Internet Marketing Tips

What's the deal with long-form content anyway?

Are you familiar with the term content is king? Maybe you’re more familiar with quality over quantity. Whatever you may have heard, content is a big deal. More than just being a big deal though, content is crucial in the world of SEO. Of course, once you bring up content, things get…sticky. Keep reading to learn our opinions on long-form content, and how it could help your business!

What Is Long-Form Content?

The term “long-form content” can inspire debate among digital marketers. Everyone has an opinion on what it is, and what it should be. To us, long-form content is content that’s anywhere around 750-1000 words. Best practices for web copy, as well as blogs, indicate that you should have at least 500 words on a page if you want Google to even think about indexing it. Other companies may say that a page should be a minimum of 1,000 words, which would make every single piece of content long-form.

What makes long-form content complicated is it’s not meant to be short and sweet. That idea goes against everything that people are used to, especially digitally. It’s no coincidence that many aspects of advertising and marketing have become bite-sized. Part of that plays into the idea that people of this current generation have a short attention span. People read less and are much more likely to skim an article. Sure, skimming can work, but it’s not the best way to digest content or information. So if everyone is creating shorter and shorter content, why would you ever want to create long-form content?

Do I Need To Write Long-Form Content?

Whether you “need” to write long-form content is not a yes or no answer. When executed with a well-planned content marketing strategy, long-form content can be very successful. Before you ever put pen to paper (or hands to your keyboard!) you need to know what your objective is. What are you trying to communicate to your customers or leads?

When written correctly, yes, long-form content can be a key part of a digital marketing strategy. One of the main reasons we write is to communicate. In some way or form, we all have something to say.

What makes long-form content work is what you’re writing about and how you’re doing it. Not every subject needs 1,000 words written about it. And not every subject can be contained in a 500-word blog post either! If you want to give long-form content a try, start by adding a longer blog post into your content calendar.

After you’ve posted and promoted it, look at your results. Compared to your last blog posts, was your long-form blog less or more engaging?

Quality Vs. Quantity

Here’s where the merits of long-form content start becoming very clear, at least to us. It’s all about quality vs. quantity. In our eyes, there is nothing worse than rambling content. Look, if your content requires an index, it’s probably too long!

Sure, you can write a 5,000-word blog post about tractors, but that doesn’t mean you should! Writing just to fill the page is the worst kind of writing around and much of long-form content suffers from it.

Yes, there is value to long-form content in the eyes of Google (we’ll get to that later) but you can’t write for Google. We cannot stress this enough! If you want to be seen as an authority, it’s all about quality. There is no point in churning out mediocre content, just so Google will rank your page or post better.

You’re not writing for Google. You’re writing for your readers and audience. It’s by writing naturally for the people that read your content that Google comes into play. True, quality long-form content tells a story. This is a story that can’t be told in 300 words, or 500 words because you’re so passionate about it.

One of the most important parts of writing is tone. Tone can be interpreted in several different ways. For one, tone is the tone of your writing. Is it stiff and conservative or are you more playful with your audience? Another aspect of tone is voice. By voice, we mean how the reader hears you in their head. The best writers have a distinct voice to go along with their tone of writing.

The SEO Value Of Long-Form Content

Okay, so now we understand that quality is more important when it comes to long-form content. So where does the SEO value of long-form content come in? According to Moz, Google made a significant algorithm change back in August of this year.

Yes, Google is constantly making changes to their search engine algorithms, but about once or twice a year, a major algorithm change comes around. When something like this happens, a lot of businesses start panicking. Their rankings are dropping, and they can’t figure out why. They’ve dropped from the first page of Google for seemingly no reason.

No matter what kind of website you have, Google views it as a tool for user accessibility. Yes, your site needs to be responsive and mobile friendly and you need an SSL. We’ve discussed all this before. But another important part of SEO is if you’re viewed as an authority for your field. Google determines this by the quality of the content on your site.

Have pages that are less than 500-words all around your site? Google may consider you less of an authority as a result. This is where long-form content can come in handy. An authority has lots of helpful information on their website. Maybe it’s answering frequently asked questions, or doing a step by step tutorial in a blog. Writing engaging long-form content can be a fantastic SEO tool.

Want to start writing engaging long-form content? Contact us below!