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How much of an online article do you usually read? If you’re like most people, you might glance at the first couple of lines or a brief paragraph before going to something else. Do you tend to continue reading when the article is very long and detailed or do you prefer the shorter articles that you can skim within a minute or two?
Despite the fact that they have short attention spans themselves, many website creators fill the pages of their site with tons of words in an attempt to improve search engine optimization or SEO results. This often results in long, awkward articles that are aimed at pleasing the Google robot.
How can we fix this problem?
When creating content for your website, you will usually discover that less is more. This is because of two things.
Number one is the average reader’s attention span. In a Slate editorial written by Farhad Manjoo, it was revealed that the majority of visitors to your site do not bother to read the complete article. According to Farhad, almost 40 percent of visitors read only the first sentence. Another 50 percent stopped reading after about 200 words or less. Therefore, it is important to keep your articles short and to the point.
Secondly, you need to write good content. Being able to communicate well with your visitors and clients means that you need to use simple English that is written with brief sentences, plain structure and basic words. If you create long messages with awkward keyword phrases thrown in, your readers will be unlikely to fully comprehend them.
This is even more important if you intend to communicate to a global audience. By using a plain, straightforward writing style, people who are not native English speakers will be able comprehend it better.
One of the issues many internet marketers have is that good on-page SEO usually requires the use of hundreds of words that make use of the intended keyword. The question becomes, how are you supposed to accomplish this without making your article too long or hard for readers to comprehend?
To start off, you should think about how many words you really need. Are you really more concerned with SEO than getting your message across to the people who visit your site?
Split the article into short parts. The first paragraph should very briefly summarize what your overall message is. This will ensure that even people who don’t bother to scroll down know what your site is about. Try placing some of the text in the sidebar so that the article appears to be even shorter. Any awkward phrases or ke
ywords can be placed in your heading, tags or captions. This will keep them from disrupting your concise message.
Most importantly, you need to make sure your content is worth reading. People are more willing to read a long article if they find it interesting. Novels are a prime example that many people will choose to read something lengthy as long as it is written well.
There are many different devices that people use to access the internet. Because of this, a paragraph that looks short on your computer screen might appear to be extremely long when viewed on a smart phone. Alternatively, text that has been optimized for smartphone visitors may look disordered to a computer user.
Even in the age of smartphones, it is important to consider your audience. People who live in developing countries will not have the advanced devices that people in the west may have. Find out what device is most commonly used to access your site and optimize the text to look the best for that device.
Whenever you can, keep your text brief, straightforward and use plain words. If you are unable to do this, at least find ways to make the text more enjoyable and easy to read. This will make it more likely that visitors will read what you have to say.
What a good news that is based on a research? Bill Belew reported that short-form, interesting articles posted several times a day drive more traffic compared to long-form content posted once a day. Go figure.
License: Creative Commons image source
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