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Number Of Words On Homepage


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7 replies to this topic

#1 fine0023

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:00 PM

A while back, I read somewhere that a homepage should have at least 300 words in order to be considered an authority website (whatever that means) to google spiders. My homepage is more of a minimalist kid-friendly design with not a whole lot of text (as are most of the main pages on my site). Should I add a couple hundred words to my homepage just for the sake of making it have over 300 words? Does this have anything to do with pagerank? I think right now my homepage is pr5 (I'm still not real clear on the pagerank concept in general). I've been adding more body copy recently to some of the secondary pages on my website to discuss relevant issues (this part is more for the adults than the kids), but these pages aren't the ones that are visited often or rank highly for any particularly well searched for terms. Even though I prefer to keep my homepage and other key pages relatively uncluttered, I would consider adding some more text to them if that might help seo.

#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:29 PM


Your home page should focus on the people you are trying to reach, not the search engines.

There is no minimum amount of text required to be an authority site. Just look at the home page of Wikipedia. It doesn't even make sense. It's gibberish. And yet Wikipedia is an "authority" site.

#3 qwerty

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 03:13 PM

Let's not worry too much about "authority" or a magic number of words. But words matter. Apart from the page's title and the anchor text of links pointing to the page, the text on the page is all a search engine has to go by in figuring out what the page is about. If you want it to show up in search engine results for anything beyond the company name, you have to have some text on the page.

That's not intended as an alternative opinion to what Michael wrote. You should absolutely target your home page (indeed, your whole site) to your intended audience. I just hope that targeting involves some text that also happens to be accessible to search engine spiders.

QUOTE
Does this have anything to do with pagerank? I think right now my homepage is pr5 (I'm still not real clear on the pagerank concept in general).

No, this has nothing to do with PageRank. PR is a measurement based on the links pointing to the page. It's more complicated than that (and less important than you probably think), but it has nothing to do with the text on the page.

#4 fine0023

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 08:04 PM

Ok, I had kind of figured that adding words just for the sake of having a certain amount didn't really make sense, but I just wanted to make sure.

QUOTE(qwerty @ Oct 25 2011, 03:13 PM) View Post
Let's not worry too much about "authority" or a magic number of words. But words matter. Apart from the page's title and the anchor text of links pointing to the page, the text on the page is all a search engine has to go by in figuring out what the page is about.


Let's say I have a page about book trailers, and I would like the page to rank highly when someone searches for "book trailers". I have my title tag as either "book trailers" or "book trailers for kids". Also, my h1 is "book trailers", but the rest of the page is basically just titles of books above image links that bring you to different pages where there are individual book trailer videos. Is just having "book trailers" as both the title tag and the main heading (and then not mentioning it anywhere else) doing enough to rank well for this term? Or, should I at least also have "book trailers" mentioned once or twice in some text elsewhere on the page in some short explanations or descriptions about them? As I mentioned before, most of my body copy where I discuss relevant topics is on other, less visited and less visible pages.


#5 chrishirst

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:15 AM

QUOTE
Is just having "book trailers" as both the title tag and the main heading (and then not mentioning it anywhere else) doing enough to rank well for this term? Or, should I at least also have "book trailers" mentioned once or twice in some text elsewhere on the page


That really depends on the "competitive" nature of those phrases (that's "competitive" as in rank chasing not as in PPC competitive) and WHY does it HAVE to be the "home" page?

Some pages can make the top with only the title element containing the words. Though of course YOU may not see that and continue floundering around and destroying your page's "ranking" for others.

Also, chasing rank for the "home" page specifically is fraught with problems, what happens if somebody links to your "home" page with the "wrong" anchor text and this particular page is one that the Google algo deems to be THE authority for that topic?
That one link may just outweigh the content scaling and magic.gif it's goodbye rankings.

#6 fine0023

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 05:08 AM

QUOTE(chrishirst @ Oct 26 2011, 03:15 AM) View Post
WHY does it HAVE to be the "home" page?....Also, chasing rank for the "home" page specifically is fraught with problems


Thanks for your response, but I wasn't asking about anything having to do with homepage in that most recent reply I made....


#7 Jill

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 07:39 AM

QUOTE(fine0023 @ Oct 25 2011, 09:04 PM) View Post
Let's say I have a page about book trailers, and I would like the page to rank highly when someone searches for "book trailers". I have my title tag as either "book trailers" or "book trailers for kids". Also, my h1 is "book trailers", but the rest of the page is basically just titles of books above image links that bring you to different pages where there are individual book trailer videos. Is just having "book trailers" as both the title tag and the main heading (and then not mentioning it anywhere else) doing enough to rank well for this term? Or, should I at least also have "book trailers" mentioned once or twice in some text elsewhere on the page in some short explanations or descriptions about them? As I mentioned before, most of my body copy where I discuss relevant topics is on other, less visited and less visible pages.


Try it and see what happens. That's the only way to know what will work for your specific page.

#8 Black_Knight

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 09:24 AM

If (by a miracle) the homepages of Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Microsoft all linked to your site using the words 'Book Trailers' in on near the link text, then even if you didn't use the words together at all on your page, not even in the title, it would probably do very well for the term in search. So, sometimes the 'right number' of words can be zero.

And if you were in a (completely hypothetical) market where nobody had any backlinks at all, maybe the page with 600 words of text, using the keyword several times, once in the URL, once in the main title, once in the first heading and once each in a couple of sub-headings. Once in the first paragraph, and four times in the following paragraphs would be the 'right number of words'.

But in the real world, most things are a balance, a mixture of many different elements and tastes. There is no one, single, perfect, recipe. One recipe uses less flour and more cooking time. Another recipe uses more water and needs less salt. The only test that matters is the end result - is it delicious? Search algorithms are not simple things and they are designed not to just rank one type of document or thing well. They can find the highly specialist research paper published by one scientist and only properly understood by about 200 people in the world. And at the other end of the spectrum, they can find the video of the skateboarding cat. Because the algorithm balances many things. It can find the 18,000 word document that is linked to only by a few really deeply knowledgeable sources with high authority, or it can find the image or video thing linked to by several million teenagers on social media sites.




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