Longer articles are en vogue again.
Google says that more substantial long content with really really good information is more effective and more SEO-worthy than short articles. Some bloggers are even saying that no article under 1000 words will generate respect from Google. Hubspot’s CMS won’t allow us to publish an article under 600 words.
However, the most well-read blog posts on our site are short articles, articles that are 300-500 words. They are snippets of content, very salient, to-the-point, and extremely clear. There is no fluff.
Note: Short and to-the-point is generally how I, personally, prefer to write. I was in TV news for 4 years. You have 60 seconds to tell a very complex story. Most of the words in most articles I read are fluffy fluff fluff, in my opinion.
Note: I said most longer articles are fluff. Not all.
Anyway, there is a weird paradox. The longer articles on our blog should be doing better, but the shorter articles on our blog are doing better.
What’s up with that.
– Google likes longer articles better. They have more keywords to crawl, more content to digest and more information to search through.
– Substantial subjects can be covered with ease in longer articles. It is challenging to boil a complex subject down into anything other than 1200-1500 word article.
– More in-depth content can be discussed in longer articles. Could Plato’s Republic have been condensed into 2 pages? Probably not. Longer content breeds more researched, thought-out content. Ultimately, that’s good for everyone.
– Sometimes longer articles are harder to read. They’re a slog. They’re hard to get through. Longer articles are a challenge for someone in today’s 140 character world.
– Many times longer articles suffer from word-fluff syndrome. Someone just keeps writing words until they hit 1000. The words become increasingly meaningless as the article slogs on. Blah, blah, blah, blah.
– It takes longer to write longer articles. This means less content gets posted and fewer articles get indexed.
– Writing fewer articles means that you’re less likely to hit the article ‘jackpot.’ Content marketing is a little bit like the lottery. You produce lots of content–good content–and you hope that one of the articles you create resonates with people. You hope someone likes your articles. By the very nature of statistical likelihood, only a few of your articles will be a ‘hit.’ Thus, producing more articles or shorter length increases your likelihood of having a ‘hit.’
– It takes longer to read longer articles. Most people are lazy and don’t like reading longer articles.
What’s the Verdict?
I don’t know. All I know is this: Google says longer articles are better. BUT, our shorter articles generally get more visits than our longer articles.
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