Length of Article Title Research

Under a variation in my name, “C. Michael Knight” — I created 2 niche articles about a 1973 Trans Am hobby website and posted them on EzineArticles about 90 days ago (May 15th, 2006).

Article Marketing Research Conclusion: A Longer article title resulted in a 56% higher distribution and a 147% higher actual qualified visitors referred over a shorter article title article on the same topic.

The 2 articles being evaluated in this research:

Article 1 (1973 Trans Am – Pontiac’s 455 Super Duty)

Article 2 (73 Trans Am – Pontiac’s Screaming Chicken and Its Shaker Scoop)

The Search Engine Inclusion Analysis:

Article #1 when searched for came back with 4 inclusions in Google, 105 in Yahoo and 18 in MSN for a total top 3 search engine inclusion score of 127.

VS.

Article #2 when searched for came back with 73 inclusions in Google, 560 in Yahoo of which I believe 82 are real because of Yahoo’s handling of the apostrophe in the title, and 301 inclusions in MSN (of which I believe 44 is a more accurate representation if MSN’s algo’s are similar to Yahoo’s in terms of the apostrophe variance). Total top 3 search engine inclusion score of 199.

Article #2 outperformed Article #1 by 72 more inclusions (56% better).

Yes, I know that this isn’t a fair metric as I’m only evaluating 2 articles (hardly statistically accurate) in 3 search engines. Work with me people. :)

Going back to May 15th of this year when I posted these two articles, I didn’t do them for this research test as I just wanted to put 2 articles out there to help me find a very rare muscle car that I’d like to buy some day.

The longer article title out-pulling the shorter article title did not surprise me… but the fact that in the greater majority of the daily notifications that I receive from new inclusions of my 2 articles are of authority sites and not non-relevant non-authority sites is very encouraging.

An “authority site” is any site that reprints my articles that only contains articles or topics that are near identical to that of mine. The narrower the focus, the more authoritative the reprint value becomes to me because I know that the result will be traffic from a very qualified visitor.

Lastly, something else surprised me:

Even though the longer length Article #2 outperformed Article #1 in terms of search engine inclusion metrics by 56%, Article #1 has 1,023 page views vs. Article #2’s 307 page views on EzineArticles.com alone, a difference of 233%! Confused yet?

To see what’s really important, I then moved to look at my July 2006 total web stats to see which article (1 or 2) from all of the syndicated reprints produced the most referrals. 42 referrals for article #2 vs. 17 referrals for article #1. Article #2 outperforms article #1 by 147% in terms of ability to drive traffic to the website.

Net result: Even though the shorter length title on EzineArticles.com outperformed the longer title, the longer title article still attracted a higher distribution (56% more) and a higher actual traffic referred power (147% more).

Are you convinced yet about the traffic attraction power of extending the length of your article titles?

29 Comments »


1
Jen C writes:

This is interesting information Chris – it confirms something I noticed about one of my own articles with a really long and comparatively unattractive title – but that attracted loads of visitors. Reckon I’ll try it out on a few more of my own articles and see how it works for me!

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 3:16 PM

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2
Jan Smith writes:

Hi Chris,
I didn’t know about this so thanks for the info. From now on I won’t try so hard to shorten the titles of my articles but will endeavour to include as much info in the title as each subject deserves.

Thanks again,
Jan

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 3:20 PM

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3
Mike Ralph writes:

Personally, I think that writing an article that is informative and not the usual regurgitated rubbish that fills these scraper sites that is the key. In order to do it is generally required to write more which naturally extends the length of your article.

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 3:33 PM

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4
Nan Wood writes:

thanks for this valuable information Chris. I’m looking for ways to get more traffic to my sites. The more the articles are read, the better my chances of gaining traffic.

I will try this. nancy

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 4:15 PM

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5
Jeanette Cates writes:

Chris

Excellent article! I’d love to refer to or reprint on my blog. Somewhere we can get this one?

Jeanette

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 4:28 PM

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6
Carla writes:

Wow, I thought it was the opposite, the shorter the best.
Thank you for the info, I will have this in mind for my next article to see the difference.

Carla

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 4:35 PM

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7
Jon Symons writes:

In the article you mentioned:

“daily notifications that I receive from new inclusions of my 2 articles”

Granted I’m a rookie author on your site, but when I search for my article it has definitely been published and I have yet to receive a notification.

Is there a setting that I need to enable to receive these?

Thanks a lot,

Jon

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 5:20 PM

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8

Jon Symons,

I use both the Google search services and a 3rd party service based on Google called: http://www.googlealert.com/

Jeanette,

You’re welcome to refer to this blog entry as I didn’t intend for this information to be put into full article syndication. If you’d like to grab the top 20% of this blog entry for an article summary, have at it along with a link to the full story…

I’m also thinking about finding a way to add a new form of trackbacks on each of our blog entries that would recognize and then link to those who discuss any of our blog entries… Probably a month out before we find a way to do that without having to address trackbacks spammers.

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 6:02 PM

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9
Rascal writes:

AWESOME Info, Chris :)

Thank you!

~Rub-it “Chris Knight Comes Through Again”~

Rascal :))

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 9:52 PM

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10
Michael writes:

It might be worth considering that “Screaming Chicken” and “Shaker Scoop” are far sexier and inticing phrases thatn “455 Super Duty” regardless legnth.

Just a thought…

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 10:20 PM

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11
Takuya Hikichi writes:

Chris,

Thank you for this excellent case study. I would like to see more similar to this one again.

Takuya

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 10:33 PM

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12
Dave Saunders writes:

I’d be curious to see if any of the “headline formulas” are penalized for inclusion. Some of the “who else wants to…” seem over done at times…is this the perception of someone with too many swipe files or do other site filter for this sort of thing when they’re including articles?

Comment provided August 23, 2006 at 11:35 PM

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13
LeeRose writes:

Very useful knowledge about article titling. I think there must be two prime reasons the longer title is more successful:

(1) More keywords and meaningful key-phrases for search engines to see as they crawl article category pages.

(2) Easier for article moderators and webmasters to quickly get the topic of the article without reading the whole article, and thus include it faster than a less descriptive title.

Any comments on that anyone?

Rose
China Wholesale Electronics
http://www.chinavasion.com

Comment provided August 24, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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14
SK WONG writes:

Thanks Chris,

That’s a useful tip and I will surely keep that in mind. After reading your article, I log into my page and analyse those articles I written, among those submitted with the same period, the longer title “seemed” to have higher page view. It is still too early to tell but sureis a very useful information.

Will keep that in mind for my future articles.

Regards,

SK

Comment provided August 24, 2006 at 12:21 AM

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15
Lance Winslow writes:

I have thoroughly reviewed all this data and I have NO COMMENT. All I can say is that I agree with what Chris is saying and I know since all the rest is also about luck, the more articles I write the more Lucky I am. 2.3 MILLION Article views, 40,000 Ezine Pickups. So much traffic I had to turn off my Byline, because it was crashing my server too often. Think on this in 2006.

Comment provided August 24, 2006 at 4:06 AM

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16
Lance Winslow writes:

Whoops! I made a mistake; here are my actual Stats; Page Views: Your articles have resulted in 2,297,897 page views. Published: 50,957 times the EzinePublisher link has been followed for your articles.

I guess my estimation of Publisher pick-ups was off by only 10,957; I simply estimated my stats a little on the low side? It is truly amazing what can be accomplished with a little help from your friends; at EzineArticles.com and to that point on average I have noticed that my articles on other peoples sites who take them from EzineArticles average about 150-330 or so article views. So if you take 150-350 and multiply it by 50,957 well that is more than most calculators go up too. Meaning my articles have been read by massive amounts of people. And how many of those sites have given my articles away on top of that? Lets just say my 2.3 Million articles views here and the 17 plus million from here to other sites and from those sites carried forward could be upwards of 50,000,000 or all the people who live in CA, OR, WA combined. Most countries do not have 50 Million People in them total. Only the Top 20 populated countries out of the 290 countries in the World 50 + Million Population. I hope you are grasping the scope of all this.

My page views increase 4,000 to 10,000 per 24 hours, depending on Over All Internet Traffic and what is in the News and what folks are seraching. My Ezine Publisher pick-ups increase about 65 to 3000 per day or so. Average is more like 150-250. I just hope everyone understands that these numbers do not lie. And Chris’s easy experiment can be multiplied many fold to get the exact same answer over and over again. Some say it is good, some say it is not. But it is what it is and it works. I have spent hours on hours with a calculator pouring over my stats, keeping track of them for months on end literally each hour or couple of hours of every waking hour.

Suffice it to say that when someone the other day asked; Why are you writing all those articles? You are not making any money doing it? AH Ha, but my goal is to change the world and by impacting 50 Million People’s thoughts, I certainly am. Are YOU? Well, then write more articles and WE can change and fix the world. Consider all this in 2006. Join the EzineArticles team and make EVERY ARTICLE COUNT! It does make a difference. 30,000 authors makes a huge difference. Are you with me yet on this? Do you see the IMPACT this makes on the World? Do you want to cure cancer? If we all wrote 5-articles next month, then that PR would ROCK the Political Scene to put a fire under the political process to see more money flows to the cause and we could in fact change the world. Next month we should. But after we all did that? What would we do next month? Hmm? Pick another cause and go for that. Can you folks see the power in the numbers. I am just one person. My efforts are only 1.6 percent of this site? Imagine the entire 100% all focused in a common cause? Imagine OUR POWER? Can you felll it? Can you see this vision? What can we do for Our Country Today? What can we do for the Children of the World? What can we do and what will we do? Let’s pick a common cause? Chris has shown us the way? We have the tools and the skills, lets take it all the way? Let’s do something GREAT, that we can all be proud of, something that will ROCK Civilization, the pen is mightier than the Sword and the Key Board is like a Machine Gun against the ills which plague mankind? RSS Syndication and the EzineArticles Site is like a Billion Person Powerful Team to literally change the World? My question is do you have what it takes to take this Rocket Ship to the Next Level and Boldly go where NO was has dared to go before? Think on this in 2006.

Comment provided August 24, 2006 at 4:36 AM

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17
John J. Alquist writes:

My articles are long enough to make my case–no longer, no shorter. I don’t pander to slow readers and sub-literates by keeping my articles artifically short.

I find that the certain subject generate more views.
For example, my alternative (health) articles generate more views than book reviews.

Comment provided August 24, 2006 at 8:10 AM

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18
Alex Mugume writes:

Great article, long-needed. Surely, longer articles provide more (thoughtful) quality content and meaningful value to the readers.

Come to think of it, I remember reading another article here recommending to members to break their long articles into 3 or 4 short pieces simply to speed up the number of articles.

It’s going to be a quick turnaround – now shifting the focus to adding value to the reader with quality knowledge, rather than only increasing the # of short articles.

Chris, thank you for this masterful advice

Comment provided August 24, 2006 at 7:08 PM

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19
Ed Howes writes:

Hey Folks,

We are leaving the post track here. The subject is article Title length. The ideal is relatively short, powerful articles, with long attention getting titles. The killer combination for marketing, ideas, products or services.

Lance, there is little in my life I enjoy much more than your blog reports and irrepressable enthusiasm. Thanks for hangin’ here. And by the way, what’s with all these valley girl question marks?

Comment provided August 24, 2006 at 7:49 PM

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20
Edward Weiss writes:

I’ve tried both long and short article headlines. The one that’s worked the best for me so far has only 8 words. That’s because the keywords “piano chord charts” got picked up by Google and is in the top 7 when someone searches on this topic.

However, some of my article titles have more than 14 words and do not pull nearly as well. So I’d have to say do a keyword search on Overture or somewhere else, see what people are looking for, then use them in your headlines.

P.S. I’ve also noticed that the chances of being indexed by Google diminish rapidly when there is a lot of competition for the same keywords.

Comment provided August 24, 2006 at 8:43 PM

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21

I think this test is slightly bogus, If you used the words screaming chicken in the title you are bound to get more interesting results. The only true test would be to use the same information but different lengths like this.

1) 73 trans am, Pontiacs 455 Super Duty
2) 1973 trans am, pontiacs 455 Super Duty Firebird

Or some thing like that, you may as well have used

1) trans am screaming spongebob ate my underpants (vs)
2) 1973 trans am, pontiac

in your previous test ( I know it was not intended as a test ) on the basis the results would be equally as useless to anyone who cares to read them.

Thanks for the invite to comment here though.

Comment provided August 25, 2006 at 4:15 AM

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22

Spongebob Dude,

Ok, sure, I already agreed that it was not statistically a valid test.

Heck, I even argued against myself when I learned that the shorter title had more page views of traffic on EzineArticles vs. the longer title.

I could have our team do an exhaustive article title length vs. total page views analysis; but it might result in meaningless data because we’re trying to measure the end-outcome of all of our article writing activities: How much qualified traffic does it really send to our end-destination website.

Comment provided August 25, 2006 at 5:18 AM

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23

Chris,

Ok I’m with it now, the long unusual title got less page views however the longer title encouraged more traffic to be generated to the target destination?

Edward weiss makes a good point in comment 20 about keywords.

OK your articles are ranking well in Google and the terms you used would be known by classic motor enthusiasts, maybe I should have read the articles before spouting obsceneties.

p.s.I have an excuse for being up this early because I’m in the UK and it’s afternoon, whats yours Chris?

‘Spongebob Magnum’

Comment provided August 25, 2006 at 5:34 AM

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24
Ed Howes writes:

Some of us who have little interest in SEO and short term advantage, truly enjoy hearing from those who test, however simply, and report. I know when long titles are the hot ticket, short titles will stand out among them. I left the more is better market mind decades ago and joined the better is better crowd.

Comment provided August 25, 2006 at 8:40 AM

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25
Rascal writes:

Hi All of you more knowledgable author/promoters than I :)

Yeah, you guys and gals know much more about promotion to your websites than I probably ever will. Yet, I’m trying to learn. At least I learned that “Content IS King” and writing EzineArticles is the best way to get my cherished ideas, like those of Chris, Lance, and some others out to thye world. LOL.

Below is an example of a no-sleep-all-night question that I asked, but obviously didn’t complete the submit form properly for, at @ 5:00 A.M. This morning. So now, I’ll try to ask it again…

Russ Miles to EzineArticles
More options 5:36 am (14 hours ago)

Hey Lance & Kris,

What happens if we “Tag” another respected author’s article ~ like this one ~ with a link to our own latest published article?

http://EzineArticles.com/?id=272343

Thanks for providing me a chance to find out :)

~Rub-it “So I’ll Learn from Real Pro’s”~

Rascal :))

Comment provided August 25, 2006 at 9:14 PM

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26
Ed Howes writes:

Hey Rascal!

Learn from pros? Haven’t you ever heard there are no shortcuts to success? :-)

Lee Rose: I think you are onto something and maybe me too. There are two kinds of shoppers in any marketplace. Those in a hurry and those not. The long title are especially appealing to those in a hurry. Also, an article can have two related topics. If you get them both in the title, it is like fishing with to baited hooks on your line.. Make sense?

Comment provided August 26, 2006 at 5:14 PM

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27
Lance Winslow writes:

Rascal, glad to see your faith guides you. Very interesting piece you wrote. Continued success. – Lance

Comment provided August 28, 2006 at 5:01 PM

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28

Chris,

I think you might be looking at the wrong metric. To me as a zine editor, the issue is not length–it’s that the second title is far more captivating and follows many of the rules of successful marketing copywriting. It makes me want to say “that sounds interesting–what’s that?” And that’s half the battle. I do think it’s easier to get a title that grabs the reader when you have more words to play with, but to make it a fair test you’d also have test a long-but-dull title.

Comment provided September 18, 2006 at 5:40 AM

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29
Jackey writes:

Is it safe to say that long titled articles are better than short ones? The statistics presented are reliable so I would try to follow your suggestion.

Comment provided November 10, 2013 at 12:52 AM

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