It can be a controversial subject in the world of digital marketing. Just how many words are ideal for a web page or a blog article?
We’ve received this question numerous times when presenting at conferences and the answer doesn’t always receive a warm welcome because it’s a bit counter to how many have traditionally thought about websites.
It’s an incredibly important question, however, because we all want our web pages to be as useful and valuable as possible to both visitors and to search engines.
Many organizations feel less text is better. This concept likely comes from the general belief that everyone has a short attention span online. People want to get in, get the information they need, and leave as quickly as possible. Web pages should be brief, concise, with no clutter and as little content as possible.
It’s not an unreasonable sentiment and in some cases it makes sense.
However, we believe it’s time marketers stop looking at the web as a medium only for people with short attention spans. In fact, many people spend great deals of time consuming single pieces of content online. For example, consider how long you would spend on a page or an article with really great content about a subject you’re interested in.
More Quality Content Has Greater Potential to Provide Value
We recently wrote a blog article about the best image size for Twitter. It’s currently the most viewed article on our website and the average amount of time people are spending on the page currently 7:58.
The reason visitors dwell on the page for so long is because it’s a quality piece of content with valuable information that satisfied a common query people enter into Google. It has helpful illustrations, clear guidance and it contains about 1,200 words.
The Ideal Number of Words for Web Pages and Blog Articles
So, does that mean all your web pages should contain over 1,000 words? No, but we do suggest that the majority of your web pages contain around 600 words or more.
There are, of course, pages on your site that don’t need to be this long; a “contact us” page or a brief announcement article, for instance. But, in our experience, pages with 600 or more words have yielded the most positive results for both website visitors and search engine optimization.
The reason is simple. More content simply gives your page more potential to provide value to your visitors.
Imagine two competitors each have a website with a page highlighting a service line. Company A fills that page with 100 words that simply describe what that services line is. Company B, however, fills that page will 1,000 words. It describes not only the service line, but what makes their take on it unique, what to expect when receiving that service, what type of timeline you can anticipate with the service, and more. Company B’s page clearly has the potential to give visitors more value.
Notice that visitors don’t have to read that entire page. They can consume just the information they want, but there’s simply more satisfaction that can be delivered with the additional copy.
Google is well aware of this concept. In fact, Google’s entire purpose is to provide valuable results to users. Thus, we usually see pages with more words rank better on search result pages than similar pages with few words.
Numerous studies have revealed that pages with more copy generally get more exposure and visitors from search. Hubspot recently released a study that illustrates the amount of organic search engine traffic based a page received based on the words per page. The findings showed that pages with 1,000 and even 2,000 words do better than pages with just a couple hundred words.
More Copy Doesn't Always Equal Higher Quality
There’s a caveat, however! The amount of your page’s copy should match the message you’re conveying.
Simply adding more copy for more copy’s sake is a mistake. If your content is repetitive, wordy and just reiterates the same point again and again it will lack value. Neither Google nor your website visitors will be impressed.
Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Meuller recently said, “Word count is not indicative of quality. Some pages have a lot of words that say nothing.” No matter how many words you put on a page, they should all be valuable.
Best Practices for Copyrighting on the Web
If you’re going to write a longer content piece, ensure you make it clean and readable by doing the following:
- Have large, clear font
- Use short paragraphs
- Include bullet points when necessary
- Include images throughout the page that illustrate and support the copy
- Embed relevant videos
When done well, these practices can deeply enhance the experience of the page for your audience.
We also encourage our clients to consolidate pages on their website. When we work with clients to redesign websites and build new navigation and page structures, it’s rare that we suggest adding more pages. If you have three pages with very similar content, for instance, it may make sense to combine those pages into one high-quality, longer page (just make sure you set up proper redirects to the new page).
Reach Out With More Web Content Questions
If you need a hand in improving your website content, bulking up page copy or just deciding how to better organize your site, reach out to us. We’re happy to help!