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The Importance of Word Count in SEO: Finding the Right Balance

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One of the most hotly debated topics in the world of SEO is SEO word count. Experts have spent countless hours trying to come up with complex formulas to determine the ideal number of words for things like blog articles, product pages, and landing pages.

In this guide, I take a look at SEO word count to see if there even is a perfect number of words to strive for, or if other factors like quality are more important (Hint – quality IS more important but there are approximate word count guidelines!).

Does Word Count Even Matter?

Let’s first look at whether word count is important or not. I like to think of word count as a guideline, not a strict rule. It is true that there are ideal word counts for different types of content and this can factor into SEO rankings, but content quality is also incredibly important and can take precedence over word count.

The best way to look at this conundrum is to take a joint view. You accept that your website and ecommerce content should adhere to approximate word count guidelines, but that achieving quality means that these word counts are not set in stone and can be over/under.

Ideal Word Count for Different Content Types

I can’t give you a set minimum word count for SEO – although people have done studies, it doesn’t exist. Specialist SEO consultants would never do this, so instead, I have listed different content types below with their expected word count ranges.

Product Pages

Product pages should NOT include walls of text. The main emphasis is on the product, its price, and its description. The description should be short, to the point, and leave the customer in no doubt about what it does and what it’s for. Ideally, product pages should be around 300 words.

Blog Articles

There is more variance in the length of blog posts and they can range from 300-1500 words. Typically, you will find that most blogs are between 750-1000 words, but this is dependent on the subject and the aim of the blog.

Educational Content

Educational content is typically much longer because of what it wants to achieve. You want to educate someone and give them knowledge so the content has to be detailed. Usually, I would expect educational pieces to be no shorter than 2000 words as Google may question their educational value.

News Snippets

News articles are usually shorter than blog posts and range from 300-500 words depending on the news topic covered. This is because people want their news fast and to be able to digest it quickly – they may even skim-read to pick out the important points.

White Papers

White papers are another type of long-form content and I would expect these to be no shorter than 2000 words like educational content. Oftentimes white papers will go far beyond this depending on what you are presenting.

Landing Pages

Because landing pages aim to make conversions, there usually isn’t a heap of text but instead links and other media. As a result, typically an appropriate length is around 500 words.

Important Tips Relating to Word Count for SEO

The above is a rough guideline on SEO word count but I want to give some tips too relating to how you write your content.

Giving value and achieving the content purpose always wins

As SEO progresses, it appears that Google is placing more and more emphasis on quality and providing real value to the reader. Therefore, your attention shouldn’t be on hitting the minimum word count for SEO but on giving value. Quality emphasis is something we are seeing in multiple digital marketing areas too such as finding SEO consultants and PR marketing.

For example, your blog articles should always clearly discuss and answer the problem, question, or issue stated in the title. Don’t waste half the article talking about something else just to bump up your word count. Always make sure your content is valuable even if this means a slightly shorter or longer word count than the perceived ideal range.

Don’t flesh out content with fluff to meet word counts

Fluff is a huge no-no. These are words and sentences that add nothing to the content except to bump up the word count. Words for words sake is not a good idea and this can actually harm your SEO as Google will rate the quality of your content negatively.

If you can answer the topic of your blog article in 500 words, then do so – don’t add another 300 words of fluff because you think it helps SEO – it probably won’t.

Break up blocks of text with headings

Google doesn’t like huge blocks of text without any headings either (and your readers won’t appreciate it either!). Before writing your content, think about how you can break it up into logical sub-sections with a variety of headings. Aside from Google liking this, you can use the headings to insert keywords too!

500 or 5000 Words - Quality and Relevance Take Precedence

There is no true best word count for SEO but you can adhere to guidelines and expected averages such as between 500 and 1000 words for blog articles. The main emphasis should always be on the quality of your content as opposed to trying to reach some arbitrary word count. 

Make your content engaging, cut out any fluff, use keywords where appropriate, fulfill the purpose of the content, and the word count should be met naturally.

Article by:

Joshua George is the founder of ClickSlice, an SEO Agency based in London, UK.

He has eight years of experience as an SEO Consultant and was recently hired by the UK government for SEO training. Joshua also owns the best-selling SEO course on Udemy, and has taught SEO to over 100,000 students.

His work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, AgencyAnalytics, Wix and lots more other reputable publications.