If you want a page to rank well in search, how many words should be on that page? How does that calculation work?

Search Engine Journal has dropped the detailed, scientific answer here — but the nutshell version is “there’s no right number of words.”

This much seems clear: word count (by itself) will probably never be used as a major ranking factor. Google’s John Mueller summarized the reasons this way:

john mueller best word count for seo

Google’s SEO starter guide states that “Content should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive.”

So how do you know if your page is “comprehensive” enough to rank in Google?

If you prefer instructions, follow these three steps:

(1) Choose the target SEO keyword phrase on the page. Let’s say the keyword phrase is ‘Bitcoin for beginners’.

(2) Define the intent of that keyword phrase. In other words: when someone searches that phrase in Google, what are they trying to accomplish? In our example, the intent is pretty clear: learn the basics of Bitcoin from the beginning (e.g. with a slow ramp on the jargon).

(3) Build a page that accurately and completely satisfies this intent.

If you prefer wisdom, there’s a handy Abe Lincoln story for this. Someone once approached Lincoln on the street and asked: “Mr. Lincoln, how long do you think a man’s legs should be?”

Honest Abe answered: “Long enough to reach the ground.”

It’s the same principle with page content and word counts… the right length for page content is whichever length “reaches the ground” most effectively for your searcher’s (and prospective customers’) intent.

Don’t obsess over word counts. If you want to satisfy the Googlebot, satisfy your searcher by giving them the content they want. Only then will the Googlebot see that you’re the real deal (and know to send more traffic your way).

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