SEO Copywriting–Does Word Count Matter?February 22nd 2011 Sally Ormond search engine optimisation, SEO copywriter, seo strategies, Website copywriting, word count
As an SEO copywriter I hate word count. It’s counterproductive and here’s why.
Over the years I have worked on many SEO copywriting projects – some direct with businesses others for SEO web designers and companies.
Most clients realise I know quite a lot about SEO copywriting and in particular how it works. Many of the sites I write for rank on the front page of Google for their chosen keywords – not least my own website which is on the front page of Google for ‘copywriter’ (out of about 6 million results). So as SEO copywriters go, I’m pretty good – even if I do say so myself.
I’m not saying that my client’s success is solely down to me – that would be untrue – it plays a big part but other factors such as link building are also a major contributing factor.
Anyway, back to SEO copywriting.
Most clients give me a brief a list of keywords and then leave me to it because they know I’ll create copy that will not only help them rank well, but will also convert visitors into sales.
But some SEO companies and web designers I work for are fixated on word count. As far as I’m concerned…
Copy should be as long as it needs to be
Word Count Won’t Affect Your Rankings
There is no evidence whatsoever to support the thinking that more words will result in greater ranking success.
Despite this, I am still asked to produce a specific number of words per web page (usually in the realms of 500 to 600 words). It may well be that the project actually calls for that number of words but, if it doesn’t, imposing a limit on words plays havoc with my creativity.
Basically the copy has to be led by the product or service it is to sell. I’ve seen web pages with as few as 70 words that rank just as well as pages with 600+ words.
If I have to write 700 words but the product or page subject matter only calls for 300, the remaining 400 words are just going to be padding. And that’s bad.
Every word on the web page has to be there for a reason – to sell. Plus you must think about your reader. Are they really going to be prepared to sit down and read your 600+ words? Probably not. For most people, if you haven’t convinced them within 200 words you’ve lost them.
So when you commission your copywriter, ask them to write fantastic SEO website copy that is interesting to the reader, sells the product and converts web traffic into sales and not a certain number of words. Because….
It’s the quality that counts
The effectiveness of the copy must be measured by its conversion rate.
It has to attract traffic (through SEO) and then convert those visitors into sales (through compelling and persuasive copy). Your web copy is there to target a specific audience. If it does it’s job, the traffic it brings will convert. After all, what’s the point of having 1000s of visitors a day to your website if your copy doesn’t convert them?
Why you need to know this
If you impose a strict word count you will either force your copywriter to pad with unnecessary words or they’ll have to ruthlessly cut their text which could seriously damage its impact.
A good SEO copywriter will understand:
- Keyword usage
- The importance of tags
- The optimum places for keywords
Trust their judgement and leave them free to produce the copy for your website. They will naturally arrive at a word count that suits your product or service.