Short vs Long Articles?

I have been thinking about the length of articles lately, to be more exact should I focus on writing short and very focused articles or long and very detailed articles for my websites?

The short articles I can get cranked out a lot faster than the long and thorough articles, which is obvious. On the average a short article, which would consist of a few paragraphs would take me about somewhere between 1-3 hours to get ready to published – I am not a wordsmith1. While a long article depending upon how technical or elaborate the topic is, it could easily take a few months to get even remotely ready to be published (being a perfectionist sucks).

The better question is “Quality vs Quantity,” is it better to have several articles that are laser focused on a short and easy topic that can be pumped out as fast as water or a few articles a year that are very detailed and thoroughly researched – better?

I know that visitors don’t actually read articles, they scan. That’s way you seen nice big headings, bullet lists, bold and italics (and other formal writing violations) in most articles on the web. I know if you don’t grab the visitor’s attention within the first 3 seconds of landing on your site you have lost them. It’s similar in public speaking, if you don’t draw your audience in the first few minutes or sentences, the audience with just tune out and your message is lost.

So far one would say go with short articles, but there is another side to this story, the elephant in the room which is Google. I know your saying ‘What does Google have to do with this?’ – well, if you want your content to be found by other people; you need to think about how they will find it. In most people’s cases, you want your content to be found via Google, the most popular search engine (at the time of this writing).

What I’m actually referring to is ‘Search Engine Optimization’ or SEO, which is the technique to boost a website or webpage in a search engine’s results. The reason I mention this is that Google considers the length of an article in its algorithm, thus in turn determining that article’s relevance and position in the search results. According to Google, good articles should be 500+ words in length. To give you an idea of how long a 500 word article is, think of a 3-4 pages double space word document – that is about 500 words. There is a lot of topics and posts you couldn’t write 500 word about, even if you tried (without repeating your self that is).

I think the best idea is to just write and get something out there. Don’t worry about the length of the article or what Google thinks.

The spread of ideas and knowledge is a better objective.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone to write your website’s content just for Google, that’s a losing game.

Also, anyone that found this article looking for SEO tips, I’m sorry. Look at Yoast site for white-hat SEO Tips and Tricks.

For anyone that is curious, this article is: 537 Words in Length.
* Reasons behind this is an entire article in itself.