5 Ways SEO Long-Form Content Can Boost Your Rankings
When I first started blogging no one ever told me that my posts needed to be long-form. I thought that as long as I wrote blog posts that were at least 300-400 words, I was okay.
Today many practices (Chiropractors, Dentists) and business owners, in general, think that’s true. Well, I’m going to have to burst your bubble.
Your approach to content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) must be more strategic than ever in 2018, and embracing long-form content is one of the best things you can add to your strategy. SEO and ranking studies find that time and time again, longer content in the range of 1,500 to 2,600 words tends to outperform shorter blog posts.
That’s why you will see long-form content being used on this site.
Why does long-form content perform better?
When you understand the traits that help long-form content excel you can tailor your content creation approach with the proper mindset.
Consider this. When people search on Google, it’s Google’s job to provide the best answer to the question you type. The same holds true if you are using specific keywords.
When Google sends you to that page, they want to make sure the page is providing value and taking care of the users’ needs.
If you have a post with 300-400 words and your competitor has 1,000 words which blog post do you think is going to answer the question in detail? Obviously the long-form blog post. Which blog post will the reader find beneficial? The long-form post of course!
So, to help you pivot your content marketing strategy to include long-form content formats, here are five SEO benefits it can provide that increase your potential to earn higher rankings.
Long-Form Content Gets Engagement That Serves as a Strong Ranking Signal for Search Engines
Over the past 20 years, the internet has come a long way. In the beginning, many of the websites looked similar. For instance, when I started my photography and videography business, all the sites had a black background with white text.
Today there’s a huge gap between the types of websites that earn the most traffic versus ones that quickly turn people away.
Well constructed authoritative websites display high-quality content. As a matter of fact, content is considered king. Every new piece of content supports the image of your brand. That being the case as a writer I go the extra mile for my clients which usually leads to more in-depth topic coverage.
Put simply: content quality and content length tend to be strongly correlated. The more content people can dig into, the stronger the ranking signals that get sent back to Google.
According to one of the most comprehensive SEO ranking factor studies available, search engines weigh engagement signals heavily when deciding which websites to rank first.
Google naturally wants to pick a site that people seem to enjoy. Having a large volume of visitors who read multiple pages, spend a lot of time on the site and rarely hit the “back” button all serve as indicators that people are having a good time and appreciating the quality of content the site provides.
In this way, creating great long-form content rewards you with eager engagement that can later reward you with a boosted ranking presence.
Long-Form Content Can Cover More Bases Than a Short-Form Blog Ever Could
If, for example, you wrote a guide about selecting a used car, a short blog post would gloss over many of the most critical deciding criteria. On the other hand, a longer blog post will dive more deeply into each area. The extra time and attention reveals a greater complexity to the information, allowing people to make better decisions.
Having multiple paragraphs about inspecting for body damage gives people more tools to make a smart decision compared to a throwaway sentence advising you to “check for rust and signs of damage.”
Approaching content from this direction means that you cover a broader variety of topics in a way that can answer more people’s questions. As a result, you can earn more links and shares.
When you have long-form content, you are educating your readers. You are also positioning your business as a resource site for answers. The more you show you know your industry, the more people will trust you and choose you over the competition.
That’s what we do when we write your long-form blog post. We position our clients as the expert and logical choice to solve the needs of those who are online looking for solutions.
Links from authoritative domains are one of the strongest ranking signals. If you can write content that earns consistent links because it does a great job of explaining important concepts or describing things well, you are more likely to rank higher.
Perhaps more importantly, you are expanding your potential to appeal to more people.
Let’s go back the car analogy. Say, for instance, that someone is in the market for a classic car and they want advice on how to inspect for the type of damage that happens cumulatively over thousands of miles. An in-depth used car buying guide could easily touch on those essential concepts.
Or, say you have someone who wants to buy a newer SUV. The same guide could explain how to compare prices in general so that people can find the best deal.
In this way, long-form content can achieve broader appeal and provide more universal value, which effectively multiplies your opportunities for engagement, shares, and traffic.
Longer Blog Posts Provide More Metadata for Search Engines to Index
This one is simple: longer blog posts leave a more significant data trail for search engines to latch onto.
You gain more opportunities to mention contextually related long-tail keyword phrases. You also increase your chances of creating internal links to your content upon an appropriate anchor text phrase.
On top of that, search engines simply get more text to “grab” onto. You may have noticed that summary descriptions on search engine results pages (SERPs) have gotten longer. That’s because devices have gotten better, and search engines like Google realized that people prefer having more information up-front before they click on a link.
Similarly, search engines are churning out “featured snippets” at a higher rate. These exceptional results take information from a piece of content, highlight the most crucial phrase or graphic, and return a SERP result that is both larger and more graphically appealing than the average text-only result.
Earning a featured snippet has become very important in an era of increasing mobile search, and all but essential as voice search grows in use. When someone performs a voice search on their smartphone, often the featured snippet is the only result they encounter.
Writing longer posts provides more “meat” within your content for search engines to pull these snippets from, making you more likely to become a highlighted website in an era where being near the top of results is more critical than ever.
Writing in Long Form Forces You to Think About Argument and Structure, Resulting in Better Work
Expanding your typical content word count beyond 500 words forces you to become a better writer. You’ll end up paying more attention to your craft.
You’ll also be forced to organize your content and structure it so that people aren’t being forced to read giant blobs of text. That approach often means you’ll rely more upon:
- Topic subheadings
- Shorter paragraphs
- Lists (like this one!)
- Other navigation tools, such as a table of contents
All of these suggestions can turn a 2,000-word blog into a post that is very easy to skim. People in it for the long haul can digest the entire article rather quickly. Those who wanted to read the article to get just the juiciest bits of information can skip to the part most relevant to their interests.
In many instances, working in a long-form format demands more creativity. You end up thinking about how to reframe the subject matter so it will be extremely interesting.
When IBM wanted to talk about their significant data capabilities, for instance, they decided to resort to storytelling rather than cold, hard facts. To accomplish this, they covered how their data analytics capabilities helped a specific police department solve all of their pain points.
“IBM understood that producing a bland, corporate puff piece wouldn’t win them any customers or pique people’s curiosity about predictive data analysis,” observes WordStream. “Most people don’t care about how the technology works – they’re more interested in what it does. By showing how its technology had a direct impact on the lives of Memphis citizens, IBM highlights the potential of predictive analytics and grounds the story in the lives and struggles of real people.”
The good news is that you don’t have to worry about creating long-form content because that’s what we at Toni Nelson Means Business do for you!
Advice for Adding More Long-Form Content to Your Ranking Strategy
The keys to creating good long-form content can be found in all of the above benefits we just listed:
- Think carefully about how you structure your posts so that they are digestible.
- Consider opportunities to frame your subject in a way that is inherently interesting.
- Rely upon graphics, subheadings, and design elements to break up your text visually.
- Research how you can add more structured data and markup so that search engines can index specific nuggets of information more readily.
- Try to cover all of your topic bases in-depth so that your content can appeal to multiple personas or the needs of your readers.
- Aim to make your content engaging and interesting so that you can earn better-ranking signals.
- Look to your own data as a signal for what content people seem to like and get the most value from.
At Toni Nelson Means Business we approach long-form content as a passionate journalist, publisher and industry insider. That works really well for you because the content we write positions you as the expert.
It’s like this Neil Patel read my mind when he said: “Don’t create content just because you think you have to. Create content because you want to provide your audience with expert advice on a given subject.”
If you can put effort into your content that the subject matter deserves, then your audience—and, by extension, search engines—will sit up and take notice.
Don’t have time to do that? Contact me Toni Nelson at 352-448-7019, and we’ll talk about the right blog content for you.
Not to be forgotten is how long-form content can affect your ad campaigns. What do I mean? If you place an ad on Facebook, you are going to want to send people to long-form content they can consume. This content provides value and positions you as a trusted authority. It shows you know your industry inside and out.
Here’s more food for thought According to Backlinko they said: “Based on SERP data from SEMRush, we found that longer content tends to rank higher in Google’s search results. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.” They also stated: “Content with at least one image significantly outperformed content without any images. ”
Just imagine what having several pieces of long-form content when done correctly can do for your site ranking.
No doubt if you read to this point you might be wondering how exactly you can implement all of this. The good news is you don’t have to. We can do it for you!
All you need to do is get in touch with me to get started today is call 352-448-7019
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