When SEO was still learning to walk back in the 90s, the average webpage contained around 75 words of content. Now, top-ranking pages consistently top the 1,000 word mark–and they seem to be getting longer! Hearing this, webmasters surely wonder, “Do I have to write that much content to be successful in my niche?” Not necessarily… The average webpage today falls within 300 and 450 words. However, searchers are clearly showing a preference to dig deeper and find what they want sooner–and long-form content gives them a way to do that.
Hummingbird and all of Google’s other updates are forcing today’s website owners to rethink their approach to on-site content. Measurements of quality are taking place of quantity measurements as semantic search becomes more powerful. These changes will ultimately reward the sites who cater to their customers’ needs and wants.
So before asking if you have enough content, take a step back and ask yourself:
- Do I know what the content on each page should say?
- Does the content meet the needs of my customer or end user?
- Does the content provide my customer with information they want and need to take further action?
- Is the content easy for my customers to read and understand?
After you have answered these questions, you will be ready to address the issue of length.
But wait…since there is no “perfect word count,” how should you decide how much content to put on each page?
Compare the quantity (and quality) of your words on your website to those of your competitors. Think of the specific keywords, concepts, and queries you want your company to rank for, search for them in Google, and open the first four or five sites that appear. Come up with the average word count for the pages that correspond to one another (home pages, product pages, information pages, etc). Then, compare your own pages to see how they measure up. This exercise should help you come up with a good word count for each page.
If any of your word counts surpass or fall short of your competitors’ averages by more than 200 words, consider revising the content—by adding to it or cutting it down. You may need to reorganize the information on your page or reallocate your content and make new pages. Competitor research can help here, too.
- How many topics are covered by the competitors’ corresponding pages?
- How thoroughly are the topics covered (and how thoroughly should they be covered)?
- How are the pages organized and linked together?
- How are specific issues outlined and addressed?
- What calls to action are used to move the reader through the site?
Most web users only spend 10–20 seconds on a page, and if they can’t easily find what they are looking for, they move on. Too much content (especially without white space to break it up) will intimidate web readers away from your page and site. Scant or poorly formatted content, however, will just leave the reader wanting.
So in addition to having a substantial word count, make sure that your content is visually structured through strong formatting. Choose a good font (most readers today prefer a sans serif font). Make it easy to scan by using short paragraphs, bolded words, headings, and bulleted lists (where appropriate).
Smart formatting will help readers who are short on time find what they need fast (and they will appreciate you for it).
Ask friends or acquaintances to preview your website and read through the content of each page before publishing. They may help you find gaps in your copy, or discover ideas which are redundant, irrelevant, or difficult-to-read. Seriously consider their suggestions—these opinions are likely to represent those of your average reader.
While you want to meet your word count goals, don’t fill your page with fluff! It may be difficult to fill your pages at first, but users won’t bother reading if you don’t have anything meaningful to say. If you are struggling to write enough content to fill a page, then that topic doesn’t merit having its own page.
Thankfully, Google caters to quality over quantity, so if you have relevant information, working links, and calls to action, consider your site’s word count good-to-go.
Test your website out for free today using our SEO analysis tool and see what areas of your website can use some extra TLC, or schedule a free consultation with one of our digital marketing experts if you’re ready to take the step in elevating your small business SEO strategy!