Pretty Woman Long Form Content Drive More Traffic

Does Long-Form Content Increase Traffic?

Do you struggle to rank for keywords that should be easy? Do find it difficult to attract an audience to your site, even though you think you’re offering awesome information? If yes, then you should seriously consider adding more long-form content. In short, long-form content can potentially make you look like more of an expert in your field, increase the likelihood of engagement, improve SERP ranking, and increase your audience. Why? Well, because of your long-form content, your audience will see you as an authority on the subject. All of this works together in harmony and translates into better brand awareness. In short, does long-form content increase traffic? Yes.

What is Long-Form Content?

There are a variety of ways to define long-form content. However, everyone seems to agree on one point: if you’re only pushing past the 500-word mark to appease search engines, then you’re not publishing long-form content.

In my book, anything less than 1,200 words doesn’t qualify as long-form content. That being said, I typically aim for 1,500 words, since 1,200 is the bare minimum in my mind. This way, you’ll have a competitive advantage with a little extra cushion just to be safe.

This arbitrary word count likely has you scratching your head. Why not go all in and set a goal of 2,000 words for your long-form content? Not including this article, my average word count is just shy of 1,800 words per post, and the majority of my posts exceed the 1,200-word minimum.

A New Recognized Benefit

The benefits of long-form content in the digital world started to take shape in the mid-2010s. This may seem hard to believe, but in the early 2010s, many thought that digital long-form content was a bad idea. Naomi Sharp writes,

When readers started moving to the internet, media analysts thought long-form journalism was in trouble. Attention spans were going to shrivel. Readers wanted short, they wanted snappy, they wanted 140 characters and not much more (though a listicle on the side couldn’t hurt). Who would want to scroll through an 8,000-word article on an iPhone screen?

Many quickly realized that the looming “death” of long-form content was exaggerated, and digital marketers began to realize and understand the value of long-form content for both users and search engines alike.

Long-Form Content Increase Traffic

The SEO Benefit

The exact algorithm that Google uses to determine how pages rank is a mystery for the most part. However, curious engineers can tinker and experiment for days on end to gain some insight into what ranks well and why.

Long-Form Content Increases Traffic & Helps Your Content Rank

In 2020, Brian Dean of Backlinko 11.8 million Google search results and found that content ranking on the first page averaged around 1,500 words. It is worth noting that this relationship between word count and ranking is nothing more than correlation and that there is no causation here whatsoever.

Because Google Says So

You can learn a lot about Google if you keep a close eye on the Google Search Central blog. Take for instance the following post made by Pandu Nayak, a technical staff member at Google and creator of the Panda algorithm update:

Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty suggestive clue that long-form content will likely rank well. Nayak also supports the use of markup and encourages the inclusion of information about the company’s logo when drafting long-form content. Each of these recommendations will likely increase the likelihood of getting your content to rank.

Long Form Content Backlinks

Long-Form Content Typically Earns More Backlinks

Not only do search engines naturally love long-form content, but there’s an extra SEO benefit that comes with writing a couple of thousand words – more backlinks. These extra backlinks will also help you rank higher on the SERPs.

Moz conducted a study that found that there is a direct relationship between the length of content and the number of backlinks earned. These findings only add to the pile of evidence that long-form content equates to effective SEO.

Don’t Take Anything for Granted

Before you start typing away with these valuable insights, thinking that speed-typing 3,000 words about how to lose the baby weight gained during pregnancy in six weeks will earn you the top spot on the first page, think again. While there is a strong correlation between long-form content and high rankings on the SERPs, nothing is guaranteed.

The reality is that Google’s algorithm accounts for a wide array of factors. While I could ramble on about all of the various factors that influence how it ranks content, that’s not the purpose of this post.

With all else being equal, well-written long-form content should improve the chances that you’ll rank for relevant terms. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Ranking for a specific keyword is a probability game. Your odds increase when you produce long-form content. That’s the only guarantee here.

Long-Form Content & Conversion Rates

If you run a blog that delivers a call-to-action, whether you want to build an email list or sell something, then you’ll find that long-form content can impact your conversion rate.

A Timeless Study

There’s a timeless study that showcases the effectiveness of long-form content and its ability to generate more conversions. The firm in the study wanted to increase signups via its website. The firm contracted on the conversion process to a handful of professionals who engaged in a series of A/B testing. The professionals found that the homepage with long-form content yielded a conversion rate that was 37.5% better than the original design.

Same Old Story

The effectiveness of long-form content in the marketing world isn’t isolated to the digital era. A few of you might be old enough to remember getting direct mail marketing that went on for pages. While these mailings were expensive, marketing professionals found that lengthy and wordy pitches yielded better results.

Long Form Content David Ogilvy

For instance, David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising,” said: “All my experience says that for a great many products, long copy sells more than short… [A]dvertisements with long copy convey the impression that you have something important to say, whether people read the copy or not.”

Dr. Charles Edwards, the former dean of the Graduate School of Retailing at New York University, supports Ogilvy – “The more facts you tell, the more you sell. An advertisement’s chance for success invariably increases as the number of pertinent merchandise facts included in the advertisement increases.”

In his book, Tested Advertising Methods, John Caples writes: “Advertisers who can trace the direct sales results from their ads use long copy because it pulls better than short copy… Brief, reminder-style copy consisting of a few words or a slogan does not pull inquiries as well as long copy packed with facts and reader benefits about your product or service.”

The belief that “longer is better” seems to apply both online and in the world of old-school advertising. If your site isn’t converting as well as you want it to, try adding some long-form content and see if that makes a difference.

Social Media LOVES Long-Form Content

One of the most effective ways to attract a large audience and increase both engagement and conversions is to create content that people want to share via social media. Long-form content has also historically performed better than short-form content in the above metrics.

Neil Patel ran an experiment with a collection of his content on Quick Sprout. Patel found that out of the 327 blog posts he wrote, those with less than 1,500 words earned an average of 174 Tweets and 59 likes on Facebook. Whereas the content that surpassed the 1,500-word threshold earned an average of 293 Tweets and 75 likes.

While this is only one instance, it was enough to convince Patel that long-form content performs better than short-form content on social media.

NewsWhip also found that people are more likely to share long-form content than short-form content. They discovered that one of the most shared articles in its study was a transcription of a speech by author Neil Gaiman about the importance of reading. The article surpassed 3,500 words and earned more than 220,000 shares. That’s pretty impressive if I say so myself!

Tips on Long-Form Content

When it comes to producing long-form content, here are a few helpful tips.

Not All Content Should Be Long-Form Content

Long-form content is an awesome way to establish your site as an authority in your field and can help you rank. However, not everything you publish should be long-form content. In fact, some topics don’t require lengthy articles.

For instance, there’s no need to write 2,000+ words explaining a viral video that you share. Instead, remember the 3-C’s of effective writing: clear, concise, and cohesive.

Avoid the Middle

It’s never a good thing if you find yourself sitting on the fence between two options. Believe it, or not, it’s actually better to pursue one of the two extremes when it comes to length. You should either whip up a short post that readers can quickly digest or use long-form content that people will reference as a reliable resource for a specific topic. There’s no in-between here.

According to Kevin Delaney, a co-founder of Quartz, articles that fall between 500 and 800 words are likely to flop. Knowing this, Delaney recommends either short or long-form content – but nothing in between.

Long Form Content Quality

Quality, Not Quantity

While it may be tempting to sacrifice quality in exchange for a lengthy article, you must resist the urge. Your audience won’t appreciate a pile of “fluff” just for the sake of making an article longer. In fact, this is one the worst things you can do in my mind.

Furthermore, if you rush through a long-form piece to save time, you will likely end up with a piece filled with typos and grammatical errors. The search engines will likely recognize this and penalize your site. This was one of the hardest things for me to grasp since I like to create content quickly. However, I no realize that in order to move fast, you need to move slowly.

Long-Form Content Can Make for a Quick Read

If you hope to appeal to those with ADD or those with limited time with your long-form content, fear not, you can make it work.

You’ll want to start by adding sub-headings that will make your content easy to scan. If you haven’t noticed, your currently reading a piece of long-form content. I’m optimistic that this article has been easy to digest so far. If this is the case, which I hope it is, the subheadings deserve all the credit.

You should also consider opening any long-form content with a high-level summary. Doing so provides readers with the general gist of your article without forcing them to read the entire thing. The Daily Mail does a great job of this. Don’t believe me? Click into any article on the Daily Mail website and you’ll find a series of bullet points at the top that summarize the entire article.

Finally, it is a wise idea to break up your long-form content with images. Why? Well, who doesn’t love looking at cool stuff? Okay, the images you include should relate to the material you’re covering, but you get the idea. However, there’s no shame in using memes when appropriate because they add humor to the content and provide your audience with a quick snapshot of what the subsection is about.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re on the hunt for a way to get a struggling website off the ground, then look no further than long-form content. Seriously though, you should give it a shot. You will likely find that you reach a wider audience and can potentially establish your site as an authority within your niche. This, in turn, will help you build brand awareness online. However, long-form content still requires adequate distribution, a strong keyword strategy, and a catchy title.

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