I understand why HB likes longer articles, and on some subjects it's easy to reach 700, 800, or more words. Sometimes though, I say everything I want to say on a topic and I'm done at between 450 and 600 words. Trying to add more text to reach the recommended minimum of 700 makes the hub look... idk... "forced" for lack of a better term. What do you guys think of shorter Hubs (I'm not talking sales Hubs). Can a shorter Hub be informative or interesting enough? As long as they get the point across, is your opinion of shorter Hubs good or bad (or indifferent)? Can they do OK in search engine results? Thanks.
The question is not if we think it's acceptable, it's whether or not Google thinks it is acceptable. We depend on traffic sent from Google and Google favors longer articles, at least 1,000 words.
If you are having difficulty writing longer articles, try broadening your topic instead of writing on just one small aspect of your topic.
Sometimes 700 words is adequate. For instance I wrote a math article a few years ago that now has almost half a million views. That article originally had less than 700 words and most of the traffic, over 1000 views per day for a few months, occurred within the first year of publishing. Currently it only has 775 words, but as you say, adding to an article can make it seem forced and overly fussy. I've asked Google several times for a response about this and whether such guides really need to have fresh content content added, but they never respond.
It depends on how you define "acceptable." HP likes longer pieces because Google likes longer pieces. Google likes longer pieces because it favors keyword density.
If you write on a topic where there is not much strong competition from other articles, it can still rank okay, despite being short. I suspect that Eugene's maths article is an example of this, as maths is not generally a commercially competitive field online.
However, if there's a lot of competition from others, a short article will likely struggle to be noticed and not get much traffic.
HP sees traffic levels as a factor when it decides what it publishes/features in the niches.
There are times a pithy article will do better. Like providing an IT help solution where the user would prefer you to get to the point quickly.
The length of an article or blog post is not always the most crucial determinant of its quality or success. While larger articles can provide more in-depth information and insight, shorter pieces that are well-written and to the point can also be useful.
The length of an article is simply one of several aspects that can influence its ranking in search results when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). Other things to consider are keyword relevancy, backlinks, and user engagement. While a lengthier article may offer more opportunity to include keywords and links, a shorter article can still rank well if it is well-written and delivers useful information to the reader.
Ultimately, regardless of length, the goal should be to provide high-quality material that is interesting and useful. It's fine if you feel you've said everything you want to say about a topic and are finished between 450 and 600 words. It is more vital to concentrate on providing high-quality material that is clear, concise, and concise. If you can accomplish it with a shorter article, there's no reason it can't be a success.
While not exactly wrong, the above comment is misleading, in my opinion. (I'm not sure where it's from? AI? Copied and pasted?)
The point is that your chances of getting a high search engine ranking with a 450-word HP article are much lower than if the article is 1450 words long, assuming it's chasing a reasonably competitive keyword.
That's why HP recommends articles are *at least* 700 words long.
For sure, backlinks and reader engagement are important, but those things just won't happen if the article spends its entire life on page twenty of Google search results, because nobody will see it.
And yes, the word length is not the be-all and end-all. It has to consist of relevant keywords to be helpful.
500 to 800 words are the minimum in the past. These days, it's 1500 words. Getting the article feature with rich content, for the reader and search friendly should be a primary consideration.
Shorter articles can still be informative and interesting as long as they provide value to the reader. The recommended 700 word length for HubPages is a guideline, not a rule. Focus on creating high-quality content that provides real value, regardless of length. This is what will determine success, not the length of the article.
This account has been active for 40 hours and you've published five articles. They all look like ChatGPT text.
You should edit them to make them read like you wrote them yourself.
The profile says "making even complex subjects easy to understand." Those are the exact words that ChatGPT used too when I asked it to write a profile about me on Hubpages. Plus it mixed me up with another Eugene Brennan who is an academic in Paris writing about politics. It also gave an incorrect year for when I joined here and said that I was given the Hubber of the Year Award in 2012.
Yes, there are a few AI-generated comments that have appeared recently in the forums. They don't have the colloquial feel and voice that people use normally in the forums. They have the detached voice of an old school textbook.
Maybe some people think that copying AI stuff into the forums will give them some credibility for getting featured. Or maybe they think that it will improve their hubber score and that will help them?
I was going to start a forum discussion about it... This may well become the new normal, not just submitted articles but also forum comments will become increasingly AI-generated...
And yeah, some of the info is bad, archaic, or misleading...
"And yeah, some of the info is bad, archaic, or misleading..." -- Yes, I hate that.
In reference to the main theme of this thread, here is what Matt Southern, staff writer at Search Engine Journal, says about that:
“Short content is not automatically viewed as thin content. Google does not assess the value of content based on length alone.
Long articles run an equal risk of being viewed as thin content if they’re full of spam, or if they don’t contribute anything unique to the web.”
Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/goo … es/396645/
This makes sense. Fluff copy is not viable. Fewer adjectives, the better.
Yes it does make sense. So I wonder are those articles I wrote about converting numeric bases safe then? I struggle to add anything extra of use each year. Also I've probably added extra content to other ones that were already stuffed, and probably degraded then. That's why I mentioned in another post that I've started to strip articles and make them shorter and move the content to create new guides. Whatever about Google, long wordy guides I guess turn off readers.
Glenn - For sure if you're talking about bad content (e.g. spammy, stuffed, or thin), then I agree that it doesn't matter if it's short or long, it's going to do badly.
However, a long article with lots of relevant keyword-rich subtitles and content, if done properly, will usually always beat the article in the SERPS that tries to so the same thing in 200 words.
I do think HP are right on this that you should aim for both quality AND length if you want to be successful with the search engines.
As for expanding articles with relevant info, which others have talked of. I think that if the article is doing well with the primary keyword, then you add sections that chase related keywords.
If your article is doing badly, then maybe you should work harder to chase your primary keyword. I'll admit that expansion in this case might not work. It's a much more difficult issue as there can be a whole host of potential causes for failure.
I think it's always important to remember that Google doesn't possess the human idea of "relevance", it sees it all through the prism of keywords. What the writer believes to be relevant may be irrelevant to the search engines and vice versa.
A lot of misunderstanding arises, I think because writers naturally interpret concepts like "relevance" and "thin content" in a purely human way.
That's my two cents worth, anyway.
Paul, You presented an excellent rebuttal to what Matt Southern said. And everything you said makes sense.
One thing you said stands out as most crucial... “What the writer believes to be relevant may be irrelevant to the search engines and vice versa.
I would change that slightly by saying it may be irrelevant to the reader. I often research my older articles by examining the way readers behave. GA shows us much data that is useful to see what readers engage with and why they leave too early. I determine that from the keywords they use in their search and the duration of engagement.
From that data and my review of the results I often discover that I failed at giving them what they expected from my title. And that had nothing to do with the length of the article, but instead, with the presentation of the content. So I rework the content to better match the title. Or in some cases I change the title too.
Sometimes, I find that I didn’t give the reader what they wanted soon enough, but that it was there farther down. So I update by moving capsules around to give the reader instant gratification. Once they are satisfied the article is focused on the title, they may tend to keep reading because they feel the article is relevant.
So, to your point, we need to be sure our content is relevant to the reader. And we know what the reader wants because it’s based on the title and the summary that might appear in the SERPs. So when we have an article that is not doing well, the first two things to examine are the title and the summary to see how we can improve that.
I think as the thread is about article length, I was assuming that was the specific variant under discussion.
I don't disagree that things like the title and reader engagement level are important. However, all things equal in quality and SEO terms, a 1,200 word article will in the vast majority of cases beat a 200 word one.
Ten years ago, it was possible to write an article of 400-500 words and still rank well when chasing a competitive keyword. That rarely happens nowadays as the competition is so ferocious.
My more philosophical point was the human idea of "relevance" relies on consciousness and thought and has a large degree of subjectivity. The Google version is essentially rooted around feeding specific keywords into a mathematical equation.
Making an article "relevant" can therefore rely heavily on consulting a keyword tool and then making sure that Google sees them.
For sure, that's an oversimplification, there are obviously more factors. But in my experience, you always have to feed the machine if you want readers to see your work, otherwise, the article will reside on page 23 of the SERPS and no reader will even see it, never mind react to it.
It's just almost impossible to get the necessary keyword density into a short article to satisfy Google that the article's "relevant".
You mention main titles as being important. I agree. But subtitles are also important and a longer article can feature more subtitles. That's just one practical example of how I'd say that longer articles present more keyword/SEO opportunities for the online writer and why they have greater potential in the SERPs.
When I used to go to writing classes in the pre-internet days, we were always encouraged to put ourselves inside the mind of the reader. Some people find that difficult.
However, nowadays we also have to try and think like a piece of software/mathematical equation, which is perhaps even more challenging.
Paul, Based on my experience with my various articles, I agree that longer articles tend to do better. But it’s crucial that they are not spammy or contain useless information with content that runs off on tangents.
I see many articles by other authors that talk about things not directly related to the title, and they lose me in a short time.
As long as a lengthy article gets to the point expressed by the title quickly and continues going deeper into the related subject, I believe readers will remain engaged.
I like your philosophical way of explaining it with requiring relevance to readers’ conscious thoughts. At least, that’s what I inferred from your explanation. That’s a powerful way to get higher up in the SERPs.
True, Subtitles are just as important. I didn’t mean to leave that out. They are useful for readers who like to scan.
Thanks, Glenn and Paul, for giving these detailed explanations.
@Glenn, you mentioned that title and summary are the first two things that should be improved. Adding to this, does an author's qualification also play some part in the rankings? For instance, a physicist's article on particle accelerators would carry more weightage in the rankings compared to someone else writing on the same topic.
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