My article "Caribbean weather in December" has competed over the last several years for the #1 or #2 ranking in Google for that search term. The article has charts, photos and plenty of content.
https://wanderwisdom.com/travel-destina … r-Getaways
All of a sudden, Google puts a dinky article as a snippet at the top of the search results. It has a grand total of two paragraphs that are mostly fluff.
https://www.google.com/#safe=off&q= … n+december
Anyone care to speculate why a two-paragraph article is more important to Google than an HP article that follows all of the rules?
I don't know how often they rotate those 'result zero' snippets. A few of my pages have have taken that spot so it is not impossible for a niche site to feature.
Problem is, if Google is using authority as part of its metric, you are up against one of the biggest travel companies in the world.
I would also revisit your summary as well Promisem. On my UK search, your article is third and looks like this:
The Thomas Cook snippet is above this.
Your description is considerably shorter than the two sites above it. They also include temperatures in their descriptions. Based on these, I would probably click on the Thomas Cook site, as it immediately stands out as giving me the information that I am looking for: i.e. Caribbean weather in December.
Anyway, it could be worse...at least you're not being outranked by Wikimedia!
I've always been skeptical about word count as a factor in getting ranked on Google. People repeat that mantra ad nauseam about how you have to have so and so many words in an article for the article to be successful and I've personally seen articles do rather well that had far fewer words than the standard advice suggests.
At any rate, I've seen the same thing before too, an article beat out one of mine and I don't know why. I've also had some get in that coveted snippet at the top of search results, and it's a good thing indeed. Why Google chooses what they choose to put at the top of the SERPs, I'm not sure, but it's my feeling intuitively that it has to do with how closely information pin-points the query, more than about how many words are in the article.
It's certainly not the number of words that matter, it is the quantity and quality of information.
Will is right, it's both the quantity and quality of the information that matter. I have seen studies showing that longer articles in general get higher rankings.
As you point out, there are plenty of exceptions. So quantity is a factor in the results, but it's one out of many.
I guess it goes without saying that quality is a factor, anyone who doesn't know that is kind of clueless. But it would have to be admitted, especially considering Scott's example here, that quantity can be totally not a factor and something else comes into play; which I can only assume is related to how specific the information is in the article.
Edit: I have to say I just randomly Googled a number of queries and all of them had short articles as top results. All studies can be disproved, that's what the scientific method is; I wonder if any studies find contrary evidence from the standard advice.
It is interesting to see that Thomas Cook article is SO short. I have avoided short posts ever since my blog got "Panda'd" a few years ago - I got rid of all my short posts by combining them or deleting them, and the blog recovered. Ever since then, I've stuck with the idea that posts had to be at least 350 words long to be on the safe side. Clearly not!
However while I always believed Google penalised very short articles, I've never believed they looked at word count per se. The reason I recommend long articles (800 to 1500 words) is (a) for SEO and (b) for the reader.
Fundamentally, for SEO, the more you can fill an article with keywords and their synonyms, the better. We can't risk being penalised for keyword stuffing so the only way to get a good variety and frequency of words in an article is to make it long - because then it happens naturally.
Then of course, for the reader, a longer article can have more depth and offer more meaningful information.
This explanation makes more sense to me than the standard advice which usually just goes - Do it just because. It is important to get synonyms in there I think, though I don't consciously do it; but it would seem to come about naturally in a longer article.
Getting Google to use data from your article in snippets is a little tricky. HubPages tries to help by using code that Google recognizes, but you have to help it along—as I'll explain.
You'll have to admit that the data from that other article directly answers the question. So it's no surprise that Google used a snippet from it.
The graph image you used also directly answers the question, but Google bots can't read data from images. The solution that might help increase your chances of getting into snippets is to make a table with the data from that image.
The internal code that HubPages uses for table capsules is directly readable by search engine bots. Google will then be able to use that data, and that will increase your chances of getting into snippets.
You should also place that table near the beginning of the hub. Don't just place it where you have the image now. It's too low down. Google wants to give people instant gratification. If readers feel they got something of value, they will be more inclined to click to your hub and read some more. So don't be afraid to place the "meat" at the beginning.
It's a valid point about my first paragraph. I made a change to that paragraph and the summary to see if that helps. I also will try your suggestion about the table.
I still find the results troubling. It suggests to me that Google is using snipplets to keep people on Google and that the snippet is more important than the landing page.
Wow, did not know that about the code, but this explains why I've generally been able to rank well and relatively quickly with my Hubs. I do okay with a couple of my own sites, though, but Hubs I notice do really well in the search engine generally.
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