What’s the ‘Best’ Word Count for Google? [Updated for 2017]

Have you wondered how long a blog post or landing page should be for Google?

Over the years, that number has been a moving target.

Once upon a time, SEO consultants recommended that every page has at least 250 words.

Amazingly, some people considered 250 words “too much content.” “People won’t read all of it,” folks complained. “I don’t want that many words on my page.”

My, how things have changed.

Today, it’s an entirely different story. In many cases, a 250-word blog post could be considered “thin content.”  Now, many companies are creating 5,000+ word in-depth guides to showcase their expertise -and to snag positioning opportunities.

In fact, a 2017 study by ahrefs found the average #1 ranking page will also position for about 1,000 related keywords — which is something super-short content can’t do. Here’s a recent graph from ahrefs showing what this can mean:

So, what does this study (and others) mean for content producers? Is the age of short copy dead?

Let’s break down the word-count research

HubSpot, in their 2017 post, found their blog post sweet spot was 2,500 words:

A recently-updated post, citing a joint study by OKDork and BuzzSumo, says copy over 3,000 words receives more social shares:


Think longer copy is where it’s at? Some experts disagree.

One article discusses that we’re in the “age of skimming” and people won’t read a longer article. Anything too long will get stuck in the tl;dr trap (too long; didn’t read.)

And finally, a 2016 blog post in BuzzSumo (Yes, the same folks who helped with the above study) has this fascinating quote:

I know if you are in content marketing, there is a lot of advice about quality over quantity. Provide something of value, research it well, make it helpful. It is a strategy I have followed at BuzzSumo. I spend a lot of time researching posts, as I did with this one, aiming to produce authoritative, long form content that provides insights which, hopefully, are helpful to marketers. This takes time and I produce around one to two posts a month.

What’s the takeaway? Even the experts can’t agree on the “best” word count for Google.

Yes, it’s true that longer content has more positioning chances. And yes, a 1,500-blog post (or more) can more fully answer the readers’ questions.

But, not every topic lends itself to a longer blog post without pushing the “fluffy content” envelope.

What’s an SEO writer to do?

Your answer: Quit wondering “what Google wants” and focus on your reader.

That means:


– Throw your assumptions out the window. For instance, many writers think long-form sales copy doesn’t work in today’s overstimulated world.

However, companies writing long sales copy all the time — and it works. For instance, product page from Brookstone is over 688 words long. This HubSpot sales page is over 1,300 words.

Plus, Neil Patel found that long-form copy positioned better, plus provided a higher conversion rate and better-quality leads.

It’s true that long copy can clunk — but, that’s true of any poorly-written page. As Seth Godin says, “Please, give me something long (but make it worth my time.)”


– Poll your readers. A simple way to learn what your readers want to read is to ask them (amazing, I know!) You may find that many of their suggested topics would make great in-depth-article fodder or quickie “tips” posts. Free software like Survey Monkey makes running reader surveys a snap.


– Learn from analytics and testing. What posts do people love? What posts fall flat? Are longer posts getting shared more than shorter ones? What are your post bounce rates? Carefully review your analytics, test your content and see what’s clicking with your readers.

– Tighten up your writing.  Godin may write a 150-word post one day and a 1,500-word post the next. And that’s OK. Either way, his word count represents how long it takes to get his point across – and no more. Don’t “fluff up” a page just to meet a certain word-count requirement.

Finally, think about this when you’re writing the copy:

  • Have I said everything I could?
  • Have I overcome all objections?
  • Have I showcased the product or service?
  • Is the keyphrase usage seamless?
  • Does the copy encourage the next conversion step?
  • Have I connected with my reader?

If your answer is “yes,” you’ve done your job.

It’s as simple as that.

(Note: This post originally ran in 2008, and I completely updated it for today’s brave new Google world. I hope you enjoyed it!)

Now, you can get the latest SEO writing tips sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for the SEO Copywriting Buzz newsletter today.


72 replies
  1. Patrick says:

    I never thought about the word count of my content…I more focused on the content itself and utilizing my H1 and H2 tags. But from the sounds of it doesn’t matter as long as I get my point across. Thanks for the article, great post!

  2. Scott says:

    Heather I still find myself using 250 as the word count when developing copy. But I’m curious, based on your experience, what you think is the most that can be put on a page that people will feel comfortable reading. I think at some point people will either grow tired of scrolling down or will be overwhelmed before they’ve even begun reading if it’s too much text. At what point would you recommend dividing it into more than one page?

  3. Scott says:

    Heather less than an hour after reading your post I began reading a column I was reading a column offering 20 things to improve your web site’s chances. One of the bullet points was “Are there at least 250 words of text on your home page to satisfy search engines?” I thought it was funny reading this so soon after reading your blog. Here was one person using this as a criteria for success on the search engines.

  4. Heather says:


    LOL – that’s funny about the column. Yes, that magical word count seems to be everywhere…I shudder to think how many copywriters are struggling to write exactly 250 words every single time.

    The “best” word count can vary. For instance, I’ve read studies that show that folks in more technical fields (think IT) can handle a longer word count. Some pages do benefit from shorter copy.

    When in doubt, it’s something to test…eventually, I’ll write a post about using analytics to help improve your content.

    Thanks for your comments!

  5. Scott says:

    Heather I imagine your right about people in technical fields read more. I think in their cases they’re likely printing off the text and then reading it. I look forward to your post on analytics.

  6. Tyrone Campbell says:

    I work by the rule of only quality long posts if the quality is kept, re readig what you have write rathar than grammar checking it will make you aware of useless lines of text which may disintrest, personaly the best amount of works if the amount of words it takes to explain in detail.

  7. Chris says:

    I’ve started hearing this more and more lately. It’s not quantity, but quality. I’ve also heard that articles of 300 – 500 words tend to be the best, so I have been striving to hit at least 250 – 300 words and keep the writing brief and to the point. If you think that you’re going to end up making it too long, then that’s the point to stop, reevaluate, and possibly turn it into 2 articles rather than just 1. That’s my thought, anyway.

  8. Marc says:

    Focusing on readers is definitely good advice. From my own blogs I have never been able to see a pattern of how length factors into the rankings. I’ve had some very short posts that ranked well and attracted lots of search visitors, and I’ve had plenty of long posts that don’t rank very well. In the end, if you focus on the reader your content will be better and everyone will benefit.

  9. Kevin Carlton says:

    Hi Heather

    These days, I seem to spend just as much time laying out content in panels, callout boxes, bullet points and tables (as well as suggesting complementary images and icons) as I do writing the actual text.

    By doing this, you’re making it dead easy for the web page visitor to digest what’s in front of them. And, because the content is more concise and visually appealing, people are less likely to bounce and more likely to stick around and buy.

    When I’ve finished the content, it always looks so obvious and simple in the end – even though I’ve slogged my guts out to get it that way.

    But what gets me is when I present the content to the client.

    Far too frequently for my liking they’ll say something like ‘Well you haven’t written very much’ or ‘You haven’t written enough words for Google’.

    Sometimes I wonder whether I should give them the useless, flat, mono-dimensional garbage they think they want rather than the treatment they actually need.

  10. Kevin Carlton says:

    That’s the answer I wanted to hear Heather.

    Although I do need to focus more on getting the right kind of client. That way, I’ll be dealing more often with people who understand what I’m trying to achieve for them and the value of what I offer.

  11. Halona Black says:

    I really find 250 word blog posts to be too short. When I see companies that have those super short posts, I think that it must have been written by a content mill writer. The content is usually not very interesting and you can tell it was SEO driven. Seth Godin can write those short posts and get away with it at times because he has already proven himself as a thought leader. So when he writes a short post, he meets his objective, and he’s done with it.

    On the other hand, I enjoy longer posts — about 1000+ words. However you need to have those subheaders in there to help your readers to skim. It is still the internet, after all, and people want to get to the point. If they choose to read the post word for word, GREAT! However I like to make it easy for them to get the info they need to find quickly, then move on.

  12. Soumya says:

    Yes writing for users/audience/customer/clients is much better than writing your articles for search engines. This is understood and very natural, specially after 2013.But I have one question. Isn’t it better to write 3 articles with 500 words count each than writing one article with 1500 words count?
    Because for 500 words count 3 articles we can target 3 page titles, 3 meta descriptions etc.
    Please put some light on this point and share your valuable inputs on this.

  13. Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

    @Soumya, you’re certainly right. Sometimes, it makes more sense to split one article up into multiple, smaller articles. This can be good for SEO purposes – but also good for your readers.

    However, keep in mind that Google (and your readers) like in-depth articles too. So, you may want to experiment with longer articles and see if that makes a difference.

    Thanks for your comment.

  14. Deborah says:

    Kevin- Whenever I work with a client, particularly a new client, I try to explain what I plan to do and why it makes sense to do it. Most of the time people are responsive to that kind of education. You could also write a blog post on your site about how you tailor needs to individual clients based on your SEO knowledge (or something along those lines).

  15. Sam Mudra says:

    It is all about testing and measuring the conversions continuously. I guess, there is no typical word count for contents marked by Google or any other search engines. It depends on the industry or product or service we are writing on. At the end of the day Content Marketing is one of the best way to reach to your targeted customers. So creating good quality content consistently is more important than concentrating on their word counts. Sometimes a little content can also boost the traffic and itself ranks well and sometime a bigger one does it. It is all about my professional experience. Would like to listen the author’s opinion.

  16. Ahmad Fahrurroji says:

    Sometimes I don’t think about the length of words on writing an article. Focus on how to make a high quality article. But your post is helpful for me to consider the length of words on writing an article.

    Thank you for share and great post.

  17. Craig says:

    Was doing some research on this and your article has summed SEO & word count up very nicely – focus on the readers and make sure you do the necessary testing. Thanks a lot!

  18. Sally Yunk says:

    No wonder nowadays is so hard to get a relevant search like 15 years ago. Now when I do search the first results are this pages with huge content and after been a considerable time reading, then I find out the content is heading nowhere, is a waste of time, searches are not the same with this ridiculous rules of Google and other search engines.

  19. Ema Tiva says:

    I have learn about SEO and I think the words count should between 1000 to 2000 per page.
    And those words should be unique and high quality contents.

  20. Vineeth Mungath says:

    Content Length is a matter because there must be some content related to the keywords and topic we are targeting.

    But activities done by the visitors makes your ranking fluctuations. Minimum content of 300-500 words is essential, and the page should be useful for the visitors ultimately.

    I have found many tourism websites with very less text content that ranked extremely good (they have included packages, and some other attractive elements for the visitors to spend more time on this page.)

    Informational pages( like blog article) and commercial pages ( business keywords) are performed differently in content length from my experiences.

  21. Bill Slawski says:

    Was wondering if you had a particular length in mind when you started rewriting this post, and if that changed during the process of doing so? I’ve had a number of stories in my head that I would like to include in future blog posts – I’m not sure that the additional length may help as much as the fact that they are interesting stories. It sounds like it’s worth testing. :)

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Hi, Bill! ::waving::

      I didn’t, actually — but your note inspired me to check something. Before, with a slightly shorter word count (around 550ish words, and without any graphics,) the page positioned at #5 or so.

      The updated copy has around 750 words, and is now positioning at #1 and #2. Nice!

      It’s interesting to note that the post is positioning well, even if it’s not considered a long-form post. Adding more content for a higher word count would probably make the copy too “fluffy,” which is what I wanted to avoid. In your case, I’d imaging that having an interesting story to tell would be more important than an artificially long word count. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  22. Nick Raineri says:

    Great insight on the recommended word count for content you wish to rank for. I like how you paired this article with real data. Thanks for sharing Heather!

  23. Mozie says:

    Very interesting topic! I’ve been trying different word counts to help stop the guessing game and actually testing different word counts with the same keyword density mixed with long tail terms. I’ve noticed that all my 1000+ word posts outrank my lower word count posts. So I’d recommend always writing posts of 1000+ words and using Google suggest and Google related searches as your best friend :)

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Mozie, it’s great that you’ve actually tested your approach! I love it!

      Do you write for a number of industries/verticals? Or just one?

  24. Lily He-Prudhomme says:

    Appreciate the research – I think following your readers is the best way to grow…now I just need to come up with some readers! :P :)

  25. IADMS says:

    Great post. I used to write content of 500-600 words. I think this much is enough to for my topic and optimizing keywords too. Well written post. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Jeevan Punetha says:

    Great Article….
    Your way of explaining is really superb…..These day it’s very tough to rank high in google….I am new in blogging and your article helped me a lot.
    Thanks for sharing amazing articles.

  27. Kangen says:

    Thank you heather. My target is at least create minimum 1200 words per articles.

    My question is do the images i inserted in the articles counted as word?

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Kangen, hello!

      Unfortunately, images don’t count as a word. :( Having said that, images are great for readers, and many viral posts have multiple images (there are even stats about the number of images you should have in a post.) So, they are worthwhile — especially if you optimize your images for image search. :)

      Thanks for your post and question!

  28. George says:

    I struggle at times with text content. I’m a wedding photographer and so my pages are and need to be very visual. Rather than a blog I create ‘photo stories’ with a brief introduction. Some of my photo story blogs have ranked pretty high but I’m still struggling with the main home page which is crucial. I’ve recently just added more txt so hopefully Google will like it.

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      George, I LOVE the idea of “photo stories!” What a wonderful way to combine text with your wonderful photos.

      Good luck with Google — I hope adding additional home page text helps your rankings. Please let me know how it goes…


  29. Patrick says:

    I think the best thing to do is to not think what Google wants. Ultimately, at least ideally, Google wants what the reader wants. In other words, the article should only be as long as it needs to be. Same with publishing frequency – keeping it regular is more important.

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Hi, Patrick,

      You’re right — it’s more important to worry about what the reader wants. Still, there are some folks out there churning out 5,000-word posts because they feel it’s the “right” thing to do. Sometimes, it is…but other times, it’s 4,000 words too many. :)

      Thanks for your comment!

  30. NetSearch says:

    Very interesting topic! I’ve been trying different word counts to help stop the guessing game and actually testing different word counts with the same keyword density mixed with long tail terms. I’ve noticed that all my 1000+ word posts outrank my lower word count posts.

  31. Edwin O. Polini says:

    Hello Heather, great post!

    I have read a few articles now, hoping to learn something on this subject to improve my blog, and nothing strikes me more than to focus on giving my readers what they want, regardless of what anybody else says.

    I look forward to more of your writing!



Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Learn blog writing secrets in 5 areas to improve search results | Wooster Media Group says:

    […] short pages, which are pages with word counts fewer than around 250. An article in June 2017 from SEOCopyWriting.com noted how it appeared pages ranking high had nearly 1,000 words. Hubspot pointed out 2,500 words […]

  2. SEO Steps: What to Do When Launching a New Site | TheCoders.vn says:

    […] Longer is usually better. Don’t expect to just stuff a bunch of keywords onto a few pages and instantly get traffic coming to your site. Search engines are smart. They know those tricks and will punish you for trying them. People want useful information when they search for something. So search engines try to accommodate this by providing the most relevant links. Typically, longer posts are going to be more informative. Due to this, most first-page results will be well over 1,000 words […]

  3. […] content as well, so it is important to have enough content for them to review. Although there is a lot of discussion on how many words a page should have to rank well in search engines, the average consensus is at […]

  4. […] user content as well, so it’s important to have enough content for them to review. Although there’s a lot of discussion on how many words a page should have to rank well in search engines, the average consensus is at […]

  5. Afinal, qual o tamanho ideal do texto para ranquear no Google? - Blog | DINO - Divulgador de Notícias says:

    […] o SEO Copywritting, textos maiores são mais compartilhados. A afirmação se baseia num estudo de outro site sério, […]

  6. […] wasn’t always the case, though. In previous years, the loosely agreed on number of recommended amount of words per article was 300-500. Now, most SEO […]

  7. How To Drive Traffic To Your Website | Over 60K/Mo In Less Than A Year says:

    […] So, post less often, but work on the quality of your posts!  Check out this resource! […]

  8. Basics SEO knowledge for new founders – yourtechwords.com says:

    […] blog posts are losing ground. Studies from various sources advocate to aim at least 2000 words blog […]

  9. […] try to make it seem really complex (We understand – you are just making sure you get 2500 words into the page). In fact, if you have been a client of mine, you know that I recommend blogging by answering any […]

  10. Most Common Technical SEO Mistakes: How Severe Are They? - SEO TECH SOLUTIONS says:

    […] as some webpages simply do not require much text. While this may be a minor error, attempt to put at least 250 words on each page where it is appropriate and feels […]

  11. […] content around 2.5K words impresses Google and gets you a top spot in the search engine results page or SERP. Consistently […]

  12. Most Common Technical SEO Mistakes: How Severe Are They? by @DigitalAnya | Domain Industry News says:

    […] as some webpages simply do not require much text. While this may be a minor error, attempt to put at least 250 words on each page where it is appropriate and feels […]

  13. Do you know what constitutes good SEO content on your website? says:

    […] Works posted some great research from some industry giants that may be useful in this article. Let’s take a deeper look into specific page content […]

  14. Improve SEO: Search Boosting Blog Ideas - Back to You Marketing says:

    […] be added each week for maximum optimization (although the optimal length of SEO copywriting is still being debated.) But on top of social media posts, email, sales calls, and the general running of a small business, […]

  15. […] to SEO copywriter, Heather Lloyd-Martin, a page with only 250 words is regarded as thin content, that is, something dodgy. In Longer Is […]

  16. An SEO Carol: A Timeless Classic | Four Dots says:

    […] is not the same as optimizing for users. Once it was imperative for a web page to have at least 250 words of content in order to rank, and that, too, was considered thin content. As a result, a consumer would arrive […]

  17. […] to SEO copywriter, Heather Lloyd-Martin, a page with only 250 words is regarded as thin content, that is, something dodgy. In Longer Is […]

  18. […] Today, it’s an entirely different story. In many cases, a 250-word blog post could be considered “thin content.”  Now, many companies are creating 5,000+ word in-depth guides to showcase their expertise -and to snag positioning opportunities. More at https://seocopywriting.com […]

  19. […] The “perfect word count” has changed over time. It used to be 250 words, and now we say 250 words borders on “thin” […]

  20. Egy weboldal szöveg nem lehet túl hosszú, legfeljebb túl unalmas | Weboldalt önállóan holnapra! says:

    […] ez most nem Spárta! 300 az a minimális szómennyiség, amit tartalmaznia kell egy oldalnak ahhoz, hogy minél jobb […]

  21. […] SuccessWorks: Heather Lloyd-Martin refers to the dated SEO copywriting recommendation of 250 words per page. She acknowledges the 1,500 mark that ranks well. But she ultimately suggests to “quit wondering what Google wants and focus on your reader.” […]

  22. […] What’s the Best ‘Word Count’ for Google? When it comes to finding the perfect word count for your content, it’s up to your readers to decide. Read more.  […]

  23. […] Lloyd-Martin writes What’s the “best” word count for Google for SEO […]

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 *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.