Our clients run small businesses — car rental agencies, landscaping companies, maid services, you name it. Most of them are happy to hand The Web Guys the keys to their digital marketing machines and let us do the driving. We’re the experts, after all. But many still have questions about the process, and the most common one I hear as chief word nerd is related to those pesky things you’re reading right now.
Q: Why Does My Website Need So Many Words?
A: The simple answer is that words are the best way to tell the story of your business, products, and services — and to demonstrate the often subtle distinctions between you and your competitors. Sure, it’s great to have photos of the new travel trailers in your RV fleet, but will they make the phone ring as frequently as the list of camping must-haves included with every rental? Those kind of details make a real difference.
Although search-engine giant Google isn’t sharing details of the formula it uses to rank search results, industry research shows that higher-ranked pages tend to have more words than lower-ranked pages. Of course, not just any words will do. Content must be well thought out, useful to readers, and support the focus of the page. Gone are the bad-old days of context-free keywords stuffed wherever they fit —Google has said it rewards what it calls “high-quality” sites with better rankings.
Words, Words Everywhere – Or Not
None of this is meant to imply that websites should be filled with endless blocks of type. Quite the opposite, in fact — compelling images are also a crucial element of successful Web design. Studies suggest our brains process visuals faster than text and retain more of the information. But they can only say so much. It takes words to describe the benefits of having a commercial property inspection or to explain the importance of routine tree maintenance.
Finding the Magic Number
So how many words does a Web page need to attract Google and turn browsers into buyers? Opinions vary across our ever-evolving industry, but The Web Guys typically aims for at least 300 (fewer than you’ve read so far here) to ensure we can provide well-crafted messages that resonate with readers.
Unlike many other marketing channels, Web pages don’t have defined lengths, so there’s no limit on how many words we can string together on our clients’ behalf. But we know there is a limit on how much the average reader will consume, and we try to keep it well short of that.
What’s your take on website content? Does well-written copy persuade you to patronize a business or try a product? How much is enough? And is there such a thing as too much? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Every Tuesday, The Web Guys will be answering some of the common questions we hear from clients in our new #FAQuesday blog feature. Is there something you’ve been dying to know about digital marketing or Web design? Chime in below and come back for the answers. And don’t forget to stop by on Thursdays for other insights from our talented team.