It’s a question we’ve been asked by almost every client. How much content should I have on a page for a website?
It’s a question that has been fueled by the SEO mantra “Content is king” for the past few years. Our typical answer is “between 500 and 1,000 words,” which can seem frustrating because it is so vague. However, our answer is slightly more specific than the actual answer.
Actual answer: Your content should be however long it needs to be.
When the digital marketers began to fear Panda updates, some agencies advised clients to throw as much content onto pages as possible to avoid ranking penalties.
As an SEO specialist in the Lancaster, York and Harrisburg area, I am happy that content is now a primary focus for businesses marketing online, but, like Victor Frankenstein, I have felt the disgust induced at the monstrous effects of a good idea taken to extremes.
Some sites sacrifice design and usability for content, resulting in a cluttered mess. Rather than allowing the user to easily find direct answers, some sites force the user to sift through massive amounts of content in the hopes of ranking well on SERPS. Unfortunately, these sites are shooting themselves in the foot.
Content is not the only factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. The search engine giant also takes into account the user’s experience once someone has found your site. This means that Google also judges your site based on how long a user stays and whether or not the user chooses to view more than one page. These UX (user experience) factors can be measured by bounce rate and pages per session.
Bounce rate is the percentage of users who clicked on a link to your site and then immediately left. Why do people bounce? Well, ask yourself why you’ve ever left a site the moment it loaded. The design might have looked outdated, making you believe that the information was also out of date. Or maybe the page was loaded with information and you thought, “I don’t have time for that.”
You’re just like everyone else. You don’t want to sift through clutter to find an answer right now. When determining what information to include on your site, ask yourself, “What does my customer need and want to know?” Once you have answered this, everything else can be left on the cutting room floor. Matching user experience with user intent is the ultimate way to optimize for SEO.
To some, this bare-bones approach to content might seem counterproductive. Content is king in the world of SEO, but as many have said, UX is the queen. And as Queen Bey said, “Bow down.”