In the race to create content, many people think that shorter equals better. In reality, however, long-form content has been proven to be very effective. In fact, articles on the first page of Google contain about 1,890 words on average.
If you’re ready to learn more about how long-form content can help boost your ratings, you’ve come to the right place. Below we will discuss why you need long-form content and how it improves your SEO. We’ll also offer some tips on doing it effectively.
Ready to begin? Keep scrolling!
What Is Long-Form Content and Why Does it Work?
Although definitions of long-form content vary, most digital marketers would agree that it includes any blogs or articles over 1,000 words. Online businesses can post long-form content with word counts as high as 2K, 4K, or even as high as 8K.
Longer content is usually centered around being more useful, informational, and comprehensive than short content. This earns more backlinks and authority which increases your rank in SERPs.
The average user’s attention span on a website is around 10 to 20 seconds long. You may have heard that short content with quick bullet points that are easy to read, and go straight and to the point is the best way to create content.
And, because 10 seconds is such a short amount of time you may wonder how long-form content performs. Surprisingly, long-form content does very well on both social media and web pages.
If done right, a few pieces of long-form content can increase your search rankings faster than most short-form content (blogs or articles under 1K words). It’s a good idea to start adding a few to your existing blog schedule or update some of your old content.
Long-form content takes time and effort. It requires planning, research, and a ton of thought just to make sure that there’s enough information to make it authoritative.
As an example, I wouldn’t suggest creating a heading or title tag such as, “The Ultimate Guide” if you aren’t going to write over 1,000 words. It’s always best to match your content with the extent of your information.
This would also apply to a quick blog post regarding an event. That type of topic shouldn’t be as long and as extensive as a how-to guide.
Long-Form Content vs Short-Form Content
Short content or, “snackable” content is usually around 200 words. It gives your audience a quick bite of your company, product, or service. It also can help you gain trust and become a somewhat recognizable brand.
Some examples may include but aren’t limited to tweets, event reminders, quick videos, and infographics.
Short-form blogs are good at grabbing your target audience’s attention with interesting information or offerings (such as a one-time free trial). But, long-form blogs are designed to educate visitors about your products or services and to preemptively answer their questions.
One of the best ways to use short content is to just keep it simple and memorable. Focus on one idea and explain everything quickly. Keep it direct and straight to the point.
If your content is good, you don’t always need to have a long, drawn-out story because your audience only really needs a few certain elements and they can figure out the rest.
Short content is great for social posts and information that doesn’t need explaining. However, if you are creating tutorials, how-tos, or step-by-step content, it would be best to stick to long-form content.
Long-form content is seen as authoritative and trustworthy. Businesses usually use this type of content writing. These pieces of content grasp the attention of a highly invested audience who want to learn about what you have to offer them. Long-form articles are in-depth, comprehensive, and cover everything your audience needs to know.
One benefit of using long content found in a case study by BuzzSumo, is that longer content gets more shares and proves people generally find value and like well-researched posts that are packed with useful information.
Businesses that are invested in adopting inbound marketing typically need gated long-form content. This includes white papers, webinars, and more expansive content such as e-books.
What this does, in the long run, is build long-lasting, long-term customer relationships. B2B sales use longer content because, in the earliest stages of a marketing cycle, the audience has very little awareness of products or services.
This helps to pull in a potential lead and turn it into a qualified customer.
How to Know If You Should Use Long-Form Content
Long-form content demands critical thinking. It is intended to be read and digested as opposed to a quick read or a skim. It is deeply researched and contextual. It’s not just another blog post that jams keywords into a page as much as possible.
It provides the reader with as much information as possible on a particular topic. Besides the word count, there’s a lot that goes into long-form content.
But, how do you know if your niche requires long-form content as opposed to quicker, less informational content?
Long-form content tends to have a fantastic lifespan. If you are looking to publish content that will be relevant no matter how much time has passed, then long-form content is for you.
Does Blog Length Really Matter?
Have you ever wondered why SEO blog services like The HOTH give you the choice of selecting 500 words, 1K words, 2K words, or more?
It’s because blog length does matter and it’s important to figure out what length is the most advantageous for your website and marketing strategy.
The assumption for so long has been that online readers prefer short pieces of content and snippets, but data on long-form content is proving that’s not so accurate. People also enjoy long-form content (if it’s done right).
Hubspot found that blogs with a word count between 2,250 and 2,500 earned the most organic traffic. One reason for this is that larger blogs contain more keywords.
On top of that, a study by Pew Research shows that users spend twice as much time on articles over 1,000 words. They found that short and long articles both attracted the same number of visitors, yet people would actually keep reading the longer pieces versus navigating away to something else. This has huge implications for your site and your bounce rate.
Does Long-Form Content Affect Social Media Shares?
As I briefly mentioned above, social shares happen more frequently with long-form content than short content. A study by Moz concluded that articles that are over 1,000 words are more likely to earn social shares than shorter posts. Posts that are even longer than 1,000 words tend to increase in shares depending on the higher word count.
In addition, a different study by Neil Patel found that longer posts received an average of about 68% more engagement on Twitter and about 22% more on Facebook.
The correlation between content length and social media shares is similar to content length and backlinks. So, these statistics suggest that the everyday social media user values content length if it is informational and you optimize it with helpful content.
Should You Use Long-Form Content for Landing Pages?
Long-form content doesn’t necessarily need to be articles or blog posts. Basically, the purpose of a long-form landing page is to make sure that your audience is as informed as possible about your service, product, or brand. That allows them to feel comfortable and confident enough to spend their hard-earned cash.
A giant success factor is the role of targeting. Hubspot research has discovered that businesses with over 40 landing pages generate twelve times as many leads as businesses with just 1 to 5. So, consider this when deciding whether or not long-form content would be a good idea for your company.
That isn’t to say that short landing pages won’t convert potential buyers. You may even be able to persuade your product with stories or emotional and instinctual images.
But, science suggests that most of your potential customers won’t convert unless they understand your product and also feel comfortable.
That is such a crucial thing to understand about long-form landing pages. They are there to completely get rid of any hesitation or anxieties about buying a service or product. You need to have trustworthy content before your leads will buy what you’re offering.
In fact, conversion rate experts at Moz stated that long-form landing pages boosted sales by about 52%.
The key here is that there are many reasons why webmasters or designers won’t include long-form landing pages on their websites. Many of those reasons are because it doesn’t seem user-friendly or it might come across as scammy.
Regardless of the reasons, using long-form content on your landing pages may actually improve your sales depending on what your audience needs from your brand.
How Does Long-Format Help SEO?
Besides sharing information with your potential customers, SEO-optimized blogs are also designed to rank for keywords.
Good long-form content will rank for way more keywords than a 500-word blog. One study also found a direct correlation between the length of content and the number of backlinks a website receives.
Writers of long-form content need to conduct extra search engine research, go more in-depth, and ensure their final version is high-quality. Doing this will improve a site’s domain authority, which results in more backlinks over the long term.
Here are a few SEO tips to focus on for long-form content:
- Focus on your targeted keyword or phrase
- Optimize your copy with SEO methods
- Boost your readability with headlines and links
Keywords are a given when it comes to any SEO content, but long-form content gets ranked higher because it contains more keywords without overstuffing. Think about it like this, the longer your content is, the more keywords you can insert into it. This helps you rank in Google and other search engines, but it also increases your organic traffic. In fact, homepages featuring long-form content also experienced an increase in conversation rates by more than 37%.
Optimizing your content with SEO methods such as meta descriptions and alt text can raise your chances of ranking in search engines. It is not always an easy task and businesses that spend more than $500 a month on SEO are around 53% more likely to succeed in ranking.
The Google algorithm also favors long-form content because it caters perfectly to E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness). It rewards this type of content with higher rankings.
Now that you understand how long-format content can help your SEO, let’s go over a few tips on how to create your own blogs that will get the algorithm’s attention:
Tips and Tricks on Writing Quality Long-Form Content
There are just so many benefits of long-form content that it would be silly not to consider creating some for your niche or business. If you’re interested in developing content marketing and some long-form content for your website, here are some things to consider.
Start off by carefully researching your topic and relevant keywords. You’ll need a lot of reliable research because long-form content is more in-depth. Focus on finding long-tail keywords as well. A great place to start is with The HOTH’s Keyword Planner.
Organize and structure your blog or article. We recommend outlining before you write so you’ll know where everything goes. Outlining and having a word count goal is a fantastic start to any content.
Researching your niche, information, and picking the most relevant keywords can open up the opportunity to rank well in search engines for your preferred niche. High rankings in search drive traffic to your website and give you the ability to promote your services or products with content creation.
Write short paragraphs and divide your content into different sections using H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, or H6 subheadings. Don’t forget your other SEO information like alt-texts or meta descriptions.
By organizing your topics in your content strategy, you can increase readability and boost your content rank because Google search sees your topics as easy to identify. This can help improve your authority. When you write in small paragraph chunks, usually around three sentences, you increase easy scrolling and searchability.
Hook the reader with an engaging introduction that will ensure they read the entire piece. This may be an interesting statistic or something they’ve never heard of before.
Link baiting is a common practice among marketers, the concept has been around for a long while. Marketers have figured out by trial and error that emotional hooks that entice people to “like” or “share” a link to content increases engagement and overall traffic.
Now that you know that your writing needs a good hook, how do you write one?
Here are a few ideas to start with:
- Be bold! Create a statement that begs for attention
- Be witty and show your personality
- Use a fresh twist
- Tell an emotional story
Use a bold statement in your hook. If you think your article has some great ideas that will help your audience do something better. Tell them so! They want to hear it.
Be witty, by using a simple play on words or a fun headline, you may increase your click rate and boost your traffic. Just make sure to keep your audience in mind.
Use your personality and add a fresh twist to some of your headlines or long-form content. If you’re writing a how-to post or tutorial, creating a welcoming atmosphere that builds a relationship with your readers will help to create returning customers.
Lastly, telling a story with your content is a good way to keep your audience engaged. It makes your readers invested in your service or product. Testimonials and letting your audience know how your service works or how much your business cares can boost your trustworthiness and your sales.
Your writing style should be accessible and conversational. SEO writing is quite technical and is a way to write content that is easy for search engines to see what the content is and whether it is of high quality.
It is always a good practice to keep your audience in mind along with search intent. It’s important to make sure that your style of writing goes along with what your readers want to see.
For example, if your style of writing is packed with slapstick humor, but your audience is more conservative, it may not sit well with them.
Style guides for your writers are also a great idea for creating long-form SEO content. Because SEO is such a technical style, it would be best to hire a professional writer or service like The HOTH that understands the best methods. Many businesses will hire a writer, send them a quick brief, and expect a masterpiece.
While that sounds like a great idea, the fact is you aren’t giving them exactly what they need to write a great long-form piece. Many small businesses can’t really afford to have a hit-or-miss content writer because of how much SEO can cost in the long run.
Outlines, SEO strategy, and the desired writing format with loads of training can get your writers where they need to be without your business suffering.
By giving them a style guide, you are setting your team and your business up for success. You can also prevent inconsistent or inadequate work by giving out your guide. This saves time, effort, and won’t eat at your budget.
Images and Graphics
Another ranking factor is images and infographics. Add images or graphics where you can to break up the text. These can also make it easier to digest complex information.
If you make your posts pop with images you’re more likely to keep an audience engaged with your content. People are visual! Adding an image (or a few) along with your blog posts can make quite an impression.
A fast tip for easy marketing and promotion would be to blast your blogs across your social media channels such as Pinterest. High-quality images attached to pins add an additional avenue of traffic.
Speaking of Pinterest, social media is a powerful tool that can aid you and increase the reach of your audience and content by promoting sharing. Post each new article on your social media accounts and use a descriptive call-to-action.
Because the power of social media is in sharing, it is important to have share buttons on each blog post.
If you wish to have more control over how your links appear when they are shared, you can implement Twitter cards for Twitter, or you can use Open Graph for Facebook (this can come across as a more technical side of SEO.)
By using this practice, you can improve your traffic and you may even boost some of that sought-after click-through rate.
Monitor Your Activity
Long-form content writing is complicated and will take some time to work out the kinks. Stay on top of your SEO content. It would be best if you monitor your efforts with Google Analytics or other free tools.
It’s a great way to keep track of your page views, average time spent on a page, and bounce rate. If you aren’t creating your long-form content correctly, you will be able to tell through these metrics.
If you happen to see a drop-off in addition to low time spent, that’s a red flag. You can then adjust your content creation, keywords, etc. until you see an improvement in your numbers. Graphs are a great way to keep track of your SEO performance.
Focusing on quality is the most important thing you can do. Not only should you provide rich information to the reader, but the writing should be error-free.
Most business owners can get away with asking staff who have no writing experience to crank out a few short blogs here and there. But, if you want to include long-form posts on your site you should have them written by a professional.
That brings us to the most important part of this blog. The HOTH offers an affordable and effective blog product that can help online businesses get long-form content.
Need Help Crafting Long-Form Blogs?
Many businesses don’t have the time or experience to craft long-form content. And that’s ok!
With our most popular SEO product, HOTH Blogger, you can order professionally written and researched blogs about your specific business ranging from 500 words all the way up to 5,000! Our writers are selected from the top 1% of all applicants.
Each blog is optimized for SEO with the right keywords to generate traffic and our team of digital marketers can even publish it to your site.
These flexible options through HOTH Blogger allow you to add a few long-form blogs while you continue posting shorter pieces on a consistent basis. You can get the best of both worlds!
Are you ready to start adding long-form content to your site and watch your rankings grow?
Reach out to one of our experts today! You can also sign up for free for additional content and resources!
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