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Are there any kind of standard word limit's based on SEO for web pages?

I've read around and I've seen advice saying that pages should aim to be no more than 500 words to maximise the SEO benefits. What's everyone's take on this?

I get asked this question a lot and my answer is usually between 250-450 words per page to try to encourage people to write good unique content. We regularly get clients who want to put essays on the web so it would be good to come back with good reasoning as to why it's not a good idea to put 5000 words on a page.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

You're going to see widely varying numbers because there is no ideal word count. Really what you should be focusing on is what is too long from a reader's perspective and what is too long for search engines to index.

Search engines don't use a word count so as far as they are concerned you can forget about that. I forget exactly how large a web page can be before they stop loading it but it is at least 100k. (I am sure someone will provide us with an exact amount, at least for Google).

As for humans you should probably break down long articles into five paragraph blocks and span multiple pages to make them easier to read. But also give them the option to read an article on one page as some users do prefer that option. (You can even have this be the default in search results).

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Google used to only index the first 100 KB of a page, but now it is much more. – DisgruntledGoat Jan 4 '12 at 11:39

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