When it comes to blog content, size really does matter. Long articles keep people on your page for a longer period of time, and search engines tend to rank them higher than short posts. In fact, according to the Orbit Media Studios third annual survey of bloggers, the length of the average blog post has risen about 19 percent over the last year, and bloggers who produce longer posts report stronger results compared to bloggers who create shorter posts.
Understanding Long-Form Content
Before you can optimize the length of your posts, you need to understand what long-form content is. Not everyone defines long-form content the same way. Some bloggers consider anything over 1,000 words to be long-form content, while others set a limit of 1,500 or 2,000 words as the absolute minimum.
Effective long-form content isn’t just about length, though. Old black-hat SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing and writing long passages of useless filler content don’t deliver any benefits and can actually harm your search engine rankings and shareability. Instead, focus on adding more value to your site instead of just more words. Posts that delve into the nitty-gritty details of a topic work effectively as long-form content, while posts that meander off onto tangents don’t tend to perform as well.
Search Engines Love Long-Form Content
Ranking at the top of search engines for a given keyword is the goal of many bloggers and website developers, but there’s a lot of mystery about what tactics actually get you there. A 2012 study by SerpIQ looked at search engine rankings for more than 20,000 individual keywords and found that content length correlated strongly with how well specific pages ranked. On average, pieces of content ranking in the top 10 in search were consistently over 2,000 words.
One reason long articles perform so well in search engines is that well-crafted longer pieces tend to include more long-tail keywords. These multi-word keyword phrases get you hits whenever someone types those exact words into a search engine, and they also indicate to search engines that your content is completely on-topic for your niche.
Long-form content also tends to garner more backlinks than shorter content because other sites link to it as an authoritative reference or as in-depth background material for their own articles. Having plenty of quality backlinks is another well-known tactic to boost your own site’s search engine results.
Boosting Engagement with Long Articles
Long-form content doesn’t merely cater to impersonal search engines; it also helps keep actual readers more interested and engaged. Visitors view your site as an authority and put more trust in what you say when you have long-form content. People are also more likely to share long-form content on social media, which brings in new readers and gives search engines another clue that your content is valuable.
Savvy modern bloggers don’t look just at how many people visit their pages. Modern bloggers also have to consider how long visitors stay on particular pages, whether they click through to other pages on the site and if they actually convert from visitors to buyers. Long-form content performs better for all of these metrics, making longer pieces the best choice for bloggers who want to grow their sites and increase their overall revenue.