Crafting a long 2000-word blog post might be a taxing endeavor, but it’s undoubtedly worth the effort. Search engines love long-form content because it drives traffic, boosts engagement, and builds credibility. This positions your company as a knowledgeable leader in your niche.
And you don’t even have to take our word for it because it’s proven. Read on and understand the magic behind long-form content and why it’s a keystone of success, especially with our SEO services.
What is Long-Form Content?
There are myriad definitions for it, but at its core, long-form content is any content that takes longer than average to read — typically more than 96 seconds. When written, a long-form piece is usually anywhere between 1500 words and 5000 words and could be in the form of article-style how-to guides to eBooks.
However, how long a long-form article should be is subjective to marketers’ preferences, content type, and targeted audience.
Some marketers consider an 800-word article long, while others say it must be at least 2000 words. To determine the ideal long-form article length for your brand, try reviewing and estimating how long the top ten pages ranking for your keywords on SERPs were or use content writing tools for SEO like SurferSEO.
Long-Form and Short-Form Content: What’s the Difference?
As noted, long-form content takes longer to create and consume. When written, it’s typically above 1500 words. It also offers more insight on a topic.
It’s the best content strategy to maximize when:
Marketing High-Ticket Items or Services That Require More Commitment to Buy
A high-ticket item is a premium value, premium price product, or service. It could be anything from jewelry, sporting gear to online webinars. Although it offers excellent value to the buyer, the price tag can be pretty off-putting to some consumers.
And here’s where long-form content saves the day.
Because it has a higher word count, long-form content allows you to explain your product’s differentiating features in-depth and detail how they benefit your prospects. This steers their focus from price to product value.
Handling B2B Sales
B2B sale cycles are usually more complex than B2C and can take anywhere from a few days to weeks. This is because more decision-makers are involved, making the purchase cycle intricately collaborative.
Long-form content gives you the upper hand when marketing to B2B audiences since you can better break down how your solutions align and improve their current and future operations. It helps convince even the most fastidious decision-makers to greenlight a purchase.
Selling Technical Products or Those That Require Information-Based Marketing
Long-form content is the best way to educate a prospect about a product with multiple complex features or explain at length how a technical product works. It also comes in handy when marketing a service that demands a special emphasis on quality.
At the Beginning of the Sales Cycle
For multiple reasons, long-form content is the easiest way to raise brand awareness at the beginning of your sales cycle.
First of all, long-form content is flexible and can be in different formats, including brand storytelling. This allows you to tell prospects all about your enterprise in one piece.
Also, it offers more real estate for keywords and backlinks, conversely increasing online visibility and allowing you to link to different pages on your site where prospects can learn more about your offerings.
When written, the average word count for short-form content is usually about 1000 words and may include buzzwords and images. The popularity of short-form content stems from the fact that most audiences have a short-attention-span.
Common formats include short blogs, social media posts, and news articles. Short-form content is best used when:
- The audience is well-familiarized with and trusts your brand and its offerings
- Marketing common or affordable products and services
- Creating content for marketing strategies such as PPC ads
- Customers are ready to make the purchase
How Long-Form Content Boosts Your SEO
Now that you know what long-form content is and where it best applies, let’s check out how successful long-form content can improve your overall SEO:
Longer Content Shows Up First in the SERPS
If you’re looking to boost your site’s online visibility and lead conversion, long-form content must be part of your marketing strategy. Why? Because it’s statistically proven to rank higher in SERPS.
A serpIQ survey on 20,000 keywords found the top ten results on SERPs were about 2,000 words and more. A separate survey shows that when you create long-form content, it drives nearly four times more conversion than average length content.
Long-form content gives you more real estate to incorporate more keywords naturally, making it both reader and SEO-friendly. This boosts your online visibility and conversion rate by a significant margin. Also, long-form content increases dwell time on your site.
Dwell time is how long someone spends on a site. Given that Google often uses dwell time to determine site value to the target audience, long-form content is a jewel to your SERP ranking and conversion rate.
Longer Content Can Earn More Backlinks
Like Google, other content and link creators often prioritize sites offering the most value to their readers. Good thing long-form content breaks down complex topics into bite-sized pieces every reader can easily digest.
When you have quality long-form content that is in-depth, other content creators are more likely to link to your page. This earns you more backlinks, increasing your site value, credibility, and crawlability.
Longer Content Gets More Social Shares Than Short Content
Longer content doesn’t just earn more links; it also gets more shares on Twitter, Facebook, and other social platforms. The connection between long-form pieces and increased social shares is value-based.
Like content creators, readers also want to share valuable information with their friends and followers on their socials. Since long-form content dives deeper into a topic and effectively addresses readers’ pain points, readers are more willing to share it on social media.
Long-form content packs more punch, which is what hawk-eyed readers look for. Naturally, readers are more inclined to share content they’ve found impactful, which they know other people will find helpful as well.
As Brain Dean put it, there’s something inherently more shareable and linkable about a list of 100 items than a list of 10. It tells you readers are drawn to insanely long list posts because they give more comprehensive insights.
While you can always capitalize on shortlist posts, it’s the in-depth content that wins the day on social channels.
But it would be best if you got it right first. Nothing is as repulsive to online readers as long-form blog posts that read robotically. But don’t fret — the content marketers at Trusted Search Marketing have a few tips that will help you write engaging long-form content.
7 Tips for Writing Stand-Out Long-Form Content for Your Website
Even though longer content generally performs better, there’s more to it than crafting a 2,500-word blog post and posting it on your site.
Here are what you should do when you want to create long-form content for your website:
1. Form Longer Paragraphs Incomprehensible Sections
While long-form content increases visibility, no one wants to read through long, never-ending blocks of text. So, to increase the value of your longer content for both Google and the target audience, break up long paragraphs into small, bite-sized three-four sentence sections
It makes content visually appealing and less academic to the reader, increasing their likelihood of reading through the whole blog. Plus, breaking up long paragraphs into smaller ones presents an opportunity to introduce new, contrasting ideas under the same subtopic, providing the reader with more comprehensive information on a particular issue.
It also offers them a break to ponder what they’ve read before proceeding to the next section.
2. Section Off Main Ideas
Besides short, comprehensible paragraphs, incorporate headings and subheadings to section off main ideas. It’s essential because, on average, people only read 28% of web text.
This means online readers rarely read content word by word but instead skim through content picking out the sections that address their pain points.
Breaking up your long-form content with H2s and H3s keeps it well-organized, allowing such readers to quickly find the info they need even in a 5000-word article. For instance, if you’re new to long-form content and want to learn how it might benefit your enterprise, the H2 how long-form content boosts your SEO above will make finding relevant information a breeze.
Besides, headers and subheaders also enable content writers to organize their thoughts and create high-quality, engaging content.
3. Make Sure Thoughts are Written Down and Organized
You may craft the most comprehensive article on a topic, but if the ideas aren’t well organized, it beats the purpose of writing it. Imagine if this piece was laid out in a random style, with benefits and tips on writing longer content all mixed up! It would be counterintuitive to your efforts to understand how to craft long-form content, right?
The same applies to your content.
The more organized your ideas are, the easier it’ll be for the target reader to find what they’re looking for and enjoy reading through it. Ensure your ideas dovetail throughout the content to keep the reader engaged from the word go.
Craft a catchy title, followed by a captivating introduction that briefly leads the reader to the main topic. Start with the strongest ideas, and end the content with a solid conclusion tying up all ideas together.
4. Create a Description or Explanation in Each Section
Since most readers generally skim through content, crafting long paragraphs filled with fluff will only make them dismiss it. When writing a longer blog for marketing, try to end each section by briefly explaining the main takeaway for the reader from each paragraph.
5. Maintain a Conversational Tone
Using a conversational tone in your content makes it sound personal, and 247% of readers love it so much, they’ll read through a lengthy article if it’s written in this tone. So, aim to create conversational pieces.
They increase readership and dwell times and boost the likelihood of audience engagement with your brand. To create long, conversational articles, keep paragraphs short, ask questions, use the first person, or tell stories.
6. Use a Captivating Hook to Grab the Reader’s Attention in the Introduction
Make sure you have an attention-grabbing introduction because, let’s face it, if you were to open a 3000-word blog post with a boring introduction, you’d probably ditch it. Well, this applies to your readers too. The title attracts traffic, but readers will click out if the opening isn’t catchy.
So, craft compelling introductions that motivate the reader to continue scrolling down. To craft irresistible hooks, you could ask a question, share an interesting stat or fact about the topic, a quote, or an anecdote that you’ll use to drive your point throughout the piece.
7. Add Visuals to Break Up Longer Sections
Using images and videos is not only a great way to break up longer content, but it’s also excellent in making content more digestible. Incorporating pictures or step-by-step videos in your content makes it easier for the reader to understand how something works or why a particular process is of the essence.
We’re steadily moving into the era of visual content, and incorporating it into your long-form content will undoubtedly make it more attractive to search engines and target audiences.
Content Writing Tools for SEO
Here are some recommendations for tools you could use to improve long-form content writing:
SEMRush’s SEO Writing Assistant Tool
This is an extension designed to provide key recommendations for content optimization. It offers tips on keyword optimization, proper word count, and even ideal tone based on Google’s top ten best-performing articles. It also quickly evaluates SEO quality and is free.
This cloud-based SEO optimization tool allows you to optimize keywords and analyze on-page SEO quality by comparing your content to top-ranking articles on SERPs. It uses natural language processing to refine results and provides data-driven recommendations on what’s missing from your content.
What About Video Content? Is it Better Than Text?
Video is the next big trend in the world of content marketing, and it’s easy to see why.
For starters, it’s a fact that more than 60% of searches on Google display videos in the results. Secondly, Wordstream found that video-integrated content gains three times more backlinks than content without video.
A survey by Wistia shows pages with video content attract twice as long dwell times as those without videos. On top of that, Forrester says video results are more likely to rank organically on Google than text.
These are just a few stats that prove that online users and Google love video content. In line with this, you should strive to integrate video with your long-form articles and make it a best practice for all your future content. This way, you’ll get the best of both video and text content, which is strategic in an ever-changing digital marketing field.
But if you aren’t sold out to the power of video content, here are five more reasons why you should add video to your content.
Five More Reasons to Add Video to Your Content
- Video is more immersive and allows marketers to better break down even the most complex topics into easy-to-understand content
- Readers may skim through long-form content, but an interactive, well-put-together video is hard to skip
- Videos get a higher click rate
- It’s highly versatile, meaning marketers have more freedom of expression
- Video humanizes brands in a digitally integrated world of business
Long-form content is one of the most effective ways to bring quality traffic to your site. Our Lancaster SEO Company knows that the higher word count offers more real estate to incorporate high-ranking keywords and position your brand as an industry thought leader.
Use short, comprehensible paragraphs, keep your ideas well organized from start to finish, including videos and maximize our tips above to create easily-readable long-form content that retains readers’ attention and moves them to action.
If you aren’t sure how to get started with writing long-form content, let’s chat!