Finding the optimal word count for SEO has long been a reason for vicious debates within the community. As with everything else, marketing experts are trying to figure out the ideal word count for each blog post so they can increase the likelihood of ranking.

While not as important as keywords, the target word count has its place in the SEO hierarchy. It can affect the content performance in several ways, which is why most writers prefer making longer pieces. Then again, simply boosting the number of words without providing any relevant information might come back to bite you.

So, does the word count matter? Read this article to find out!

How does word count affect search results?

For all intended purposes, word count isn’t a search ranking factor, and it has more of a passive effect. According to the biggest experts, it’s vital that you boost your SEO word count so that the readers perceive your long-form content as better and more relevant. As such, it is a fantastic trick for link baiting.

While word count isn’t relevant to the search intent, it might explain users’ questions a bit better. Basically, the more detailed the text, the better you’ll explain the topic. It’s not about how many words you have in your articles; it is how much information you can provide and whether you can force the target audience to stay on a page.

Word count and links

Having a higher word count can be important, but only if you use it wisely. The long-form content usually equals high-quality content, as you can explain almost any topic with 3,000 and 4,000-word articles. So, if you intend to boost the length of your posts, make sure to add quality information to them.

When website visitors start reading your gigantic articles, they will be wowed by the sheer size and the amount of information. If you also add charts, visuals, and links to relevant external data sources, they will perceive them as better for their search queries.

This tactic has the biggest impact on other bloggers, who, although aware of this trick, still tend to link to these posts. Google’s algorithm will take note of the massive link influx, boosting your placement within the search rankings. In theory, just by exceeding the average word count, you can significantly improve your SEO performance.

Word count and user engagement

While links are still crucial for ranking on top of a search engine results page, we can’t neglect the user engagement metrics. In the last few years, Google and other search engines have started putting more emphasis on factors like time spent on a page and bounce rate. These metrics are clear quality indicators as people won’t stick for long on a lousy web page.

In theory, boosting your content length will also affect the users as they’ll need more time to read the page. Search engines will consider this as a positive behavior and a sign of content quality. However, like with link baiting, this only works if you make an impact with your text. Boosting word count for the purpose of having more words won’t get you far.

Word count and other elements

Using a longer format can help a lot when you write articles, allowing you to express different opinions but also introduce relevant SEO elements. You can introduce the target keyword and other relevant keywords throughout the post without having to stuff them into two or three paragraphs. As a result, your article will have a logical structure and a natural flow.

Using long-form content is also good for preventing errors. For example, when you create longer pages, you’re less likely to be hit with plagiarism and duplicate content penalties. While professional teams never copy their articles, there’s always a chance that you might look unoriginal to users and the Google search engine.

All in all, word count matters for your SEO content as it makes it more competitive.

What is the best word count for SEO?

Aside from constantly creating long-form content for search engine results pages, there isn’t a universal strategy that would work in this particular case. However, there are a few things to pay attention to:

  • About a decade ago, 500-word articles were considered acceptable for blogs. This has changed since, and most websites will ask you for at least 1,000 words even when you post guest articles
  • The only exception to this rule might be product pages. Even then, web stores are looking to create longer, more comprehensive pages with at least 300 to 500 words
  • Like all other pages, your landing pages are assessed by Google’s search algorithm. While you can have short-form content on your Content and About Us page, it’s vital that you have a longer homepage with at least 500 to 1,000 words
  • High-quality blog posts usually have between 1,500 and 2,000 words, but there are lots of situations where writers go overboard. Longer SEO content is crucial for white papers as users expect more words and, thus, more information in this type of content

Whatever the case, you should use word count as an approximation. Using a universal content length of 2,000 words is usually the safest bet for your articles, but if you really want to make a splash, you might go with even longer average pieces.

6 Ways to maximize word count

As mentioned, you don’t have to hit the perfect word count when creating articles. Instead, it is much better to focus on how people will react to this post. A bad post will always be bad no matter how long it is, while some writers can make highly converting posts with just 1,000 words.

That being said, here are a few tricks for making the biggest impact with longer word counts:

1. Content structure

Perhaps the biggest issue with longer content is the page structure. As we add more and more things to our piece, it becomes harder for readers to focus and find what they’re looking for. This is especially true if they’re skimming the post for a specific paragraph or section. In that regard, there are even situations where shorter pieces might be more suitable for search intent.

To make heads or tails, you need to use different tricks to break up your pieces:

  • Create an article breakdown on the top. Introduce internal links that will guide users to particular sections (vital for posts that are more than 3,000-word long)
  • An ideal sentence should be up to 25 words long. An ideal paragraph should be 60 words long, while a section shouldn’t be longer than 200 to 250 words (ideally 150 words)
  • If and when possible, add bullets, number lists, and subheadings to break down the text. Adding hyphened sentences is also a cool trick that will put emphasis on crucial lines and definitions
  • Don’t go overboard with subheadings, as it might affect user satisfaction. H2 and H3 are perfectly normal, H4 can be a bit too much, and you should never go with H5 and below

A good rule of thumb is to check the draft before posting. Read the article once again to see how it flows. If you have trouble reading it, this is a good sign that the readers will encounter the same issue.

2. Scientific data and stats

Introducing scientific data is one of the main justifications for creating longer pieces. As the majority of posts cover similar things, the data is something that can differentiate your blog from the field. Not only will it make the piece better for reading, but it will also showcase your website as a serious, authoritative platform.

While not every post is suitable for stats, you can introduce them to most articles. Similar to other scientific data, they increase the perceived and factual value of a piece, helping you with user engagement and link building. As a result, these posts rank higher in search results and gain more organic traffic.

Using stats and data is crucial when you don’t have anything new to add to the topic but want to extend the word count. Given this is highly engaging information, it will rarely feel stuffy or forced if you add scientific findings to your piece. However, don’t go overboard, as you still need to focus on the main topic.

3. Personal opinions

Although data is crucial for building trust and making a point, we can’t rely on it in every situation. There are various cases where we gain empirical knowledge about the topic based on our long-term experience. By sharing our personal findings and opinions, we can provide unique value to the users.

A great thing about personal opinions is that they’re all different. Unlike scientific data and stats, which are commonly copied from other sources, personal opinions are always unique. We can use them to enrich our content and attract users who are looking for a different point of view.

Similar to stats and scientific data, personal opinions should be used sporadically. They need to add to content, not to take away from it. Focus on your main topic, create a layout, and then, when you think it’s suitable, provide a professional opinion about a situation or phenomenon.

4. Visuals and media

Most website owners neglect visual solutions when they create content. They might take a hero image from an external site, but they won’t bother creating unique graphs, images, and other visuals. Not only is this a missed opportunity, but it’s also something that can hurt your piece. Here are a few things to keep in mind with visual media:

  • Besides the featured image, you should add an image or a photo every 500 words. So, a 1,000-word piece should have 2 images in total, while a 1,500-word piece will have three
  • If you’re embedding YouTube videos, make sure they’re on the top. This content format is highly engaging and will, de facto, force users to stay on the page for a longer time, sending a strong quality signal to Google
  • If you’re explaining a step-by-step process, a good practice is to add an image for each step. You can print-screen different tasks as you go, so that shouldn’t take too much time
  • Don’t add images for the sake of adding images. Use them to better convey information, stat, or scientific data

Always remember that, like your textual content, good images are meant to provide value.

5. Writing style and tone

Writing style is something you should always pay attention to when creating content. To ensure the best possible engagement, you need to explain complex topics as if you’re talking to kids. Given that your piece will be read by all sorts of users, this is the best way to get the most from each one of them.

The writing style and tone are even more important for longer content than the shorter posts. As you need to ensure that the visitors stay on the page, every sentence matters toward that goal. Short mistakes or even bad information can cut your interactions much shorter.

6. Fluff and obstructions

Related to the previous entry, it’s vital that you remove anything that would seem excessive. While you’re trying to “chew” complex topics so everyone understands them and you’re also trying to provide unique opinions, that doesn’t mean you should use unimportant information.

Fluff basically refers to any text that doesn’t serve any purpose and is there to boost the total word count. Sometimes, writers have to walk a thin line where they’re trying to add as much scientific data, stats, and opinions as possible while avoiding any excess. In these situations, you need to analyze each sentence and paragraph to determine whether it adds value or takes away from the post.


By following the tricks in this article, you can get the most from your word count. Even if you go with enormous pieces, you can maximize user engagement by taking a value-driven approach to the content. As a result, you can answer the search intent much better and ensure higher placement within search rankings.

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