One of the biggest challenges for bloggers is to get their blog posts ranked in SERPs. Not being able to rank well consequently means that you don’t get enough traffic which renders having a blog pointless. Any blogger who is having a problem getting enough search engine traffic should consider using long form content. Long form content by its very nature information dense and will naturally increase social shares, user engagement, and organic traffic provided that it’s well written.
We define long-form content as being any content with over 1200 words. However, on average the word count has increased dramatically to around three thousand words. Obviously, that’s way too much content especially for anyone who wants to type 3K word blog posts, three times a week. But it is worth it especially in the way of getting your content read, liked and shared.
Google wants and likes long-form content
Google has been very clear about liking blogs with long form content. The search giant has said that they want bloggers and websites to post unique and in-depth articles. The more detail, the better but it also needs to be correctly formatted with optimized headlines, descriptions and bullet points. A HubSpot study found that blog posts between 2250 and 2500 words received the most traffic from search engines.
Search Engine Optimization specialists will tell you that not only does long-form content help you rank well but help you beat competitors that are using shorter content. So, you can drive more traffic away from your competitors and towards your website.
Many bloggers have reported that even though a long-form article may not end up getting as many backlinks because it’s not being actively optimized it will still rank well for low competition keywords. So, a long form article about ‘intermittent fasting’ for instance without any backlinks will rank well but probably not for this keyword but maybe for keywords like ‘fat burning effect’ and ‘skipping breakfast and lunch’ depending on their density.
It can help your blog post get more backlinks
A HubSpot study revealed that blog posts that had over 2500 words i.e. long-form received the most backlinks organically. A similar result was seen when Moz conducted the same study concluding that in fact, you can get more backlinks with longer content.
As a budding blogger, you’ll probably not have as much time to acquire backlinks, and that’s where writing long-form content can be a big help. The reasoning behind it is simple, long-form content that has something or everything of value to offer is much better than most of the other content out there. So, people will naturally want to link to it.
If you later decide on using an outreach program to get in touch with other bloggers and influencers in your niche, they are more likely to love your content. They will see that your article as being much better than the others out there and so they will want to link to it.
Your content will get shared
Conventional wisdom coupled with a pair of studies by mainly advertising agencies show that people are not interested in reading a lot of content. The studies also show that many people will simply turn the page or close the website. However, when it comes to blogging and the internet things seem to be different. Readers like long form content and figures showing that long form content is shared more backs up that claim. 100 million articles analyzed by BuzzSumo revealed that long form content received more social media shares compared to its briefer counterparts. Quick Sprout’s research revealed that blog posts in excess of 1500 words received 68% more tweets and over 22% more Facebook likes.
The rule of thumb that you should follow when creating long form content is that it should be the best. The content should have people sit up and take notice. It should be memorable, and that will be the reason for them sharing it.
Helps to boost user engagement
One of the overlooked benefits of long-form blog posts is that it has the ability to engage readers. Readers will visit your blog and spend time reading a post that they find interesting. The time they spend reading the article increases the average time on the website and a reduced bounce rate. The recent Pew study revealed that articles with a much higher word counts i.e. between 5000 and 10,000 words had increased engagement time. The engagement time on average is 116 seconds for regular articles while those having over 5000 words was 270 seconds on average.
The important thing to note is that you shouldn’t just add words because you can. The words need to add value and keep the reader engaged. Well written and detailed content which is well formatted will ensure that they are hooked till the end.
It shows that you are an authority
Another reason to create long form content is that it shows that you know what you’re talking about. Whether you’re writing a health blog or one talking about relationships the more detail you add, the more people are convinced that you’re an expert in the field. You are seen as someone with lots of knowledge and so worth trusting. It’s a great way to build blog authority, and this is why many authoritative blogs and websites in any given niche have lots of long form content.
How to go about creating long form content?
Draft an outline of your content goals
Start off by knowing exactly why you want to create long form content. You shouldn’t just create long form content because we told you to or you heard from someone that its cool. Your goals can be anywhere from building brand awareness, to connecting with customers or establishing yourself as an authority to get leads and grow your services. Knowing your goals will give you a good idea as to what is needed to execute the project, and you’ll be accountable for whether or not it is successful.
- Who you’re creating the content for?
- Why are you the one writing it?
- How will you measure success and what accounts for it being successful?
Decide between Gated versus Open Content
When you have gated content its mainly content that people can access after they hand over their email address. Open content can be accessed without having to give out anything in return. Usually, bloggers created open content, and that’s what we recommend since it helps them earn long-term value. That said if you’re a business that using the blog to generate leads, then open content is something to consider.
Choose the Topic After Researching Properly
Before you write any content it’s important to figure out what you’re going to write about. That’s something which should take you back to your goals. You will want to avoid writing about sales teams and your business’s success because most people will not find that interesting. Make sure that the topic is something of interest to visitors and its something helpful.
So, what types of topics will help you connect with the target audience and encourage them to interact? Here are a few things to consider:
- The keywords that people are using to search for your blog or its content in particular.
- What content on your blog is doing well and why. Knowing this can help you replicate its success.
- Who is your target audience? What are they interested in?
- Who else has content that’s similar to yours and can you do a better than job than them?
Layout the post for maximum impact
Your blog post shouldn’t just be a huge block of text or even text that’s broken into a couple of lines each. It has to be expertly formatted and designed to ensure that readers continue to remain engaged. So, it shouldn’t just look pretty but also practical. Include a sign-up form, for instance, social sharing buttons, and insert graphics which encapsulates the point you’re trying to make clearly.
Things to consider when laying out your blog post:
- Add an email signup button so that its easier for people who like your content to signup and get notified when there is new content available.
- Add links to other bits of content. If the content that you’ve written does not fit in well with the reader or they seem not as interested, there should be ways for them to move on to other more exciting bits. So, make sure that those pieces are easy to find.
- You will want to make sharing the content easy. All readers should be able to share it via social media, and that requires adding all the much-needed social media buttons. However, these buttons shouldn’t be laid out after every paragraph because that’s just going to distract the reader and perhaps come across as irritating on devices with smaller screens.
How will the long form content be promoted?
Instead of publishing a blog post and then hoping that it will become viral you need to take steps to make sure it happens. Putting in all that effort to create good long form content is only part of the work. It’s imperative to have a comprehensive, creative and detailed promotion strategy in place too.
The strategy you use to promote your long form content can include email updates, paid ads like Google AdWords, direct mail campaigns, etc. You can also try social media advertising and build up a list of regular visitors. In addition, reach out to industry influencers by including them into the guide. The more influences you can get onboard the higher your chances of success.
Long form content is one of the best ways to improve your ranking, get more organic traffic by attracting lots of backlinks and social sharing. However, it shouldn’t be considered a silver bullet that will work as soon as it’s ejected out of the barrel of your gun. It takes time and effort. Having a good strategy in place coupled with high-quality long form content can improve your chances of being successful compared to just having a 400-word blog post. That said simply writing aimlessly will not yield the desired results and so it pays to do your homework.