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Do Higher Word Counts Lead to Better SEO Results?

By Cheesman cirle-animation

by Shannon Cheesman / SEO

January 12, 2023

  • 3 min read

It’s a question we often get from business owners when developing a website for them — what’s the ideal word count for my web pages for SEO? The answer might surprise you. You see, according to Google, there is no set word count for any web page to rank well in their search.

If Word Count Isn’t the Measuring Stick, What Is?

The key to ranking higher in Google isn’t putting 500, 1,000, or even 50,000 words on a page. It’s providing helpful content to your readers — content created with a “people-first” mindset. Because Google knows that quantity doesn’t always equal quality.

In an internet flooded with content created to appease search engines (which isn’t always helpful for humans trying to find information), Google wants genuinely valuable content to rise to the surface.

Google’s Guidelines for Valuable Content

In August 2022, Google released its Helpful Content Update outlining the types of website content it deems valuable for readers. It includes content that:

  • Clearly demonstrates first-hand expertise and depth of knowledge
  • Leaves readers feeling as if they learned enough to achieve their goal
  • Leaves readers with a satisfying experience

There are several other guideposts as well, including what NOT to do, such as:

  • Promising to answer a question, but you actually don’t
  • Entering a topic area in which you have no real expertise
  • Using extensive automation to produce lots of content

Google is wise to these tactics used to gain search traffic and will penalize you for it.

Also, it’s important to note that although there is no hard and fast rule from Google on word count, you can be penalized for ‘thin content’ with little or no value to a website visitor.

For example, let’s say you have a page on your website with just two or three sentences, with nothing to offer the reader. That’s considered thin content. Google also considers thin content as copy that’s been automatically generated, is copied from other websites (i.e., plagiarized content), or is affiliate content that serves no useful purpose for a reader.

Google penalizes websites with thin content because readers are left unsatisfied with the results they’ve landed on. They’ll often get frustrated and look elsewhere for answers. That’s where you can swoop in and grab their attention — because you’ll have the information they’re looking for on your website.

Other Tips for Providing High-Quality Content

Share your expertise with your readers. You know your business better than anyone, and they’ll look to you for your professional insights, industry data, and advice. It’s also one of the key factors that Google considers when determining if you’re providing valuable content for your readers.

Avoid keyword stuffing. This is when you insert a large number of keywords into your content to increase search visibility. You only need a few strategically placed keywords on a page to do the trick. Strong, well-researched keywords placed in appropriate places on a page will stand out better to Google. This can increase your search rankings, which leads to more website traffic and, ultimately, more business.

Add visuals. Readers are drawn to visual content, it keeps them engaged and helps them better understand the content on your website. 

Add internal and external links. Internal links point to another page on your website, allowing your readers to navigate to other relevant information you have for them. External links point to websites outside your own, such as when you want to reference a source of information you obtained from another reputable website.

Keep your website content fresh with regular updates. Google is always looking for new content to serve its users, and one of the best ways to ensure you avoid becoming a stale website is to publish blogs regularly. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — create great content, and people will come running, or as Google’s John Mueller would say, “…blindly adding text to a page doesn’t make it better.

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When it comes to the success of your business, you want a digital marketing agency that leads with strategy. From content strategy to web development, paid advertising, and so much more, WISE Digital will help drive growth for your business. Book a call with us today to get started!


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