Whether you’re a successful blogger who writes paid articles online or if you just bought an online domain and write for fun, I’m sure you wondered at least once just how long should an article be, in theory, to be read and shared across the pond, of course.
Now, back to the present topic. What I can tell you, from my experience, is that the length of an article is determined by many factors, from the theme approached to its complexity and type (a humoristic text, a detailed analysis of a phenomenon, an introduction into a broader subject to be developed in a later article etc.) ending with, of course, the final goal of the text (to influence, to convince, to inform or to educate).
So, how do I choose the right article length for my visitors? How do I make sure that people will read a text from start to bottom? Does the length of the article influence Google indexation? Let’s discover together...
Factors that determine article length
The first thing I want you to remember is that a single, „ideal” article length that applies to any text designed for publication online on a blog or a niche site does NOT exist, because of the reasons stated above.
Every writing has a purpose. Which is why an article should end the moment it achieved that purpose.
Just like you can watch an hour-long theatre play without losing interest but get bored during a stupid one-minute commercial, the same principle can be applied to articles. It is not the length itself which increases the retention potential of the presented information and the probability for said article to be shared, but the quality level, the article’s relevance to the end reader.
In other words (no pun intended), you can deliver quality in 500 words and be mediocre in 1000 words...and vice-versa.
Still, there are some rough estimates which can help you when you structure a text. Most people who write articles online consider the standard article length to be 500 words (2000 characters) and that a readable, easy to follow text should have between 500-700 words.
The bare minimum that an article length should meet for online publication is 300-350 words (including journalistic texts, even though they are, by definition, rather short). Even so, this situation is not recommendable for websites seeking to offer relevant content to their clients and readers and who care about their reputation. Despite that, I’m sure we all know at least one news outlet in Romania (and not only) which flagrantly breaks this more or less unwritten content rule.
Still, why is this rule important for any blogger or content creator? According to Copypress.com, websites who frequently post only 200-300 words texts with a subpar quality standard and filled with keyword stuffing get flagged by Google, as these types of texts are considered „thin content.”
An approximate classification which might help you, in my opinion, get out of your funk when looking to write the next text sounds a little bit like this:
- News/announcement type article (e.g: the firefighters rescued a cat from a tree, lady Geta found sunflowers on sale and stocked up for winter, Gigel put a pen through his eye and the pen survived) – min. 350 words.
- Standard article (the best travel destinations, what’s „in” this winter, how to match your scarf with the feeling of inner despair you carry this season etc.) – 500-700 words.
- Analysis/Editorial (a detailed analysis of a phenomenon – e.g. overview of the labor market in Romania in 2018, it is a complex and detailed writing which contains fixed data such as statistics and studies) – 700-1000 words.
- Instructive articles/guides (learn how to do thing X in 10 steps, online marketing for dummies, how to write better without throwing your laptop off a rooftop etc.) – 1000-1500 words
Another variable you should keep in mind is the domain/industry. Articles for technical, specialized domains (financial, technological, medical etc.) will usually be longer because they are aimed at a specific segment of the audience that is interested in the newest developments, that has a vested interest in spending more time on the website in question because it’s looking for educational content.
Another factor that determines article length is, of course, the target audience. Who am I writing for? What do they want to find out from my website? What is the average time they spend on my website?
The last factor but clearly not the least important one is the writer’s skill, what abilities does he have, how can he structure a message coherently and in how many paragraphs and words, respectively.
Long article vs. short article – are there any differences in Google Indexation?
Neil Patel, a well-known entrepreneur and marketer, author of QuickSprout.com did a test on his visitors and noticed that his homepage of over 1000 words generated more leads than another homepage of only 488 words.
Moreover, a statistic quoted by CopyPress.com showed that the average length of the best positioned articles in Google after search volume was a surprising 2416 words.
We can assume that the above data is justifiable by various arguments – longer content can be a much more documented one, which is why it ranks higher up, as opposed to shorter articles, considered superficial in terms of information accuracy, but this is not a universal principle and isolated cases don’t necessarily confirm a rule.
Google’s Algorithms change constantly and it takes a lot of things into account when indexing webpages, from content quality to the website and the author’s reputation, SEO, even the presence or absence of an SSL certificate.
In Romania, we have plenty of examples of well-positioned bloggers with short articles and high traffic, just like we have bloggers who write longer, more detailed articles that still cater to the tastes of their respective audiences and get shared. The same principle can be applied to international publications and their content.
You can deliver quality in 500 words and in 1000 words. What is important is to obtain a balance in your writing, to avoid content that is too short (200-300 words), as well as using keywords obsessively to avoid flagging. That...and you don’t want to be redundant and bore your readers, right?
The length of the article, generally, is determined by its end-goal, as well as the author’s ability to put forth a message that is coherent and bring valuable info to his public.
The bottom line is that an article should, above all, provide an answer to a pressing issue or a need that the reader has so that he will return with a smile on his face on your site or blog every time.
Good luck on your writing endeavors and keep letter-ing on!
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