Article Length

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  1. Natalie Frank profile image94
    Natalie Frankposted 4 years ago

    I was just wondering what people's take on article length is.  Do you make a point of including as much info as possible in your article going for longer length or if you can cover it decently in a shorter length do you prefer to stick with that?  I'm seeing some articles that are well written but short and include very concise discussions without additional information but I know the editors seem to always add sections sometimes in the hundreds of words range (my last hubpro edit the editor added more than 800 words to the article regardless of the info not being related -  just to add long tailed keywords).  I'm just curious if people find they are seeing as much traffic from shorter articles as from longer ones.  I tend to spend tons of time adding things now to articles to get them to be at least 1250 words if not closer to 2000 if possible and choose topics where there is tons to say instead of those that are perhaps easier to cover.  I'm wondering if the focus is on answering questions about things people are searching for if people wouldn't rather get their answer short and sweet vs. a lengthy discussion of the topic. I guess this has led me to question if there are two format types here - one where writer's try to answer top questions being asked by readers, and another where lengthier discussion type articles are being written to more fully cover a topic area.  I do more of the latter but an wondering if that will not ever get me the views or the earnings I'm hoping for and if I should switch to the former.  Sorry so drawn out.  I get wordy when I'm tired smile.

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image89
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I think that if you write a good article that holds meaningful information, adding "fluff" only takes away from its quality.  Having said that, I always try to produce a minimum of 1000 words IF I have enough to say about a topic that makes doing that worthwhile.  If I don't know at least that much, I shouldn't be writing the article!

    2. chef-de-jour profile image95
      chef-de-jourposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Natalie, you probably know the answer to your own question! And if not, looking through and learning from these fine comments will more than likely get you across the line.
      If it helps:

      If I can thoroughly answer pertinent questions - in an original way - and squeeze all relevant information out of a subject - without waffling - I can end up with an article that is 1500 - 4000 words long. Being a specialist in poetry analysis, article length usually depends on the complexity of the poem.

      I'm not so hot on SEO but am willing to learn bits and pieces here and there. Putting specific questions - search related - in separate capsules and answering them with quality info seems to be the way forward. And you're right, ongoing edits are always recommended, which can often add to article length.

    3. Tim Truzy info4u profile image94
      Tim Truzy info4uposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I've always tried to cover my topic in 800 to 1200 words, unless it's a short story. This has proven to be successful. If the topic requires more than that number of words, I break the topic into several articles.
      Many times it helps if I am feeling "wordy" to put the article away and trim it again on another day, while preparing for the second part of that topic. I understand your feelings and thinking on this subject. I had to learn to adjust myself. But I think you will get it.

    4. m-a-w-g profile image91
      m-a-w-gposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I write to complete the article.  Some of my articles are longer as need be, but I try not to add fluff just to hit a word count.  I know that some of my articles will not have many views, but they will have some and I shared some information about what I wanted to. 
      Here is a long but information packed page by Neil Patel:

  2. Glenn Stok profile image95
    Glenn Stokposted 4 years ago

    From an SEO standpoint it’s true that a sufficient number of long tailed keywords helps attract more traffic. But that doesn’t mean adding more content is helpful.  When people read content on the Internet they want instant gratification. That means articles should be short and precise and to the point with as little wordiness as possible.

    That doesn’t mean a short article is better either.  It all depends on the complexity of the subject. If the topic can be fully covered in a few words, that’s all that is needed. However, if a topic is so complex that it requires more explanation, then it’s meaningful for an article to become extremely long. This is okay too, as long as it doesn’t go off on tangents, losing the reader.

    It’s important to always stay focused on completing the answer promised by the title, without dragging it out. Always consider the reader, and think in terms of keeping them engaged. Anything that can lose the reader prematurely will hurt the ranking due to a short view duration.

    When I write articles, I always pull out a lot of content that I wrote before I publish it—sometimes even half of what I wrote. When I proofread, I catch things I had said that are either redundant, or unnecessary. So I pull it out. But then I also do some keyword research to see if I need any related keywords that are missing. And with that, I end up adding some content back in. But only as long as it is useful and helpful to get the point of the title across.

    So, having said all that, there is no single answer to what length an article should be.

    1. lobobrandon profile image89
      lobobrandonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      This right here.

      1. DrMark1961 profile image96
        DrMark1961posted 4 years agoin reply to this

        I like the table of contents you suggested in your last article. When I am looking for an aswer to my question and Google a query, if it sends me to a 5000 word article and I am in a hurry I do not have time to find the the specific thing I am looking for. A table of contents makes it clear where my answer is going to be. After that I can turn off my search engine instead of bouncing out of there and looking for an article that has the answer I need, but more clearly.
        So, tl;dr, I also think you can make the article long or short as long as it is organized for the reader.

        1. lobobrandon profile image89
          lobobrandonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Yes, and the table of contents also shows in the search results when the query is directly related to a certain part of the article.

          If the article needs 400 words to convey its message that's all you need, if it's 5k, then 5k it is. I personally don't stick to any word count.

  3. MizBejabbers profile image89
    MizBejabbersposted 4 years ago

    I think the answer to that question is the same as the answer to the question "how long is a rope." Answer:  as long as it needs to be. Sometimes I find myself reading a few paragraphs and skimming through the rest of a long article. A fellow writer, Dean Traylor, wrote a great article on the Gish Gallop, what it is, and how loquacious people misuse it to get their own points of view over. When there is a lot of information included that contribute nothing but SEOs, I think the author may be guilty of the Gish Gallop. I try not to be.

    But I think there should be different requirements for creative articles of fiction and poetry. I've found that short stories don't last very long, but flash fiction seems to be quite popular. A person writing poetry should not be required to pad the submission to 1250 words. I've just written a 300 word flash fiction that I haven't published yet, and tried to include an explanation of where I got my inspiration, like I do on most of my flash fiction, but I can't get this one past 800 words. I could pad my story up to 400 or 500 words, but that would spoil the fun conveyed by the brevity. HP are ya listenin'? (I'm not indulging in self-promotion because I haven't published it yet.)

    1. Jean Bakula profile image94
      Jean Bakulaposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I tend to be wordy, and when I first began here, took a lot of criticism for my often long articles. But I found Google loved them, and some of the longest ones are my best and most read. I usually research a lot and I write about topics I love, so it's easy for me to go on at length. But I answer the question and explain the premise.

      I never pad them. I know we live in times where people have short attention spans, so I add many pictures. I still do well with long pieces, I just finished one that's around 4800 words, but it was necessary. I just asked someone to read it and be honest about what I should cut out, and he thought it was all necessary (being familiar with the subject matter). I feel confident it will do well. I never publish on a weekend, I find people "discover" a new article more on a weekday, preferably not Monday or Friday. Though on Friday mornings people who work on computers are often "already gone" as far as the weekend is coming up, and do surf.

      1. Natalie Frank profile image94
        Natalie Frankposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks for the point about publishing on a weekend.  That's an important point I wasn't aware of here.  I know other sites like pinterest have days and times that people are most likely to discover new content but wasn't aware there was a similar phenomenon here though I guess I should of.  Often my highest views are on weekends but I haven't determined if there's any difference in my new articles. It seems like since an article has to sit for a while before it starts to gain traction if you can get a surge of traffic when it's initially published that might help speed the process up a bit.  Of course, I'm just hypothesizing as I'm not an SEO genius,  Thanks.

    2. Tim Truzy info4u profile image94
      Tim Truzy info4uposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Agreed, Mizbejabbers. It can be a challenge to reach 800 words on poetic pieces. I'm with you on this one.

  4. erorantes profile image54
    erorantesposted 4 years ago

    Good morning Miss Natalie Frank. The reason you think that you write long articles ; it is because your education is higher the most people. Your knowledge has no limit. It is great you are sharing it  with us . Thank you. Do not worry because hub pages will tell you how many words you can write in a hub.

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image89
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Education has absolutely nothing to do with article length.  If you know a lot about a topic or are able to do good, relevant research, that's all you need.  Many who write here don't have formal educations and still do well.  HP does not tell you how many words you need.  They only edit when they feel an author has not covered a topic well.

    2. Natalie Frank profile image94
      Natalie Frankposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you for your kind words - my knowledge most definitely has limits, one of those being SEO and getting better traffic for my articles! smile  Education really doesn't predict who does well here and who doesn't and there are plenty of people on HP without as much formal education as I have that I do so much better than me and who i have been so lucky to be able to learn from.  We all know something we can teach someone else and I always feel thankful that I have a community such as this to turn to with questions. I try to give back when I can if I think there's something I can contribute.

  5. Erudite Scholar profile image60
    Erudite Scholarposted 4 years ago

    I always try to write articles that are at least 1000 words.This is due to three reasons.The first is that a longer article will suffice for my readers on the topic am writing on.Readers want to get all the information they are searching for in one place if possible.If an article is too short, they will just skim over it and go elsewhere.On the flip side if it is too long, they will quickly get bored and leave.The second reason is that short articles do not augur well with ads.Longer articles allow the advertiser the freedom to place their ads in different locations.The third reason is that longer articles also allow one to incorporate various capsules. This makes the article alluring to the readers.I hope this is helpful to my fellow hubbers.Thanks

  6. Natalie Frank profile image94
    Natalie Frankposted 4 years ago

    I don't think I was very clear in my post (go figure, I'm wordy as hell).  I was more wondering if people ever choose topics that are a straight forward answer to a straight forward questions because it can be covered completely in a lower number of words?  Along with that I was wondering if people who have both longer and shorter articles have seen a difference in traffic that seems to be related to the length of the article (obviously topic popularity will go into this but just curious if there seems to be a trend).

    1. lobobrandon profile image89
      lobobrandonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I did an experiment on that, longer articles like my one covering tomatoes a complete guide rank on the second page for some terms. But had I written a separate hub about some sub-topics in there, it would rank a lot higher.

  7. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image85
    Wesman Todd Shawposted 4 years ago

    I try to not go far past three thousand words. In the past I did some things where there were five thousand or so words, and though the subject and presentation may have been the issue, it seemed to me the page was just too long for the common internet reader.

    I truly believe the internet reader has a short attention span. They want their question answered, and quickly.

  8. tajwershakir profile image70
    tajwershakirposted 4 years ago

    Natalie I totally agree with your point. This is incomprehensible to me as well. As I have observed too that some people only write short articles and earning more here and upon the topics that give an impression as if they are running a small business of their own with those articles. Although hub policy doesn't seem to support this. But I have got the same query as yours too.

  9. Susana S profile image94
    Susana Sposted 4 years ago

    I usually see how much content other web pages on the topic contain and then make sure I write more.

    I usually aim to create "the best page on the web" for a particular phrase/topic and that normally means more words.

    Not always - sometimes it's a case of simplifying a difficult topic for the layperson.

    1. lobobrandon profile image89
      lobobrandonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      True, that's what I do too and it's the best thing for my readers and therefore Google. It is something I explained extensively in my Hubpages SEO guide as well, where I research the top 20 results for my main terms.

    2. Natalie Frank profile image94
      Natalie Frankposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Great point and idea.  I haven't thought of doing that it's a great strategy.  Thanks.

  10. psycheskinner profile image84
    psycheskinnerposted 4 years ago

    I don't aim for a particular length and have never had any more of an issue QAPing articles over or under the 'preferred' length.

  11. janshares profile image94
    jansharesposted 4 years ago

    Natalie, in my experience, it has less to do with length and more to do with what readers want or need from particular topics. Like another hubber said, it depends on how long it needs to be. I never think about length when I'm writing. I periodically look at the word count in the left hand bottom corner of the Word doc just to see where I am. The count increases fast when I'm focused on what I need to write.

    FYI, I checked a couple of stats on my articles. One article in my top six trafficked (Marriage ending) only has 811 words. One of my least trafficked (Police trauma) has a colossal 2,900+. It gets 0 traffic most days. So, in my opinion, it really doesn't matter. It's about content and demand.

    Edit: I did think about length when I covered a topic which included a poem. Those are risky because they may not pass QAP if I categorize it under a topic of other than Literature/Poetry. I sometimes add text to a poem hub when I wanted it on a HubPages category. That does not work as much anymore with niche sites. If there's a poem in there, most of the time it's going to LetterPile. So, length does play a role, as well as topic, when trying to publish an informational article that includes poetry. (Again, in my experience.)


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