I just read an article on how to write brief web content. It clocked in at over 1200 words. The sign of a malfunctioning delete button.
The irony reminded me of the old long-versus-short debate.
The Numbers Game
Years ago, I used to tell clients that at least 300 words per page were required for keyword optimization. I knew of other SEOs who insisted the magic numbers were 500, 600 or 1,000 words with a keyword density of [input widely varying ratios here].
Web users were thought to be avid readers. Keyword counting was all the rage. What were we thinking??
Now that Google is learning to recognize synonyms in context, we can get more sensible with our writing… sure, use keywords in your copy but write until you’ve made your point. And then stop. Whether that happens to be after 100 words or 2000.
Then go back and murder your darlings like a madman.
Because no matter how relevant the subject matter may be to your niche group’s vested interests, EVERYBODY needs an editor. Very few documents in the history of the world could not be improved by a nip and tuck… or a slash and burn.
No Formula For This
The downside is there’s no easy mathematical formula to tell us when to stop writing or how to apply keywords to our content correctly. Which is why the lowly writer / editor is experiencing a kind of renaissance in the world of online business. Let us murder your darlings for you, we just aren’t as into them as you are!
Brevity may be the soul of wit. But it’s also the steel-toed boot that commands attention.
The Author: Heather Reimer is head writer and usability professional at TheWriteContent.com. She’ll help your website communicate better by choosing the right words and fewer of them.