There’s been a lot written about longer pages attracting more traffic to your content. And, yes, I know that the idea of a lot being written means the whole thing could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Recently, I read a forum post where someone had analysed the relationship between longer web pages and where they showed in the results. Unlike some other studies I’d read before, this one used some basic math to figure out the relationship and also included results where the pages were similar in size.
As you’d probably expect, similar pages couldn’t be differentiated by word count because there wasn’t a difference in the first place. Which means that other factors would have come into play to figure out the order.
But all other things being equal, longer pages seem to help nudge your site higher up the results.
Until I read that post, I hadn’t always been practicing what I teach.
I’d been saying one thing – go for 2,000 words and more – and doing another – most of my recent posts here have been in the region of 800 to 1,000 words.
Chances are this post will be in that same range.
But for my niche sites, I’m going to go for a lower number of new pages but with more content on each of those pages.
I’ve known it makes sense for a long time, just not taken the plunge and written or bought longer content.
The site I use to get content written is iWriter.
You’ll find mixed reviews on the web about them but that’s down to a number of factors:
- They’ve got lots of writers. So unless you’ve got a list of writers you’ve used with them in the past it can be hit-and-miss who writes any given article.
- Their star ratings aren’t perfect. That applies to any outsourcing site but in the case of writers, even more so. You have to give a rating after you accept the article and there are systems in place to stop you copying the article before you’ve accepted it, so it tends to be a quick skim rather than a full read. And different people have different standards. But it’s a reasonable guide.
- Article length can affect quality. The shortest article you can order is 150 words. The longest currently is 4,000 words (ebooks can be longer). There’s a world of difference between writing a short article and a long one but the scoring system doesn’t (can’t?) take that into account.
- Subject matter can vary. For one article I just had written in the self help niche, they’d previously written about television stars, baby strollers, weight loss products, fitness training and the Paleo diet. Plus lots more before – iWriter only shows you a few recent topics.
- Different standards – everyone is different and people commissioning articles will have differing needs and standards. But as a general rule don’t expect in-depth knowledge, especially at the lower price end of the scale.
That said, I like the turnaround time and generally the first draft quality.
Turnaround is usually measured in hours. I think the longest time it’s taken has been under a day and that was when a couple of writers gave up (the site gives them a set amount of time to write, after which the article goes back in the available pool if it’s not been uploaded) and another wrote utter garbage.
But most of the time I can get an article back in a few hours and can put it live on a site soon after that.
I tend to use the articles I get back as a first draft. I’ll edit them before making them live – a bit like you’d edit PLR (private label rights) articles except that you don’t have to completely re-write the articles you get back from iWriter whereas with PLR you’d need to do that to make them unique. Re-writing is more skilled (iWriter charge more for re-writes than for basic writing so that should give you a clue) but just tweaking grammar and the words used is a lot easier – it takes me a handful of minutes to adjust the article before it goes live on my sites.
Incidentally, I don’t use iWriter on this site.
All the words are mine.
There are several different pricing and quality options on iWriter.
I tend to use the lowest quality and the word count requested as the filter to get rid of the really poor writers.
Because there’s the option to reject the article that’s been written, I find that the lower quality writers tend to stay away from writing 700 word and upwards articles. Too much risk when they know deep down that they’re not writing particularly well.
On top of that, I’ll add in a few extra instructions to help get a better quality article:
- Please don’t write in the third person (“one” etc.)
- Please make the style several bullet points/tips (5 or 7 works well).
- Please make sure your work is split into paragraphs, not just one long article.
- Please don’t over-do the keyword density – just write naturally.
Then it’s a waiting game.
But most of the time, the content I get back is good enough to use with just a short amount of time spent editing.
Then it’s a waiting game to see whether the search engines reward the longer content with more traffic. That’s something that’s only known to their ever-changing computer algorithms but personally I think there’s a good chance that it will happen enough of the time to make longer pages worth the time, money and effort.