How many words should be on your home page? A closer look

Greetings! Ready to get your learn on? Great, because today’s SEO copywriting video post delves into the question:  How many words should be on my homepage?

Heather’s SEO copywriting tip actually piggybacks on a recent (Google) Matt Cutts’ (“that’s a good question”) video addressing whether you should have more or less content on your homepage.  In his 57-second response, Matt doesn’t really cut it with his abbreviated answer. So here, Heather follows up on the question with the specifics on optimal homepage word count, discussing why you should move beyond counting words to how you can achieve reader engagement, conversions and page rank with a killer home page.

What Matt Cutts from Google Says:

  • The original question posed to Matt Cutts was: “Should I have more or less content on my home page? There’s certainly a difference of opinion here.”  His answer?
  • “If you have more content on your home page, there’s more text for Googlebot to find.” You can view the very brief video at

So What is the “Correct” Word Count for Your Home Page?

Yes, there are a lot of different opinions on this subject, and that’s precisely why so many people are confused about what to do with their home page.  On one side of the coin, they want to have an exceptional home page that makes it easy for prospects to take action.  On the other, they want to have a home page that positions well in the search engines.

As usual, there is no definitive “right” answer.  The “correct word count” for your home page depends on a number of factors.  Yes, you do want a respectable word count, but you don’t want to bloat your home page with fluff just to make it with the search engines. So let’s look at this more closely…

Looking Beyond the Home Page Word Count: Factors that Matter Most

You want to think about your home page from your prospects’ perspective.  What benefits and message do THEY need to read?

  • Landing on your home page, your prospects may or may not know your company.  Focus on what you need to say on your home page that will engage your readers and keep them on your site.

What are you doing on your home page to make it easy for your readers to take action?

  • You certainly don’t want to see your visitors land on your home page and immediately bounce off of it.  Your goal is to get your readers to go deeper into your site to learn more about how you can help them with the products/services you provide.
  • If you have a blog, you want your visitors to be able to read more of it, not just stop where you blog ends off on your home page.

How is your home page positioning?  How is it faring with conversions?

  • Analytics!!  Check them.  If your analytics show a high bounce rate from your home page, and that your visitors are not going to your site’s inner pages, then this presents a huge opportunity for your to revise your home page and make it easier for your prospects to do what you want them to do.
  • If your analytics are indicating that things just aren’t “clicking” in terms of conversions, time spent on you home page, or positions, you need to make some changes.

Is your existing home page content written for readers – or is it just serving the search engines? There’s a big difference.

  • We’ve all seen many sites where the top part is all pretty pictures and slick graphics, with maybe a few words.  Then beneath the fold, there are about 500 words comprised mostly of hyperlinks to serve the search engines. It’s not like anyone’s actually going to read that hyperlinked content, and often those 500 words are not even well written.
  • If that’s the way you’re writing your home page, the good news is that you can have the best of both worlds:  a good amount of quality content on your site that is targeted to your readers and still serves to get those search engine positions.

You can have it all with great home page content and search engine appeal.

  • A great example of serving both your readers and the search engines with your home page content is the site 37 Signals. These folks do it right. You’ll find that on the top part of the screen, 37 Signals funnels users into the different types of products they offer.  (They follow up with a lot of copy on their site geared towards these distinct users).  Then below that, they’ve fantastic content written for all users, with social proof, etc.
  • You can have the best of both worlds on your home page: quality content targeted to your readers and still achieving good search engine positions, if you make sure that the ranking-oriented copy is good, solid value-added content.  It won’t work for anyone if it’s simply “fluff” for the search engines.

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s SEO Copywriting how-to video!  Do you have a burning SEO copywriting or content marketing question for Heather?  We’d love it if you send it on over to Have a great week!  We’ll see you next Monday.


13 replies
  1. Amy C. Teeple
    Amy C. Teeple says:

    Great topic and post Heather!

    Of course there are no magic numbers, but it is still something that needs to be addressed.

    One thing that I try to let clients know is that yes, some people love videos on a home page, but not everyone, so you still need text, even if you have a video. (By the way, that is one of the things that I LOVE about your video posts, you always give the option of reading the post because some days I am using a lower bandwidth for my internet and videos drive me nuts!)

    People process information differently, so yes, use some effective graphics, but also give people (and engines) something to read.

  2. Heather
    Heather says:

    Hey Amy!

    Ah, if there only was a magic number – I know that’s what most people want to know! :)

    I’m with you on the videos. I read fast, so watching a video feels like “dead time” to me. I don’t care if it’s 3 minutes. That’s 2 minutes, 30 seconds too long for me… :)

  3. Carole Seawert
    Carole Seawert says:

    Hi Heather

    A major bank I write for has been advised by an SEO consultant to have a minimum of 300 words on every page of their website.

    Personally I think this is barmy as what’s the point of padding out a page with extra words? But they are intent on following his advice.

    • Heather
      Heather says:

      ::Sigh:: I feel your pain. What’s funny is if you asked the SEO “why 300 words” the best they could tell you is “that’s what the search engines want.” When, obviously, that’s not the case. 😛

      Fortunately, you’re an excellent writer. If anyone can come up with 300 words about banking – I know you can!

  4. HeatherG
    HeatherG says:

    Hey Heather,

    Great advice, I typically shoot for around 250 on the home page (but nothing is set in stone). I’m writing for the hospitality industry so I always try to emphasize the top selling points of a destination.

    I think one of the most important aspects is having several Call to Action statements on the home page. It helps to keep readers moving through your site, filling out a form, making a reservation, buying product etc.

  5. Heather
    Heather says:

    Hey Heather!

    Great advice about the call to action statements. Do you find it hard to write 250 words – or are the hotels so fabulous that it makes it easy? :)

  6. Rohan Kumar
    Rohan Kumar says:

    Hey Heather
    Interesting topic. In fact the other day I was trying to get some info about this topic. There were a lot of discussions I found on the internet where people are arguing about not the word limit but the content in terms of Kbs.

    The debate is whether Google reads content on a webpage after the first 100 Kbs or not. Even if it does, is it advisable to have such a large amount of content on a webpage?

    After hours of scouring the web, I found nothing concrete but only people cursing about each other’s lack of knowledge.

    • Heather
      Heather says:

      Hi, Rohan!

      Thanks for the post!

      You may want to run an usability test to determine how much content your audience will (comfortably) read. That way, you have real data to work with – and then it’s easy to backtrack and determine the SEO/page template strategy. :)

  7. craig wright
    craig wright says:

    I read an article by an SEO pro recently that discussed some tests with content length. They tried various tests with the same keywords and meta data and the longer copy out-performed the shorter in search engines. I can’t find the link now otherwise I’d post it…sorry people.

    We need to get a sensible balance between quantity of content for SEO performance and quantity of content for usability. Personally, I don’t like sales pages to be more than around 500 words (including the call to action). Blog articles I don’t mind being longer if they are interesting.

    HATE videos unless they are for entertainment. Give me transcripts every time.

  8. shriv
    shriv says:

    We are planning to rendering our website and targeting content mainly to drag relevant visitor on the website ..I love the lines “You certainly don’t want to see your visitors land on your home page and immediately bounce off of it. Your goal is to get your readers to go deeper into your site to learn more about how you can help them with the products/services you provide.

  9. Juan
    Juan says:

    Im getting my site refreshed…Is it recommend that I have some text just for SEO on my root page? The design will not look as good but some people say you should have at least 250 word on it.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] isn’t always the case though and sometimes context is more important than content for your home page. As long as you can indicate who you are, what you provide, where you can be found and what you […]

  2. […] Length. This is Correlated with rankings. Try to aim for at least 300 words when creating a web page, blog post, news article or other piece of unique digital content for […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *