The length of content is the very first thing that you must take into consideration while writing a blog post.
While some content marketers believe that short, concise blog posts are great to grab the reader’s attention and gain instant gratification, others believe that long content containing important details, about a specific topic stands out from the rest.
Short Form Content vs Long Form Content – My Point of View
I believe that your content must be long enough to spread the message across, but must not be too long. Your content must serve the audience optimally and must not be outlined around what Google or your competitors think.
Time and research have proved it multiple numbers of times that long-form content helps gain better ranking in the SERPs.
Why Shorter Articles Have a Better Attention and Appeal?
Before you start considering my point of view and start creating long-form content, which is 5 times bigger than your original post, you must understand why short-form content works in some cases.
One important thing you must know is that humans have a shorter attention span. Even, over time, the attention span of humans has reduced to 8 seconds from 12 seconds.
A study conducted by Microsoft, confirms that the increasing popularity of mobile data, smartphones, messaging apps, and social media is the main reason behind the reducing attention span of humans.
Nowadays, content is available anytime and anywhere. Hence, it is tough for readers to focus on one particular subject for long.
While it is good that content is now available to readers for 24 x 7, the same has posed a new set of challenges to content marketer wanting to grab the audience’s attention.
It is quite easy to grab someone’s attention, but it is equally easier to lose the same. In such a situation, articles with shorter lengths serve as the perfect solution.
But well this is not the complete case!
Before you create concise and shorter length content, do check a study by BBC, which proves that a shorter span is not going to reap adequate results.
As per a study, the idea of measuring the average attention span is of not much benefit. This is particularly when no one till today has spoken to a goldfish nor there are studies, which suggest have short attention spans or short memories.
Source Global Research has stated in its study that the favorable shift in the context of snackable content being highly popular is completely wrong. The survey regarding the habits of different business people and market leaders illustrated that a major number of them are searching for substantial content posts.
Though short length articles online still remain the most preferred one, the survey concluded that the content of every length has its own audience.
Short or Long Form Articles – Which is Better for You?
If you are offering a rich experience to your audience, they will keep coming back, no matter what length of content you offer.
As per a survey conducted by Orbit Media, there are 1000 bloggers and it found that bloggers who post lengthier articles are likely to see adequate results.
But what is the adequate length of the content?
Well, as per the survey, the average length of the blog post was 1145 words, which is lengthier than the one in 2016, when it was 1054 words.
After taking into account these trends, you can clearly understand what kind of content is superior and what is the future of content marketing.
Though long-form content is not higher in quality than the shorter posts, it is convenient to see what they get favored more by search engines too, because they can solve the problems better.
So, now you understand why long-form of content is better than the shorter ones. Let us learn how they can bring more sales and traffic.
Why the Long Form of Content Generates More Sales and Traffic
Long content does not make you appear appealing to the audience. Also, you get preference on social media and Google.
When a blog lists a diverse range of topics, answers all queries from current and potential customers in-depth, you can be confirmed that it is going to go viral.
Here are some of the ways long-form content can outperform content of 500-750 words:
1. Longer Content Ranks Higher on Google by Earning Backlinks:
Longer content ranks higher in Google search results. This is because it gains backlinks.
When an article is published that addresses current matters of the industry, it will go viral.
And being a high authority on the topic, your post can earn natural backlinks from those who refer to the same on their blogs.
High-quality backlinks come from authority websites which further enhances the trust of your website in Google and that positions you higher in the search engine rankings.
Even, Brian Dean, the Founder of Backlinko assessed a million search results to find out the aspects that correlate most with rankings. He determined that a longer form of content usually outranks short content, making the length one of the influential factors of high rankings.
2. Earn Better Social Engagement:
Do you wish to create lasting buzz online?
The best way is to create content, which people want to share with their known ones. And that is difficult to do until you double down on offering value by helping the audience address their pain points.
Moz and BuzzSumo coupled up in 2015 to assess over one million web pages, articles, and posts to identify what aspects compel backlinks and social shares. The analysis disclosed that around 85% of the web content comprises less than 1000 words.
The survey identified that lengthier content contains more than 1000 words and regularly got natural backlinks and a higher number of shares.
Their research also disclosed that most of the new contents do not create social shares at all just because they are not ideal for sharing. But the content, which people share with their known ones or friends turned out to be highly-researched opinions or articles.
3. Longer Content Ranks for Thousands and Hundreds of Keywords:
Lengthier content performs excellently well in 2018, but this is not always the case. Before you move ahead to rank your content on the first page by just creating a 500-word post, stuffed with keywords, it is vital to consider other aspects.
Factors such as keyword density were the most important than the actual value that the content can offer. It resulted in a drastic drop in the quality of search results on the first page. Simply speaking, people are not able to find what they are searching for.
Eventually, Google caught up such bad tactics and therefore introduced its Panda and Penguin update, which eradicated such low-quality websites for a good reason. But this was introduced in the year 2012 and 2011 respectively.
Till today, the algorithm of Google has become much intelligent. It is because it now judges a content quality as well as it intends, thanks to RankBrain.
So, when content is published after thorough research, the long-form article has higher chances that will rank automatically for thousands of keywords related to the topic.
Practicing this will not just bring more traffic to your website, but also increases the likelihood of gaining more conversions.
Now, a rich piece of content of up to 4000 words, which answers all queries of the users, is believed to be more valuable than 5-6 short contents of up to 500 words that are doing the same, but separately.
4. Works Well to Build Brand Authority:
What do you think is most vital in SEO – authority or relevance?
In order to find the perfect answer to this question I conducted a study on Google and set out to understand how the search engine giant ranks the results.
What I discovered was that the content gained from authoritative brands usually ranks better.
Consider the example of the Huffington Post, Wire Cutter, and Forbes,
Why do you think their posts rank always and automatically on the first page of search results?
The answer is Brand authority.
Undoubtedly, there are hundreds of factors responsible for determining the position of search results, but when you gain relevance against the authority, the latter aspect wins.
Well, it implies that if you have entered the online market arena, chances are that Google is going to consider your words less valuable than someone who has been here for a while.
You may be an expert on a particular subject, but without trustworthiness and authority, it is going to be drastically difficult to rank for a specific keyword. For this reason, you must focus on creating a brand that holds a loyal group of followers.
And the better way is to build up loyal followers than regularly posting detailed, actionable guidance that solves most of the problems of the target market. Longer form content is ideal for this.
Does it Imply Short Blogs Don’t Work?
It does not mean that you cannot post short blogs. No, big brands do it all the time and create a crazy volume of engagement too.
Brands manage to create rich popularity on social media by regularly introducing fresh ideas and perspectives which connect with the audience.
Even, there are posts that rank on the first page on Google and they are less than 100 words.
There are numerous short blogs published every day by Disney World Parks to offer behind the scenes details, and their fans are crazy about it.
Their posts are not more than 200 words. Despite this, they have gained numerous shares, pins, and retweets.
Also, they have fans around the world. Hence, they can get away by doing numerous things an average company or person cannot.
Short Form vs. Long Form Content
In order to create a more compelling copy, I checked with numerous blogging experts, with distinct backgrounds, who have been into the business for years. I urged them to share personal results and experiences with both long and short form content, and which of them performed better.
As per Marc Andre, more success is achievable with long form content of around 2000-10,000 words. He believes that word count matters but never force you on writing content at a particular length. The length of the content may vary from topic to topic.
Another expert, Andrew Rudister believes that short-form content works better. The main reasons for this are:
With technological advancement, smartphones have become the main source of communication. Users use social media apps, text messaging, email, Siri, videos, and more to constantly search for businesses and products through smartphones in the local area.
Moreover, for many customers and businesses, websites friendly to mobiles are much affordable, easier, and faster. Hence, people are always searching for details on their phone that is simple and short to read.
Finally, people are not interested to reach many unnecessary details while quickly searching for something on their mobile, sharing details on social media apps or reading an email.
Some Tips to Create Long Form Content That is Compelling
When writing long-form content, you can write up to 5,000 words on a particular topic. But to make sure that your content stays valuable, here are some tips to consider:
- Always spend more time researching than writing.
- Try to create your posts detailed while always introducing a new perspective.
- Create emotionally compelling content and incorporate CTAs to gain more shares.
- Monetize the content but make sure you don’t sacrifice your users.
- Avoid using misleading titles as they do not boost the credibility of your content.
- Design numerous case studies, opinion pieces, and in-depth guides, which are exclusive to the industry.
- Offer credit wherever it is necessary. This can help you earn loyal customers.
- Always give more importance to quality than quantity. If you are delivering the best user experience, you can earn fast money.
To Sum Up
It’s true that short form content works well in a few cases, but they are not for everyone. The length of content depends on the kind of business you are running, the kind of audience you have, and how much information a particular topic needs.
You can even share your thoughts with us through comments.