If you are reading this article and are a business owner, you are probably researching which content ranks best on search engines. Fair enough, you are doing the correct thing.
More importantly, you have landed on the right article that can help you identify which form of content has a better chance of ranking on Google’s SERPs.
For the longest time ever, every resource article on SEO tips, best practices or content marketing has one point which asks everyone to create long-format SEO optimized content.
Have you ever wondered what is the reasoning or logic behind the same? Why does every SEO expert or digital marketing professional emphasize the length of the content?
According to experts at a reputed Atlanta SEO agency, there is a lot of confusion regarding the length of the content and the effect it has on rankings. While long-format content is better, there is more to it than meets the eye.
In this article, we are going to look at whether or not long-form content in SEO really delivers results or is it one of those things that are just pursued blindly by everyone.
Long Format Content: Why the Hype?
Firstly, let us begin by talking about what long-form or format content is all about. According to our good friends at AHREFS, long-form content is an article, blog, guide, how-to, or listicle that is over a thousand words long.
See the thing is that for most of us, long-form content typically starts at 2000+ words and can go up to anything like five or even ten thousand.
On the contrary, short-form content is below 1000 words and lies in the 600–800-word bracket.
Why does everyone obsess over long-format content? Let us look at what happens or what the underlying assumption is when you create long-format content-
- Comprehensive– Everyone on search engines is looking at comprehensive results for their queries. Long-form content allows you to cover all probable questions on a specific topic. You can space out the content, integrate an FAQ section, and so on.
- Real Estate for Keywords– You might have heard about keyword stuffing. With long-format content, you have more digital real estate to space out the focus keywords, LSI keywords, and add in the SEO phrases that you want to.
- Images, Infographics, and Videos– The more sections and space you have in your text article, the better can be the opportunity to improve it with the help of images, videos, and infographics. This can help with image ranking, as well as infographic sharing.
- Internal Linking– Most SEO experts agree that internal linking is one of the leading SEO best practices to succeed. If you have more terms and related keywords, you have tons of opportunities to link the article internally with other ranking ones.
- Authority Building– Every brand wants to set itself up as an authority in its niche. You cannot be an authority if you are unable to demonstrate your expertise and experience. The only way you can do that is by creating lengthy guides, listicles, and how-to-articles.
Long format content pieces give you more space to put in your keywords, add the images, work on the internal linking and present your brand as an authority in your industry niche.
Long-Form Versus Short-Form: Which Content Works Best?
There is a lot of confusion regarding this topic and rightly so. In this section, we will try our best to offer a detailed clarification on which works better- long-form or short-form?
First things first, leading SEO experts point out that rather than focus on the length of the content, the emphasis should be on whether a particular piece of content is able to satisfy the search intent of the users or not.
Rather than asking whether you need to write a 5000+ word article to rank for this keyword, ask how will I be able to address the concerns of the readers.
By using the right SEO tools and doing proper keyword research, you will be able to identify which topic, niche, or question deserves what kind of word count.
Analytically breaking down ranking articles, examining their word count, seeing the areas they have covered, and focussing on the content gaps will be able to provide a detailed and comprehensive understanding of how long or short your content needs to be.
5 Credible Ways to Determine the Length of your Content Articles
1. Assess the ranking articles for the topic and keyword-
The first thing that you need to do is use an SEO tool, type in the keyword and see which websites and pages are ranking for the same. Study the first ten search results that are ranking and compare the word count of their content. If you see that there is an average of 2000+ words in every article, you know that in order to rank, you need to match up to that.
2. Understand how different content formats and types work-
There are different forms of content that are published online. You have how-to tutorial articles, extensive listicles, explanatory guides, definition content, and versus the type of content. If you are writing an extensive guide on something, surely it cannot be just limited to 500 words. If you are writing a review, you might be able to offer a comprehensive view in less than 1000 words.
3. Find out more about what the reader or user will find appealing-
Leading SEO experts point out that whenever you are creating content for your business, you need to use a tool that can help you with knowledge on content gaps. Is there something relevant that I need to add to the piece that should be your top priority? Focus on the user’s journey, channel their concerns and put yourself in their shoes to create the best type of content there is.
4. Write well and edit all the extra ‘fluff’-
The best SEO content writers never see the number of words when they write. This acts as a distraction and limits what they have set out to do. Make sure that you are focussing on what is required, rather than how much you have to write. Once you are done, edit and review the work carefully. If you cannot do the same, ask a senior writer or editor to do it for you.
The Final Takeaway
Creating content that drives traffic, boosts sales conversions, and positively impacts SEO metrics is easier said than done. It requires years of expertise, experience, control over the language, and an excellent understanding of marketing. We hope that this article has been able to address many of your concerns regarding which content form is better- long or short. If you have any specific questions that we can help you with, please let us know in the comments below.