This is a subjective matter that is still being tossed about among content builders. However, the easy answer is that anything less than 250 is vapid and shallow, while anything over 500 may cause loss of interest with a few exceptions. The ideal size is 350 to 500, as long as the article is packed with helpful information and not filled with “fluff”.
For Short and Sweet Articles
Okay, so tiny 200 word write ups aren’t really articles—they’re blurbs, and that’s not usually a problem. Anything less than roughly 200 words (say 50 to 200) should be relegated to product descriptions and minor pages like the “contact us” page. With the exception of bio-blurbs, picture descriptions, and social media blasts, anything less than 300 isn’t really saying much. Relegate this word count to quoted content if you have to do it at all.
The Ideal Article
This article grabs the attention of readers and gets to the point quickly. For this purpose it is generally 350 to 450 words. It has something to say and finishes off with a call to action. It is ideal for most forms of SEO content, most product descriptions, most blog posts, and nearly all press releases and articles used for marketing. You need just enough words to make a point before losing reader interest and preventing them from performing some action—namely backing out of your site.
The Extended Article
Very little content needs to be drawn out to this size. In-fact, most how-to’s and other forms of SEO content that gives a reader quality will fall under the second subheading. However, the 450 to 800 word size range is great for explaining complicated subject matter, longer, in-detail posts that are packed with information a reader needs, and for research reports. Sometimes press releases for SEO purposes are okay at this size, as long as these stories provide the reader with genuine value and are not going on and on just for the sake of filling out a page.
The Research Report
Anything from 850 to 2,500 words is best left for a research report, white paper, PDF file, mini-eBook, or some other form of major reporting. This is especially true when it comes to SEO articles. For most topics, it would be better if they were broken up into a series with clear introductions and conclusions that also referenced the preceding and following articles along with links to the series.
Certainly, anything worth saying in more than 5,000 words of intense information packed content should be published into a report, eBook, or manual. In fact, while you are at it, extend the information you provide and create yourself a book to use for both income and site marketing purposes.
SEO content that is directed at garnering readership from a real live audience should be short, sweet, and to the point, but still long enough to say something meaningful and provide value to the reader. It should not be keyword stuffed or contain fluff. So, start with something that grabs reader attention, provide them something of substance in the middle, and end with something that makes them want to take action!