A Google Webmaster Help thread has Googler Susan Moskwa replying to one webmaster about them wanting to remove content from their own web site. The webmaster was thinking because they don't have a certain number of words on some of their content, they are better off removing the content because it can hurt the rankings of the rest of the web site. Yes, a lot of this comes from the Panda update and SEO theories around that.
So Susan replied, Dude, it sounds like you've read too many tin foil hat "SEO" articles.
Here is Susan's full response:
Dude, it sounds like you've read too many tin foil hat "SEO" articles. As long as your site has worthwhile, original content on it (i.e. it's not just made to put AdSense on it), there's not a golden "text-to-ads ratio" or a word limit for ranking. I worry that you're just looking at the trees and not seeing the forest. Optimizing your site for search isn't about counting the words on a page, it's about making sure that you have useful, usable content, and then making that content accessible to search engines.
To put this another way: I have never ever seen a site where everything was great and it would have ranked well except its articles were only 200 words long. That's just... not the way the algorithm looks at stuff. If your site isn't ranking well, the cause must be elsewhere.
Got good content? Some thing useful, unique and quality? It doesn't mean it has to be long for it to rank well in Google.
Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help
Image credit from Jeff Hall on Flickr.