Does a web page have to have long form content to give useful answers to a query?
Not always, no. For example, what if you are searching for the name of a CEO of a company. Do you need to know her life story, when a name is all that you are after?
I’m personally very fond of a long form page of content. The creation of a page of flowing, useful text is a thing of beauty, as is the reading of such a page – if it’s useful, of course. But if I need a bite-sized piece of information – such as a name as in the example above – then the shorter, the better.
But hang on…many SEOs say that you will be punished by Google for having short ‘stub’ pages, and be punished for the lack of time on a page, if Google Analytics is enabled on the site. This has always flummoxed me. Why would Google punish a website for giving a direct answer to a question? Should a page be punished for giving the correct answer to a query, and that user makes a call to the phone number on the site within a few seconds of it loading?
The Locksmith Small Content and Short Web Page View Time Example
If someone is locked out of their home, searches for ‘[insert tiny village here] locksmith’, and is greeted with the only locksmith in that tiny village…and then calls the phone number on the page within 20 seconds…and during that call, closes down the browser window…should that web page be punished? It has done exactly what the user wanted, and Google has delivered a great user experience, has it not?
Google is way too clever to do something as stupid as ‘punishing’ a site for such a thing – yet many-an-SEO will say that this is something that will see a site devalued in some way. Like many SEO ‘Chinese whispers’, it has become the suggestion of many that this would be a bad thing to have (a short-time visit and then closure of the browser). Google Analytics would see that only a short time was spent on the page, therefore Google would punish the page/site. Really?
Google has thousands of brilliantly-brained staff, so why would these brilliant brains come to such a suggestion?
Don’t Confuse Useful with Shortcuts
Don’t mix the creation of useless stub pages that fit very little purpose, with short pages that contain direct, useful information. If you only have a short piece of news to share, such as the sale of one of your products to a customer, then short is fine. But, if you create 500 pages of naff copy for various products that you sell, that IS something to be concerned about, and a new strategy should be sought out and implemented.
The amount of bad decisions made by website owners through reading ignorant and/or scaremongering blog and forum posts is substantial, which leads to many website owners that make purely common sense decisions, winning over and over again. In much of the web, sites NOT adopting SEO tactics beat SEO tactics based on half-understood tactics!