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Is Long Form Content still Relevant for SEO?

Long Form Content Is Out?

It’s said that short attention spans and the multi-tasking that everybody does with their phones is the cause of short form content. After all nobody has time to read long content never mind write it.

Or do they? If you have to fight for somebody’s attention then surely it’s best to do so with as little content as possible. Isn’t that what Twitter has taken advantage of? 280 characters. That’s all you can use to send a message. A new meaning to the word succinct.

That theory might certainly work with the reader of your content in some cases. But for Google and search rank it couldn’t be further from the truth. Google rates your website on authority and usefulness to the reader or visitor. Long form content supports this more than if your content is short and concise.

Of course there is still a demand for short-form blog posts, videos etc. But for marketers the call for long form content has been dramatic much to their surprise. The reason? Long form posts rank higher in search engines and in particular with Google.

As blogs perform the function, more and more, of being a widely-accepted source of information, the competition for audience’s attention has increased as well. Coming up on page 1 of search for one of your keywords is one way to get in front of your audience. And long form articles are making this easier.

Why Publish Long Form Content?

Blog posts or articles in the region of 1200 to 2000 words are generally considered to be long form content. But it seems that even this length is not enough. It’s a type of content inflation with the numbers of words an article needs has reaching between 3000 to 4000.

That is of course a huge amount more than the regular blog posts of 350 to 700 words that were the usual length up to very recent. After all it was thought that nobody read a post longer than this.

Of course it’s not a given that long form articles will be more popular. However, it has been found that long articles are shared more and that readers might come back to them more than once to absorb the message.

Long Form Content gets more Shares

A long form article will provide more information and with this more value. A reader who perceives value will want to share this with friends, co-workers and the world in general. In fact anybody active on Twitter will see that it’s not that easy to find good stuff to share. Most of it is outright rubbish. Finding a gem is difficult. Sharing one is even more important.

A carefully crafted article will take a reader from a novice to a better informed person. Whereas a short article can only but skim the topic a long form post will give true value. It makes total sense that by providing value people will want to share.

A person sharing content can collect good points from others if they share something of value. Sharing rubbish is of not really value. Regrettably a fair amount of the content out there is bland, superficial and not really worth the time it takes you to skim through it. Anything that offers up well presented information is a bonus.

It’s Invaluable for SEO

It’s easy to see why long form content would be a bonus for SEO. Writing a long article on a topic provides the opportunity to effortless include keywords but more importantly to insert long tail keywords without the copy becoming strained.

There are more reasons than being able to embed keywords in an easy to read manner. A long form blog post also keeps your users glued to your website for a longer time which is always an advantage when trying to rank with Google.

Google is always on the lookout for websites that provide authoritative content. Who do people turn to if they need advice and information? To websites that Google has tagged as authoritative. And of course one way to determine why a website might count as this is the length of content and the amount of time users spend on the website reading the content.

Long form content that is authoritative is comprehensive in the way it covers a topic. It presents as much as possible all you need to know about a subject matter and leaves no questions unanswered. If one can offer such complete cover on a topic it certainly contributes towards establishing yourself or your website as a knowledgeable expert and a resource to go back to when necessary.

It Helps with Conversion

It’s actually a logical next step. If long form content is a sign of you and your business being an expert on a topic then it stands to reason that your website would lead to more conversions. After all people want to buy goods or services from somebody who is perceived to be an expert.

Watch yourself during a sales process. Would you be more inclined to purchase your goods from a salesperson who knows what they are selling you or from somebody who glosses over your queries and questions because they don’t have any answers? It’s a no brainer.

Yet many people are happy to have totally minimalistic content on their website thinking that 80 or so words on the home page will persuade somebody to use their service or buy their products. Somehow this trend has become quite popular. Pretty images and a very few words are supposed to inspire confidence in the website visitor to hand over hundreds of dollars.

In fact sometimes it is incredibly difficult to find any useful information on a website that would allow one to make a decision to purchase. Why would one want to treat one’s website visitors with such little respect.

Quality is Of Course better than Quantity

Having expanded on the virtue of long form content it is hugely important though to remember that a bunch of hot air is not going to make any difference. Length for the sake of length is not going to cut it. Substance is still going to be a requirement.

Waffling on at length without having anything to add to create an article of value is not going to do your website any favours.

It is also important to keep an eye on your target audience. If your audience is not into reading long form content then no matter how good it is, it’s not going to appeal. People looking for visual material might not want to be faced with having to read endless articles. They want to see images or view videos. It’s important to realise that every audience is different and needs to be addressed in the language of their choice.

Perhaps after all it is more important to ensure there is value in what is being offered to readers rather than forcibly staying on point to provide long or short material. A blog post of 700 words can be just as good in delivering a strong message than a 3000 word article. It all depends on what you have to say to the reader visiting your site.