It is crucial to keep in mind that you are doing copy, not for search bots but to attract human visitors.
The length of the SEO copy should give the users the information they need when they visit the page. Whether it is the answers or explanations about the subject or the specifications of the product they are looking for. It should be about the user’s needs first and foremost.
As much as you want to know the exact words to write to achieve the first-page place and ranking, the thing is, there is no precise number of words. Every search engine only gives a high rank to the pages that best meet the searcher’s query. Rarely is it “volume of words” that will be the deciding factor for users.
Another critical key is how the quality of the content can answer the queries of the users.
John Mueller from Google even said on Twitter that word count is not indicative of quality. He reiterated that there are some pages with a lot of words but say nothing. Some have less content but more meaningful and relevant information.
Mueller also imposed that having the same word-count as a top-ranking article does not make your pages rank on the first page.
Correlation and Causation about Word Count
The issue that trips most people when looking at word count is confusing correlation and causation.
If you see the top 5 ranking pages using the keyword you searched for, and they all have approximately 2, 000 words, you would think that it is the required count to rank well on that specific word.
But then, that isn’t always the case. Word count alone is not the deciding factor in making your rank high.
On the other hand, longer pages might be ranking well indirectly due to their content’s length. HubSpot’s study conducted in 2015 said that longer pages are shareable and “link-worthy.” It could be the link profile of the page that is causing it to rank well.
Also, longer pages tend to allow the viewers to encounter more thorough answers for their queries. Just don’t waffle on!
Overall, the important note is that correlation does not equal causation. Longer content ranking better than the shorter is not always causing the page to rank well.
How Long Should the SEO Copy Be?
While it is true that longer content performs better in some instances, don’t assume that it is the best time every time. Google’s own SEO starter guide even stated that “content should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive.”
When it says comprehensive, it should be understandable and include all the information regardless of how long the copy is. Thus, the copy should be extensive enough to scope everything that a user needs to know and find out.
Is It Okay for the Content Copy to be Too Long?
To answer your question, yes, your content can be too long.
Setting an exact word count can end up removing or adding some information that can lead to meaningless and over worded content. To reach the volume of words you set, you might also end up padding or repeating the concepts inside your content. It doesn’t take away the chance of making your content a good-read type but also affects the keywords you’re targeting.
Hence, the key to understanding how much content is needed for a page to have a top-ranking status is to refrain from setting exact words counts to hit.
The bottom line here is - there is no ideal word count for your SEO copy. Instead, try to focus more on the purpose of your page.
Here some of the key points to know when deciding the word count of your SEO copy.
Knowing the Real Purpose of a Page
One thing to consider when creating copy and its ability to rank well in the organic search results is your page's main purpose.
Whether it is an informational or promotional or transactional page, you must know the primary purpose of your page. Knowing the main purpose makes you decide on how much content should be on it.
The most crucial aspect when deciding on how long content should be is user intent when they search for a specific keyword. You need to understand what a user would want when landing on your page. If you know what a user needs from your page, it helps to make sure it is comprehensive enough to meet those needs.
Making a page long for the sake of it does not help the user. Even if your page does rank well, rankings should not be the end goal of any SEO work. Converting traffic is more important.
If a user lands on your page to find an answer to a question but cannot see the wood for the trees, then you have not met their needs.
Another key to consider is how the copy length can affect your conversion. You must make sure you are setting appropriate keywords in your copy to achieve high conversion rates.
The Right Amount
After all this, what is really the best word count for SEO?
The only answer is - there isn’t one.
The length of your copy should never be based on a specific word count. Longer or shorter it is, the important thing is how your content can convey the message of the page and allow users to achieve their goals upon entering your page.
The longer copy might have an advantage in some SERPs, but it is not the length of copy alone that is the deciding factor on rank.
At the end of the day, your SEO copy on a page should not just be about ranking anyway. It should meet the needs of the user and encourage conversion.
There is no ideal word count for that.
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