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How Much Website Content Is Necessary For SEO?

December 28, 2016

How much website content is necessary for SEO? This is a question clients ask frequently, and one that is hotly debated among SEO specialists. Here are a few points to help guide your thinking — especially if website lead generation is important.

Content per page and overall website content are two entirely different matters. Overall, Google is more impressed with websites that have a lot of content — provided it is well organized, has strong internal navigation, and meets other Google quality criteria. Having deep content on a website sends a signal to Google crawlers that you are an expert in your field, and have a lot of useful information for organic search engine users interested in learning more about your products and services.

Adding long-form content tends to improve website authority with Google. Examples:

  • White papers
  • E-books
  • 1500-word+ articles

Long-form content, in addition to bulking up the authority of your website, serves another important SEO purpose — attracting high-quality, relevant backlinks. Other websites in your industry are much more likely to link to your informative article than a product/service page of your website. Taking it a step further, your website’s long-form content can be adapted by the SEO team for outreach campaigns, such as marketing embeddable content.

On a given page, it is quite difficult to state with certainty how many words are needed to achieve high organic visibility. Again, the content must meet Google’s quality criteria regardless of word count. Common sense is probably the best guide in determining how many words are necessary for a given website page. Trying to pad a page with excess content to meet a word count requirement usually ends up lowering the quality of that content, and perhaps worse, driving potential leads away from the page and the website.

Just the same, SEO can provide very useful input for individual site page word counts. For instance, if SEO research reveals that competitive pages optimized for a given keyword typically run about 1,000 words, your 250-word page will look relatively weak to Google crawlers, all other things (quality in particular) being equal. From a human perspective, if a search engine user sees 1,000 words on three competitive pages and 250 words on yours, he or she may conclude you are less of an expert or less focused on that product or service.

When establishing word counts, consider the nature of your target audience as well. Are your website visitors generally looking for a lot of facts and figures, or are they more likely to want a high-level overview? If you target people in both categories, it’s a perfect situation in which to layer product and service content, starting with a high-level page and then drilling down to more detailed pages. Just make sure you have separate SEO keywords assigned to each page; you never want Google to be confused about which page on your website is associated with a strategically important keyword.

Since user behavior is hard to predict, and because Google has no exact guideline for word count, testing is quite valuable for arriving at page word counts that are effective in terms of lead generation. (Lead generation is, after all, why you are investing in SEO.)

Do you have a product/service page with a high bounce rate or very low time on page duration? The problem could be a dearth of content. Many times, we have helped clients improve SEO and conversion rates simply by adding high-quality content to such pages.

Bottom line: If your content is of high quality, more is better for web pages and the overall website — but this is a big “if.” High-quality content is not something that can be concocted overnight; look at building word count as a long-term web development process. In fact, even if it could be, Google prefers to see content gradually, steadily and consistently added to a website over time — it sends a signal to Google that your commitment to your business is ongoing and strong. Strong companies are the ones Google wants to serve to its search engine users.

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