What is the best word count for SEO? How long does an article need to be for Google to “like” it? What’s the magic number of words to get your article on page one? Yeah, there’s a lot of bad advice out there about the “right” word count for SEO… but the right answer is a lot simpler than you think.

It’s probably one of the most common questions I get asked when consulting on SEO – after I’ve broken the news to a client that they need to write descriptions for their products, the first thing they do is ask… How long do they need to be?

Different SEO tools use different counts and is a wealth of studies out there correlating article length against SERP position. The number seems to climb inexorably upwards from the halcyon days of 350 words to the current trend of 1K words as the minimum

So, what is the magic number? What’s the best word count for SEO?

There is no best word count for SEO

The answer is – there is no best word count for SEO. As a metric, it simply doesn’t exist.

When studies put SERP position and word count on a graph, they are falling for one of the oldest statistical tricks in existence – the belief that correlation automatically means causation.

Or, to put it another way – just because the top articles on a topic are all 1K words long, doesn’t mean that being 1K words long is what makes them rank.

That doesn’t mean that you can start writing short pages and expect them to rank. If you’re competing with someone else for the top-spot for a particular search phrase, you shouldn’t expect to outrank them unless your article is better – more detailed, providing more unique insights, better references and research,etc.

And the article that’s better? Yes, having all those things probably will contribute to you having a higher word count.

So, it’s easy to see how people could be fooled into thinking that Google is looking for some sort of “magic” word count but the truth is more complicated – Google is looking for the best article and sometimes (maybe even most of the time) that best article is long.

what word count is too low for seo?

Having established that’s there no magic number that makes a page rank well, we need to talk about the minimum number of words that a page can have if you want it to have a change of ranking.

Yep, although there is no magic word count above which success is assured, it’s reasonable to say that there is a minimum word below which your article has very little chance of ranking. Depending on who you listen to (including me) the number moves around it bit but the general consensus averages out around 350 words.

Why 350 words? Well, a side of A4 is normally between 300 and 400 words and is the recommended length for a press release. It’s an easily digestible amount of content for someone to read through, no more than three or four paragraphs. Sufficient for you to introduce a topic, give some information, and draw a conclusion but not so long that you’re going to get mired in editing or risk losing your reader because the article gets too long.

You have to keep in mind – why am I writing this article? What question are you trying to answer? What benefit are you giving the person by reading it?

To be frank, 350 words is not a lot so if you want to put a line in the sand and tell your copy-writer that all of the product descriptions/blog posts/news articles need to be over a certain amount – why not start there?