Today I’m going to rant about words. As web marketers, we’ve been beaten over the head with the “Content is King” adage, so we take it for granted when we start on a new piece that we’ll be crafting anywhere from 300 to 800 quality words. Let’s stop and think for a moment about why we write so much. Contrary to popular belief, copywriters aren’t just self-indulgent adjective-pushers who revel in hearing themselves ramble on, waxing poetic for the sheer felicity of sharing their formidable vocabularian prowess and effortlessly superior command of the written word...
I digress. My point is, there are several important reasons we are such sticklers for word count, and writer’s ego isn’t actually one of them. Clients are concerned with keeping their landing pages uncluttered to match their clean, modern site designs, so it is of the utmost importance that they are educated on how vital the written word is to their SEO success.
Words Build Trust
We’ve all heard it before from clients, “My customers know what they are looking for--they don’t need all of these product details to read through.” While that may be true for most of their site traffic, what about new visitors? The more information a landing page offers, via product specifications, ingredients, dimensions, FAQs, etc., the more authoritative the website becomes. Additionally, new visitors aren’t the only ones who will notice “punched up” copy; the Google Spiders have become so finely tuned to detect quality content that they will instantly award a web page higher value based upon informative, comprehensive copy.
We remind clients that while on-page content should be valuable to the visitors first, without also impressing the spiders, the web page is unlikely to ever reach a clickable ranking in the search results. That means writing clear, useful content to describe the targeted keywords. Of course most products can be summarized in a couple sentences, but when we offer customers further details to the tune of say, 300 words, the inherent trust rises exponentially.
Words are Crawlable
Images add eye-catching beauty to any web page, and downloadable pdfs are an efficient way to share a wealth of information about a product or service. The problem is, neither of these media are crawlable by the Google Spiders. That’s not to say that graphics, photos, tables, and pdfs shouldn’t be included in a page--they absolutely should! But even if a client believes that all of the information a potential customer might need is covered, we always recommend adding landing page copy for maximum SEO value. We like to conduct industry specific research to help determine the most favorable word count for each client.
Depending on the specific industry, the magic number can range dramatically. To hang with the big players in the travel industry, for instance, a page needs to offer over a thousand words of destination facts, insider tips, and more. For more utilitarian manufacturing or engineering websites, industry standard ranges from 200-500 words per page. Yes, copy can sometimes seem redundant, but trust us, more is almost always better when lesser known brand is working towards brand authority and building rankings. And remember, the more often new content is added to a website, the more often it will be crawled and indexed!
If you have a different technique for educating clients on the importance of content marketing and web copywriting we would love to hear about it!