Does Size Matter?

June 23rd, 2007

So what’s the “ideal” number of words of text, as far as SEO goes? 300? 500?

Look at Google’s high fliers and you’ll see that their pages weigh in at anything between at 2k and 100k, but what does that mean in word terms? Of course what’s important here is relevance and usability and that is linked to file size: the bigger the file, the longer the text, the more diluted the effect. A page with just three well-constructed sentences can outrank the rest.

If you were to take the position “the longer the better”, you’d need to pack a huge screed of text with an almost limitless supply of fact/keywords to keep the keyword concentration high enough. The result would be a bloated monster of a page that no-one would EVER get to the end of. Spare a thought for your readers; they’re what your doing it for aren’t they?

While it is true that larger pages have a larger pool of query matches — including Long Tail searches — if a page is 2,000 words long, it is likely to have more than one subject. Multiple subjects simply dilute the message and hit the SEO.

If you have several topics on one page, split the page: smaller pages have a limited number of potential query matches, but the split will also increase the number of <title>, <h1> and inbound links. And more pages are good for SEO.

The patent of Google’s extremely complex search engine algorithm implies that it is designed to reward sites which grow content, which good news for the genuine web builder.

The truth is that there is no such thing as ideal page length for Google and the other search engines: if there were, search engine spammers would create sites with all pages at this length. The point with web content is to avoid doing things that look like spam.

The Google algorithm’s complexity also means that it’s much harder for SEO optimisers/spammers to apply a series of rules to get good SERPs: this frees up web content authors to write more for a human audience rather than robots.

Some say Google’s long-term planning is aimed exactly at this goal. Perhaps they are changing their unofficial motto from “Don’t Be Evil” to “Do Something Good”.



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