You have so many posts praising long form content and berating those who are planning to publish short articles that are meant to provide answers to specific search queries of searchers. Short content should perform just like a long form content but that is an ideal world we are aiming for. These days, search engines have got so smart that it can use its natural language processing power to scrap out the exact information that a searcher is looking for and thus killing the very purpose of creating short article.
However, some people do come up with some weird logic. According to them – ‘Less is more’. But it is long form posts are doing far better than their shorter compatriots. Long form content when written right can gain as much attention and drive as many visitors as a short post can.
It’s true that the amount of content that is created on a daily basis is shockingly large, every day more than 2 million blog posts are created, but the dangers of content shock are over-hyped.
Long posts have a longer shelf life due to higher quality. They enable you to demonstrate your authority and people tend to share them more because longer content is more valuable and credible. To determine whether long copy came higher in the results, and if you should change your content marketing strategy, we looked at numerous studies from sources such as Quick Sprout, and Moz, as well as looking at our own data to back it up.
However, it is not just about finding pages that have particular keywords and phrases within them, it’s about recognizing people’s needs and wants, and finding the best content for them.
Better Search Rankings
Getting found should be your main aim. You might have a cute 100 words blog post with a concise message. But if Google can’t find you then Google is not going to rank you. Looking at the average top ten results on Google, the higher up we go on the search listing pages the more content each page has. All of them are around 2000 words in length.
Google’s latest additions to their search algorithms mean that they’re better at picking out higher quality results, and it’s hard to deliver that quality in a short form when you’re dealing with big questions. Though this isn’t to say that short form will rank worse, just look at how well Yahoo Answers does in search results. It’s about serving a need.
More Keyword Matches
Google’s Hummingbird algorithm launched in 2013 is focused on searching great quality content websites with substance and meaning behind the searcher’s query.
It is not just about finding pages that have particular keywords and phrases within them, it’s about recognizing people’s needs and wants, and finding the best content for them.
Searchers often put a whole question or sentence into Google, something that is a growing part of the long tail of search. The longer your content, the more words it has, so that number of keyword matches will most likely be higher.
Interestingly, studies have shown that visitors coming in off the long tail of search tend to convert better than those that don’t. This is due to the specific nature of typing in a longer search query, these kind of searchers have a specific requirement at the time of search. If you meet that need they’ll convert, as compared with those coming in on shorter terms who are more comparable to window shoppers.
More Social Engagement and Links
As mentioned before, people are more likely to share longer content because they feel longer is more valuable. A Torquemag study found a direct correlation between the length of the content and the number of people who link to it. As a consequence of this data, and to serve customers’ needs, Google will then factor in the number of social shares and backlinks into a websites ranking.
The longer your content is and the more words you use, the better you rank by Google’s hummingbird. Neil Patel’s studies also confirm that longer content gets more social engagement. He separated blog piles into two categories depending on how many words they had.
He found out that blog posts under 1,500 words received an average of 175 tweets and 60 Facebook likes whereas posts with more than 1,500 words received 293 tweets and 73 Facebook likes.
This suggests that if a blog post has more than 1,500 words, it averages 68 percent more tweets and 23 percent more Facebook likes. You need to keep in mind that although longer post do better, if you haven’t built up your social media presence you won’t magically find success with a longer post.
Is Quality Content Really the King or is it the Length?
Although length is important, it’s important not to take this too far. Well-written quality content is the key, if you write a 2,000 words article that’s just fluff and filler then you’re not going to do well in the rankings.
Always be thinking of the reader, make your content informative and readable. Use images, videos, whitespace and headlines to make it digestible and avoid overwhelmingly large blocks of text. Content should be related to your business, products or brand but being valuable and trustworthy to your audience. It must empathize with your customers and must give them something useful that would make them come back. It is key to be aware of things that may cause them switch off.
In some industries customers will want shorter posts whereas in other industries longer and detailed articles or even tutorials will be more appreciated.
What Google Loves
Google loves what users, customers, and searchers like you and I love, so what you need to do is to identify your customers’ needs and write what they want to read. You shouldn’t jump in with useless me-too content that doesn’t add anything to the subject just to reach 1,000 or 2,000 words article.
Test and verify if you are on target through your analytics, write unique and valuable content for your audience and do not get too obsessed with Google.