Why long-form content is great for SEO

SEO doesn’t need to be a minefield. Find out why long-form content is great for SEO and why your brand needs it now.

And ‘experts’ everywhere are lamenting ‘the age of short attention spans’. So who’d want to sit down and read a long-form piece of content?

The surprising answer is ‘a whole lot of people’!

That’s because, when people buy a product or engage a service, they generally want to learn about you and your brand first. And often, the best way to do that is through long-form content. Especially if you create valuable, thought leadership content, it allows them to get to know, like and trust you.

PLUS, long-form content is great for SEO (search engine optimisation), so it can really increase your search ranking.
But if you’re still hesitant to invest in long-form content, let’s talk through the benefits in a bit more detail.

There are many varied definitions of long-form content. Most experts consider articles of over 1,200 words as ‘long-form’.

However, long-form content isn’t just about word count (although that’s a big piece of the puzzle) – at least, not if you do it right. Great long-form content also involves SEO basics like:

  • targeted keyword research
  • appropriate use of keywords in your page heading, sub-heads, body copy and any off-page optimisation
  • optimised images
  • both inbound and outbound links

Plus, while SEO will get your long-form content in front of potential customers, it won’t keep them reading. For that, you need a strong content strategy to ensure the content you create resonates with your readers.

The longer your content is, the more opportunity you have to include relevant keywords while still making it read well for people. This is a huge part of what SEO is.

Additionally, a search engine’s top priority is to connect people with high-quality content, and one of the ways it measures this is ‘how long readers stay on the page’. Longer content encourages your readers to keep reading, which then keeps them on your page for longer.

And let’s face it: your content can be SEO-ed to the max. But if readers don’t stay on your page, return to it and/or share your content, they’ll never convert into leads in the long run.

Long-form content works for several reasons. Firstly, it increases user engagement, because the longer someone spends reading an article, the more invested they get in it. That makes them more likely to stay longer on your site.

Secondly, long-form content increases a reader’s trust by positioning you as a thought leader in your field.  Because your article gives them a credible resource to draw on for advice, they’re more likely to share it with their friends.

Thirdly, if you make your long-form content scannable, you can give readers an in-depth look into a specific topic without overwhelming them. And if they already know a bit about that topic, they can skip past the basics to the more in-depth information further into the article.

Finally – and perhaps best of all, from an SEO standpoint – long-form content allows you to rank higher for more keyword phrases. The graph below shows you the average content length of the top 10 results of a Google search. ALL of the top results are in the 2000+ word range!

Before you start to think about cost, consider how much work creating a GOOD long-form content piece actually involves. Let’s break it down:

  • Firstly, you need a strong content strategy to determine what to write about, why and for whom…
  • Then you need research (lots of it!)…
  • Next is writing the first draft…
  • Then editing…
  • Then refining based on feedback…
  • Then proofreading…
  • Then image search…
  • Then creating the graphics
  • Then publishing… etc, etc, etc.

Not surprisingly, with all that work, you are looking at a price range of between $1,000-$1,500+ for a piece of good content. The good news is that you can then repurpose that content in many ways at no cost. You can use it over and over, again and again, to really get your money’s worth!

For example, from a single piece of long-form content, you can:

  • create 4-5 different social posts, each about different parts of the piece, which you can then each publish once or twice per month
  • combine that piece with 1-2 other smaller blog posts to create an ebook and use it to generate leads to get email subscribers
  • try writing an opinion piece about the content, and then publishing it either as a LinkedIn Pulse article or as a guest blog on another site.

Regardless, that original content piece becomes your cornerstone, on which you can base a significant volume of other content to help distribute it.

The possibilities really are endless!

There you have it: the beauty of long-form content. You’ve seen how it can increase both your SEO rankings and your potential customers’ trust in you and your brand.

So although, yes, short pieces of content are on the rise, nothing will bring you better results than a strategically distributed, high-quality, long-form content piece.

If you’d like to get on the long-form content train, we can help. Get in touch today!

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