If you have been in the digital marketing industry long enough, there is a good chance you have heard some people say something like, ‘keep your content short and bite size. With the increasing distractions online, the average attention of internet users is shorter than that of a goldfish.’
Believe it or not, your target audience is becoming smarter than goldfish. So, you need to act accordingly and flush the mentality of relating content length with attention span down the toilet. Different studies have proved that longer content helps rankings and overall SEO. It also brings more engages and is more sharable.
What is long-form content?
Different marketers define this concept in various ways. But the consensus is very clear on one point: if you need to get past 500-word mark to ensure that Google and other search engines take note of your content, that’s not long-form content.
Most experts believe that any piece of content less than 1,200 words is not long-form content. Thus, it is recommended to aim at 1,500 words as 1,200 words are the minimum according to views from different marketers. That way, you are likely to have a competitive advantage with the additional cushion.
Recently recognized benefit
The amazing benefits of long-form content in the digital world begun to gain recognition recently. The truth is that about a decade ago, it was widely believed that digital long-form pieces of content were a bad idea. According to Naomi Sharp, when an increasing number of readers started using the internet, most media analysts thought that the so-called long-form journalism was in big trouble.
The attention spans were expected to shrink, and readers were interested in snappy, short pieces of content. They desired 140 characters and nothing more. Who would scroll through a 10,000-word article on their mobile device screen?
Fortunately, many content marketers now realize that the ‘inevitable death’ of long-form articles was exaggerated. They are gradually discovering the real value of long-form content. In addition to being informative and keeping your audience engaged, length content can enhance SEO and your site’s ranking.
SEO benefits of long-form content
The specific algorithm that Google uses to establish the pages that should appear top in SERPs for a specific query has always been a mystery. Indeed, it is a mystery to anyone outside of a particular corporate headquarters in Mountain View, CA. However, curious experts can tinker and probably experiment as much as Google allows them to get some insights about what ranks better.
Long-form content ranks well – yes, Google says so
In 2012, serpIQ conducted a study that involved more than 20,000 keywords. The findings indicated that the average length of content for each of the top ten pieces was over 2,000 words. The average content length of the #1 post was 2,416. For the piece of content that ranked #10, the average word count was 2,032.
These results are fairly conclusive. Whenever you want your content to rank well, consider creating long-form content. This theory is corroborated by a hint that was dropped on the Google Webmasters Blog. According to Pandu Nayak, the creator of the Panda update and a technical staff member at Google, internet users turn to search engines in search of information.
Research shows that up to 10 percent of users’ daily information requirements involve learning in-depth topics. That’s the reason, according to Pandu, Google introduced new search results that can help users find long-form and informative articles. This is a very suggestive hint that long-form content ranks well. Pandu also recommended that webmasters should use schema.org markup, authorship, and offer information regarding the business logo when creating long-form content. This will increase the likelihood of ranking well.
Experts in content marketing also assert that long-form content can attract high-quality backlinks and boost a website’s conversion rates. One of the effective ways to draw in a large audience and increase engagement and conversions is by creating high-quality long-form content that your audience will feel the desire to share on social networks. Lengthy articles have historically outperformed the short, snappy pieces of content in this metric.
If you are looking for a technique to get your struggling website off the ground and you haven’t published long-form content, give it a try.