Word Counts and Search Engines – Is There A Minimum?

Posted by on May 18, 2014 in content & content optimization

Typically, when we receive questions at C.SEO, we respond individually with something unique to the question, confidentially. However, there are some topics that come up more often that begs to be answered on a public forum. That is just the case with this question; is there a minimum word count for search engines?

The Frequently Asked Question

The latest question that sparked this very post was offered up by a good friend of ours, Abbey (but not ‘Dear’) who, by profession, is an editor and content extraordinaire.

I’m having a friendly debate with a friend about Google. In your experienced SEO opinion, how many words should a web page have for it to have some sort of search engine relevance? Like, should a page have a minimum word count in order for it to even qualify for Google to search it? If so, how many words is the minimum?

The Answer

Dear Abbey, (LOL)

Whomever said that a search engines look for a minimum number of words is marginally correct. The going standard is 250 to 300 words. But what determined that standard is the understanding that to effectively communicate a thought as well as include all necessary elements of a web page (i.e. CTAs, links, references/citations, etc.) the content will naturally reach this minimum. Relevancy is a concept that requires context mixed with quality content.

There are a number of pages and posts that exist on the Internet that fall below the 200 word limit suggested, that show up for a number of searches ahead of others results because of the quality and relevance of the content to a specific subject (links and social sharing don’t hurt).

If a page falls under this minimum (250-300) then the content may be better suited as supplemental than a primary content page. Supplementary pages refers to pages like FAQs, overview, glossaries, blog posts or even pop up windows.

The Wrapper

Search engines may look for a minimum of content (they surely did in early 2000’s) but now much of the algorithm is focused on quality signals over simple data or quantities.

A. Chris TurnerAbout the Author: Chris Turner is also known as ChocolateSEO. CSEO is Chris' Nashville search marketing and consulting service offering a variety of services to help you, your company and any website maximize web-based marketing opportunities. He is the father of three girls, one boy (finally) and husband to the wonderful Savannah. Join the author's circle: Chris Turner on Google+.