Content production is one of the most recurring and important tasks in an SEO project. While it is regularly said that content is king, it is also paid for by pieces. Most often, it is the price per word that is presented by service providers and customers. The length of the text has therefore quickly become a unit of measurement, both for invoicing and for the strategy put in place. The reason is simple: it has the advantage of easily representing the workload (budget) allocated to a project. To the point that some SEOs do not hesitate to talk about a minimum amount of words to achieve their positioning objectives. But what is behind the scenes? And what are the alternatives to paying by the word?

Overview: The pros and cons of pay-per-word

Let’s summarize in a (non-exhaustive) table the advantages and disadvantages of invoicing texts for SEO based on the number of words:



• An easy-to-understand unit of measurement;

• Become the standard in the sector;

• Ease of comparison between different providers;

• Indication of the level of development of a subject (brief, in-depth, file, etc.);

• Channels the editor to gain efficiency when he respects the number of words requested in the brief;

• Impression for the client of “getting his money’s worth”.

• Sometimes complicated invoicing, to the nearest penny;

• Race for words which sometimes weighs down the whole (excess of “stop words”);

• Poor representation of the work required to finalize content (example: variable acculturation and research time);

• Lack of clarity when comparing different providers (project management included?);

• SEO KPIs may be obsolete if based on the notion of semantic density (TF-IDF method, weighted relevance measurement).

A particularly practical model for the sponsor

The advantages of payment by the word seem rather in favor of the customer. Just note what budget is allocated, then do some simple calculations to estimate the cost of content. It is a concrete method to account for the budget necessary for the realization of a project.

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Syphaïwong BayWeb Editorial, SEO and Content Marketing Consultant

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