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Some people say web pages should be long — Google loves content. Some people say they should be short — no one has the patience to read more than a couple of sentences.

So, what’s the right answer?

As with most things that have several factors involved, the reality is that there is no ideal length for a web page. There’s only what’s ideal for a particular web page for a particular audience.

The question we should be asking first is, “What do I want my website visitors to do?” What we write will flow from the answer to that question.

In order to get our visitors to do whatever it is we want them to, we have to convince them that:

  1. We understand the situation they’re in and the needs they have.
  2. We have the solution to the discomfort they’re experiencing.
  3. We’re the best ones to provide that solution.
  4. They need to act now to get that solution.

Your copy should be as long as it takes to convince your visitors of those things — and only that long.

But what about the search engines? There is some evidence that landing pages of 2,000 words rank higher than those with less. If you’re trying to rank nationally for some super-competitive keywords, you’re probably going to have to deal with long landing pages. In this case, I’d advise following the good old journalism funnel: put all the good stuff at the top of the page, where your real live visitors will read it, and then put the copy intended for the search engines (details, details, details) at the bottom.

Otherwise, focus on your prospects. Because it won’t do any good to get people to your website if they leave without making a phone call or placing an order. 

For a fantastic summary of what Google looks for, check out this post.

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photo credit: kentbye via photopin cc

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