Word Count SEO

How many words do you need to write to rank the highest?  Let’s dive into the truth about word count and SEO.  

The Myth About Word Count

The longer the better, right? The more words on a page, the higher you’ll rank?  Well, not necessarily.  This idea is often discussed on Twitter and other social media platforms, but isn’t always true.  

There are many misunderstood studies done on word count and SEO ranking

One study found that, the “average Google first page result contains 1,447 words.”  After reading that, some may assume that ~1,500 words is the ideal length to rank on page one.  The study isn’t saying that, but rather pointing out the commonality between top ranking pages.  

The issue that often confuses people here is correlation and causation.  If you look at the top five pages in your search and see that they all have approximately 2,500 words, it’s safe to assume that that’s the number of words needed to rank well for that term.  That isn’t always the case.  Word count is not the only factor.  Longer pages may be ranking well to their length and may also be more shareable and link-worthy.  It may also be that more word heavy pages may include more thorough answers for searches.  

The important thing to note, is that correlation does not equal causation.  Longer content may rank better, but does not necessarily mean longer content is the cause of the page ranking well. 

What is the Best Word Count for SEO?

There are many factors that should be considered when deciding how long a page’s content should be.  While rank is important, they can’t be solely about how your page will rank.  It’s important to remember that you’re catering to a human user, not a bot.  

The length of the copy on the page should be as long as necessary to meet the needs of the user, whether it be answering a question, providing information, or providing product specifics.  User need and accessibility should be the first priority.  

In short, there is no real ideal number of words for SEO.  The search engines will rank pages higher that best meet the needs of the searcher.  Rarely users will choose a page based on the number of words.  Quality is better than quantity in this instance.  Content should be well written, accurate, and comprehensive.  That doesn’t necessarily mean long.  

Content can be too long.  Often wordy pages become diluted and arbitrary.  This doesn’t make for a good read and can negatively affect a page’s ability to rank for your target keywords.  

There is no real ideal keyword count for SEO.  We instead need to look at the purpose of a page.  

The Purpose of a Page

The purpose of a page will determine how much copy needs to be on it.  Is your page informational?  Transitional?  Looking at the user’s intent is the most important aspect of deciding how long content should be.  When you fully understand what the user needs from your page, you’re able to ensure the page is comprehensive enough to meet those needs.  

So, the real answer to finding the ideal word count is, there isn’t one.  Copy length should not determine word count.  Copy length should not be solely about ranking.  Copy length and word count should be as long as it needs to be to thoroughly meet the needs of the user and encourage conversion.