There’s a very interesting conversation taking place inside Warrior Forum discussing the “right” length for an article being used for article marketing purposes.

The thread started with the original poster sharing a link to a pdf put online by EzineArticles.com. Inside the pdf, the staff at EzineArticles wrote:

A 500-Word Article Will Always Outperform A 1000-Word Article?

That statement has caused quite a bit of debate by others in the thread. Is a 500-word article better than a 1000-word article? Or is that nonsense?

With all the crazy updates from Google lately and all the stress put on quality content — wouldn’t that mean that a longer article is better than a shorter article?

At the end, I believe it comes down to this question:

Outperforms How?

Does that mean:

  • More click-throughs on your links in your author bio box?
  • More views?
  • Better rankings in Google?
  • More syndication of said article on other sites?
  • All of the above?

Article marketing is a very popular tactic for those doing affiliate marketing online. It’s a great way to get more exposure, more back links, and hopefully, more sales.

I am a firm believer that there isn’t a “right” length for all articles. To me, you write what is needed to cover the topic of the article. If that takes 400 words, then that is the right length for that article.

If it’s a more involved topic, the “right” length might be 2000 words, or heck, even 3000 words or longer.

As a searcher, I know how “involved” my question is and about how long I should expect the answer to be. As a provider of information online, shouldn’t my first goal be to answer the query to the best of my best ability, regardless of article length?

And that brings up article syndication — a very powerful performance metric for article marketers.

Syndication basically means that other sites republish your article (and bio box) on their site. This is absolutely within EzineArticles’ terms of service. In fact, it’s why the site was created in the first place: to offer site owners a place to get free and relevant content for their sites. In exchange for that content, the author got their bio box and links on that particular owners site, as well.

Free content for the site owner and more-targeted exposure for the author. Win/win.

In this case, I would think longer articles would outperform shorter articles. As mentioned previously, there is a lot of talk about longer articles being favored by Google. As a site owner, I believe I would be more inclined to put a longer article on my site when choosing between a short article and a longer one.

Would you choose the longer article? Why… or why not?

I absolutely agree that we are “writing for a medium that embraces instant gratification,” but are articles with fewer words the solution to providing that gratification to our readers and getting the performance from our articles that we want?

Is There A “Right” Length Or Word Count Of An Article?

I’d love to hear your feedback on this. What are your thoughts?

Feel free to share in the comments area.

 

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Affiliate Marketing | Affiliate Marketing Column | Channel: Content Marketing

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About The Author: aka "PotPieGirl" is most known as an affiliate marketer who went from zero to six-figures a year starting with all free methods (like she teaches at OneWeekMarketing.com).




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  • Keith Veseleny

    Short articles do better now… but sooner or later the tide will turn… nothing is more frustrating than clicking on “25 best widget tips” only to find an article that is 500 words long and therefore has ZERO nutritional value… Another issue for short pieces is that the newer syndication readers will give away your entire article. You won’t even know anyone read it…

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Long articles have always done well and will always do well — unless they’re just “long articles”, in which case, they’ll do as poorly as short articles.

    Short articles have always done well and will always do well — unless they’re just “short articles”, in which case, they’ll do as poorly as long articles.

    You’ll never get people to wise up to this. NEVER.

  • Christina Zila

    SEOmoz just did some major research on this issue, and they found that articles longer than 1,200 words got the most social juice. If we extrapolate that to traffic and aid in rank, it makes sense to have long articles – but only if the subject warrants it.

  • Arnie Kuenn

    Seriously? Doesn’t the readers’ intent matter? If they are seeking a quick answer to a question, then 10 words might be the best. If they are researching a specific subject then 2,000 words might be the best. There are so many variables involved that it is silly to try to establish a simple metric like the right length for an article. As Michael said “one size does not fit all”… intent married to a quality response is what matters.

  • http://twitter.com/JennInfoStreet Jenn Hutchison

    I tend to steer away from longer articles both as a reader and a content writer. Often the longer an article goes, the more it becomes bogged down, often by itself! And in a world where Twitter is a major social media outlet, then the more concise something can be, the more our attention span is held. Of course that all being said, I find that sometimes an article only 200 words long is not enough, especially if it’s good writing and I want to see more! Or if the question goes unanswered. I suppose it depends then really on what the writer is comfortable with. If you prefer to write longer articles, write them. If you can wrap everything up with a nice bow on top in a few hundred words, then more power to you!

  • http://twitter.com/AndreeaC_T Andreea Cojocariu

    I think it depends on the subject. From an SEO perspective, articles under 400 words will get rejected. Link placement within articles is also an issue. Writers should most definitely keep in mind readers’ intent. Use the funnel model (most important information first and then the details) because the reality is that most readers scan articles. Very rarely do they read the entire article. I advise my clients (and practice this myself) to keep articles short– 400 words, max 500.

  • http://twitter.com/Dating_Advicee Dating Xpert

    I have learned from my experience that a long article works better than a short article. But make sure that long article has interesting stuff and readers don’t have to read another article to get the information they are looking for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.moriarity Dan Moriarity

    I’ve found that longer articles tend to do better on my blog. It’s tough to really provide any depth to a 500 word article.

  • http://www.theSEONewsBlog.com/ PatMarcello

    Long articles have their place, and I recently read an article (wish I could remember where) that said the “best performing” articles were 1,350 words or more. So, here’s what I think: An article should be as long as it needs to be, but not under 350 words.

  • http://www.facebook.com/philip.frommholz Philip Frommholz

    I think 300 to 500 words is about the maximum unless it is trully an instructional piece. Most should be single issue articles that offer suggestions of what to do or how to do it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/teresha Teresha Aird

    I would have to agree that it totally depends on the topic and readership as well as the goal of the article. As wtih any type of content marketing: know who you are speaking to, what they tend to read, how much time they have, how they behave with respect to online content and then gear the length as well as the layout towards them. I honestly have to say that sometimes for a “how to” article I’d much rather read a short article with a bullet point layout than a 3000 word thesis. But for an indepth look at a new product or a serious discussion about a moral issue the article should be long or perhaps broken up into several parts so there is still a lot meat but it’s more digestible.

  • ChrisRJones

    Isn’t it simple really? Make the article as long as it takes to get your point across!

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    I don’t feel like there is every a “right” amount of words that will ensure a piece of content does well. It all boils down to where that content is being published and who the intended audience is. Longer content still does have it’s place and can do very well with readers as long as it is worth their time.

  • Judy Helm Wright

    Hello from Montana, As a prolific writer (but not organizer) it is easier to write a 600-1000 word article than to remember if I discussed this portion or made that point in shorter ones.

    In writing for Your Tango, they want articles of about 750 words. But you lose the reader if they have to click to a new page.

    I love the way you ask for comments. Thanks for sharing.
    Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke”

  • http://www.facebook.com/rocky.ahmed.5817 Rocky Ahmed
  • http://twitter.com/Stephen_Parkin Stephen Parkin

    I think your arguments are sound and well reasoned. The right length is the length at which you feel you have made the points that needed to be made. This is not set in stone and it is impossible to tell someone that 400 to 1,000 words is optimum. This is why I am using Ezine less and Street Articles more. SA gets me more views and traffic than Ezine, despite of the latters use of syndication.

 

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