SEO text length: How long should an SEO text be?


As an SEO agency focusing on SEO content, our clients often ask us: “How do you know how long an SEO text should be?”

With longer texts we are occasionally asked somewhat provocatively: “Who reads all of this?”

Based on our project experience, we can answer these questions very clearly.

SEO text length: Some SEO texts are long, but longer is not always better.

The SEO text length depends on the user’s search intent

The search intent describes what the user wants to find or understand when entering a specific search term into Google. It is, so to speak, the need for information associated with a search term.

When creating SEO content, the goal is to fulfill the user’s search intent as effectively as possible: Web pages that fulfill the search intent particularly well rank in top positions. Because Google wants satisfied, returning users to remain the number one search engine. This only works if Google quickly leads users to their goal: By ranking the content that best fulfills their search intent at the top.

For some search terms, the user’s need for information is low. In these cases, short texts are sufficient to fulfill the user’s search intent.

For other search terms, the user wants to be comprehensively informed about a topic. If you want to rank for such keywords, you need to write a longer text.

Here is an example:

Search term exampleExplanation of the search intention
Short SEO-textwebsite vs webpageThe user wants to learn the difference between a website and a webpage. A short explanation of both terms and a comparison using an example is sufficient here.
Long SEO-Textsustainable websiteThe user wants to know what a sustainable website is and how ecological web design works. This is a complex subject area in which there is a lot of half-knowledge. It is worth to engage in myth busting and make a number of specific recommendations for actions. The result: a long guide text.

Content is key

So the optimal length of an SEO text depends on content-related or conceptual criteria: What content does my text need to cover to satisfy the user?

If you’re an expert in the topic you’re writing about, you should be able to decide for yourself what and how much to write to inform your readers comprehensively in an easily understandable way. Nevertheless, you can always look at other websites content related to your Topic to be sure your planned SEO-Text will be truly better than the competition’s.

If you’re not as familiar with the topic, you’ll need to do an online research anyway to gather the necessary information for writing the text.

Your online research in Google is also a competitor analysis because the texts that rank in Google are exactly the competition you want to beat with your text. So take a close look at the search results and investigate closely what is written in each text.

If you want your text to beat the competition, it has to be better than everything currently ranking in Google. Consider how your text will be better:

  1. Do the competition’s texts only cover the topic incompletely? Then write a comprehensive text covering everything the competitors write about and anything missing. In such cases, your text will usually be longer than the competition’s.
  2. Are the competition’s texts not accessible enough? Then write an easily understandable text that possibly conveys the same content in fewer words.
  3. Are you trying to beat the competition in other ways? For example, by publishing a text that is more current or precise? Or by providing a completely different but valuable perspective on the topic? Then you may not be able to plan the length of your text in advance — but you may not need to.

The examples above assume that the information density of your text is the same as that of the competition. If you write much denser content than the competition, your text will be shorter for comparable content. That’s okay because it’s about the content, not about the absolute word count.

Tipp: Word Count Bookmark

You can set up a browser bookmark to count the word count of competitor texts: Simply drag the “Word Count Button” into your browser’s bookmark bar, select the text in the browser, and count by clicking on the bookmark.

Planning and Calculating SEO Text Length

As a responsible SEO agency, we try to provide our clients with calculative security. Our clients want to know in advance how much the creation of an SEO text will cost. As long as the client’s requirements remain the same, we try to avoid recalculating and invoicing additional costs.

Therefore, we estimate the approximate length of an SEO text in advance:

  • Short: Approx. 700–1500 words
  • Medium: Approx. 1500–2500 words
  • Long: Approx. 2500–4000 words
  • Extra long: Anything beyond that

The length of competitor texts currently ranking in the Google search results list for the underlying keywords forms the basis for this estimation.

However, we don’t simply take the average length of all competitor texts. We try to find an informed explanation for why certain competitor texts rank. Then we develop an individual approach for writing a better SEO text. We establish a possible outline or headline structure that best matches the user’s search intent. Then we can estimate the SEO text length.

Studies on SEO Text Length

Various online magazines and blogs from the SEO community have attempted to derive an optimal SEO text length through studies. For example, Hubspot (2015) statistically found that SEO texts with a length of 2250–2500 words had the most organic traffic.

Hubspot study on SEO text length (2015)

As an SEO agency focusing on SEO text creation, we try to view such results in a differentiated way. On one hand: Indeed, it is relatively common for fulfilling the user’s search intent to require 2250–2500 words. SEO texts for such keywords will become accordingly long. Because of the study result, we can mentally prepare our clients with data-based arguments that many SEO texts will be lengthy.

On the other hand: The study result should not be misunderstood. Writing more does not automatically make an SEO text better. As mentioned, it always depends on the search intent and how well it is fulfilled. If you can meet the user’s search intent in a few words, it can even be harmful to write more than necessary.

Who Reads All of This?

Many marketers make the mistake of projecting their own user behavior onto their target audience or confusing marketing with self-realization.

The audience for your website is not you, but your target audience. If your target audience enters a search term in Google related to your company’s niche or offering, you must assume that the majority of users mostly want to be informed at a beginner level.

You need to bring the beginners along so that they generate positive user signals (e.g., high engagement time on your website, no pogo-sticking) and make the content visible. If you don’t captivate the beginners, your content remains invisible, and you lose the professionals as well.

Content that explains complex issues in an understandable way fascinates beginners as well as professionals. This is an opportunity for conversions — even with your (possibly already better informed) desired customers.

If you find the amount of text unattractive from a web design point of view, keep in mind, that this is initially a purely subjective statement. So you should perhaps not give it too much space. Nevertheless, you should take care to optimize the readability of long texts by using design elements such as text boxes, tables, images, lists, highlight quotes, etc.

Web design instead of alphabet soup: Long SEO texts require a certain readability through suitable design elements.

If this is not the case on your website, you should contact your web designers or content managers who design the website or upload the content. Complaining to SEOs about occasionally long SEO texts is simply not productive if their Search Intent Hierarchy Analysis (SIHA) is that a text for a certain keyword needs to be long to fulfill the user’s search intent.

Furthermore, it is helpful to improve the readability of a webpage by giving many subheadings and writing short sentences and paragraphs with highlights. Table of contents with jump links can also provide users with orientation. Readers who don’t read everything can delve into their specific interests more quickly with these aids.

Are you still thinking: Who reads all of this?

Then you can always check in Google Analytics or a similar tool yourself what your visitors are doing on your website and how long they stay there. Usually, the data confirms: Users who search for information on a specific topic are also willing to invest the time it takes until their information need is satisfied.

This article is just under 1600 words long

We have both made it so far into the text: you as the reader, and me as the author. Do we both think that your search intent regarding the topic of “SEO text length” has been fulfilled? I hope so, and this time I needed just under 1600 words to get you to your goal.

If our approach focused on search intent convinces you and if you are interested in SEO (expert) texts, feel free to contact us via the contact form below. After receiving written initial information about your project, we will also be happy to advise you by phone, video call, or in person.


Maxim Bollig
Digital Marketing Manager
+49 (0)69 9494 5 919-1