One of the hottest topics of speculation among practitioners of web marketing is copy length. Where 200 to 350 words per web page was once considered perfectly adequate, today various web specialists and industry bloggers contend that long copy ranks higher on Google’s search engine results.
Their conclusion is based upon research done by a few influential SEO whizzes which showed the highest-ranking web pages for particular keywords had higher word counts (about 2,000 words on average) than lower ranking web pages. For its part, however, Google has never publicly acknowledged any preferential ranking for web pages with a high word count. Google has only commented that pages with a lot of copy tend to be indicative of quality content.
Apparently, this was enough to get the SEO world waving the “More is better” flag.
Here’s the problem: Long copy web pages are in direct contradiction with a recognized fact about online reading habits—Internet readers are skimmers. They’re looking to get information quickly. Often, they’re not even seated in front of a monitor—they’re on a cell phone with a 2” by 4” screen. But regardless of screen size, you have to wonder: Does anyone really want to scroll and skim through excruciatingly long copy? The reader has come to you for information, after all, not recreational reading.
It’s a bit of a dilemma if you’re looking to ramp up your search engine results rankings. Sure, you want to do all you can to get your website on the first page of Google’s search engine results, but you don’t want to turn off visitors to your site with excessively long copy. If your lengthy content is truly great—whether because it has a lot of useful information or is just fun to read—you can have your proverbial cake and eat it, too. There is a big difference, though, between writing content worth reading and writing content to hit some arbitrary word count.
Balancing user experience with techniques for increasing web traffic is something we grapple with every day at iNET. While we stay on top of the latest trends and techniques, we don’t go along with everything to come down the information superhighway. As far as word count is concerned, quantity is not quality. 2,000 words of fluff might win the search engine ranking battle, but what good does this do when your prospective customer finds out your site is filled with uninteresting and uninformative drivel?
Perhaps a little historical perspective might help. On November 19, 1863, Edward Everett delivered the keynote speech at a ceremony consecrating a new cemetery for Union soldiers. Everett, a renowned academic and one of the finest orators in the country, delivered a two-hour speech containing 13,607 words. You’ve probably never heard of Everett, never read his speech and never even seen a quotable excerpt from it. Neither has 98.9% of the population. Not to say his speech was bad, just painfully long.
After Everett spoke, another man took to the podium. His speech was just 10 sentences long, contained only 270 words and took mere minutes to deliver. It is known as President Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” Maybe you’ve heard of it?
Something else to keep in mind: There are other factors beyond word count affecting web page rankings—such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques, video content, photos, links to other pages on your website, how often your site is linked to from other sites, even proper spelling and grammar. iNET keeps all these factors in mind when developing websites—all with the goal of winning our customers a first page ranking on Google and other search engines.
What is the “right” amount of copy for a web page? As much, or as little, as it takes to tell your story and create a profit-generating website. This is where marketing insight comes into play. When you meet with us, we’ll learn as much as we can about your business and the challenges you face. We’ll help you articulate what sets you apart from your competitors and why your product/service is better. Once we have a clear picture of where you stand, we will be better equipped to get you where you want to be.
Regardless of whether it takes 200 words or 2,000 words.
Creative is an intangible. There aren’t many great creatives in radio. In branding there are less. In strategizing there are even less. Most companies have no BRAND. The products and services are amazing, the businesses are often brilliant. There is just nothing for consumers to grab and buckle themselves into. The web sites are also no influence in creating the brand, brand strategy, ad concept or ads.
iNET creative has dozens of mind traps and hooks. Duplicitous meanings and meanings left for the listener to decipher or wonder at. While these traps can get a listener stuck in a thought midstream over two, three, twenty exposures they force acceptance of the message and action. When they discover the hidden hooks listeners feel like insiders, part of the story and part of the brand.