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  • How Many Words Should I Have on My Homepage?

    How Many Words Should I Have on My Homepage?

    Content length is a matter of concern for both SEO and user experience.

    You need enough content to register in major search engines, but not so much that you alienate your users or appear to be over-optimizing your pages.

    Writing too much is a pitfall of some search marketers obsessed with achieving a higher rank; they believe that more content is always better, when in reality, that’s hardly ever the case.

    But content length for SEO DOES matter!

    While certain best practices should be followed to maximize homepage SEO potential, quality is always better than quantity.

    The home page is a unique SEO animal for two reasons:

    1. The homepage carries the most weight in representing your site to major search engines
    2. It’s usually the first (and many times the only) chance you have to capture your users’ attentions long enough to lead them to conversion.

    From hundreds of iterations and client tests, we have found that the best length for homepage content is a range between 100 and 1,000 words, with the optimal falling somewhere in the middle (400 to 600 words).

    Homepage content is dependent on the industry, individual user, customer need, search intent, homepage purpose and the homepage content length of the competition.

    Let’s explore a bit more why word count is important for your home page, and what number of words strikes the right balance between user-friendly and SEO-optimized.

    General Homepage Text Guidelines for SEO

    First, it’s important to establish a baseline for SEO. Your homepage text needs to be optimized for search engines if you want to stand a chance of ranking highly for competitive keywords. However, the requirements for search engines are less strict and less demanding than you might think.

    In terms of onsite text, there are only a handful of guidelines you’ll need to follow in order to get the best results. Aside from your title tags, meta descriptions, and physical site structure, you’ll only need to pay attention to these features in your home page content:

    Crawlable Text

    In order to be seen as existing by the robots of major search engines like Google, you will need a minimum amount of “crawlable” text.

    Strike the homepage content/text balance between not overwhelming your crawl budget, but giving your users what they want.

    Robots will scour your site, including your company name, title tag, meta information, and of course, onsite content. In the old days of SEO, that meant including keyword-rich content, so Google search bots would be able to understand what your site is about.

    Today, Google’s robots are highly advanced, and can detect the meaning and intent of your site without you spoon-feeding it content. So, aside from optimized meta data, you only need to include enough text to convey the main purpose and category of your website to a search engine crawler.

    Focus on Users, Not on An Arbitrary Word Count

    It’s also important to structure your home page content appropriately for search engine robots. It’s not enough to simply list a series of power words that describe your business; you need to write in a natural, logical, and appropriate form.

    That means your content needs to be error-free, straightforward, and written clearly.

    Google can detect not only grammatical and semantic errors, but also unnatural instances of language that could indicate a non-native speaker or an intention of keyword stuffing. If you write in a natural voice, you have nothing to worry about, but extending your onsite content for the sole purpose of hitting a word count could lead you to write unnatural sentences.

    In addition, homepage content should favor more toward your brand, your services and your company values, rather than random lists or extended long-form content. In short, you want to rank for your brand, not attempt to create content that, when featured on a blog post, may be displayed as a featured snippet.

    Best Practices for Conversion

    That 100 to 1,000 word range is only for search engines’ benefits; remember that your home page is also the first impression most visitors will have of your company. Your word count also needs to cater to your users’ expectations and desires. Your onsite content will need to immediately convey your company’s description to your users, and also catch their attention long enough for them to want to venture deeper into the site. It isn’t the place for long-winded elaborations, nor is it the place for vague descriptions.

    Concise, Readable Text

    Instead of focusing on how much text you have on the web page, focus on what messages and ideas you want to convey to your visitor. Then, find a way to convey that information to your visitor in the most concise way possible. Don’t truncate or compromise your message, but cut out any unnecessary or “fluffy” content. Your users don’t want to read excessive material that has no relevance; they want the shortest path available. In most cases, that means decreasing your word count to avoid tiring your audience.

    You’ll also want to make sure your content is easily readable, with a clear font and appealing design that complements the content’s form. That means it’s not enough to have a paragraph of excellent content squished together in a lump on your page—your words need to be spaced enough to engage your readers.

    Direction to Fuller Pages & Calls to Action

    Remember that your home page alone isn’t going to convert readers, and therefore, you don’t need to cram information on it. Let your interior web pages do the bulk of the work. You can have as much content as you want on your About page, your Services page, and of course, your blog and news pages. Keep your word count on the home page appropriate for its primary purpose: capturing immediate attention and directing users to relevant interior pages for further brand engagement.

    Most important is the need for your homepage to include relevant calls to action. As the most important page on your site (and likely the most heavily trafficked), the homepage should work to convert visitors into leads and customers with the right hook.

    It’s hard to boil all this information into a one-size-fits-all minimum word count recommendation, but for most sites, creating a great user experience means falling on the shorter end of that 100-1,000 word spectrum.

    Test, Test, Test!

    Every brand and every website is unique, so unfortunately, it’s impossible to calculate an exact word count that achieves the “best of both worlds” for search engine and user experience optimization. There’s no number I could write here that would solve every webmaster’s problems. However, you can figure out the perfect word count for your specific brand by experimenting with A/B tests.

    Run tests, iterate and update when it comes to YOUR ideal homepage content length. Source: Moz.

    Design your home page in two iterations: make the first a shorter version, closer to the 100-word range of the spectrum, and geared toward giving your users the best experience. Set it up for a week (or longer), and measure the results in terms of your organic traffic, and your bounce rates on the homepage. Then, mock up a version of your homepage with bulkier content—something closer to 1,000 words, and run it for a week to see how it impacts your search relevance and user behavior.

    It might take some trial and error before you find the perfect word count for your home page, but that’s the way it should be. In online marketing, there’s no one simple answer for anything because every brand is unique and every demographic has different preferences. In time, you’ll be able to determine what balance of SEO structuring and user catering is right for your company, and your traffic and conversion rates will reflect that.

    If you’re an SEO agency, you likely already have a handle on many of the concepts here, but if you need help with white label SEO and manual link building, please get in touch. Our link building service was specifically tailored for SEO resellers.





    Chief Revenue Officer at SEO Company
    Industry veteran Timothy Carter is SEO.co’s Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue for the company and oversees all customer-facing teams for SEO (search engine optimization) services - including sales, marketing & customer success. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO & Digital Marketing, assisting in everything from SEO for lawyers to complex technical SEO for Fortune 500 clients like Wiley, Box.com, Qualtrics and HP.

    Tim holds expertise in building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams.

    When he's not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach...preferably in Hawaii.

    Over the years he's written for publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, ReadWrite and other highly respected online publications. Connect with Tim on Linkedin & Twitter.
    Timothy Carter