Back in 2013, Google shocked everyone with the news – it prefers long-form content. The question is in these days Why Long-Reads Content? The Google Webmasters website references an MIT study that discovered that 10% of users’ daily information needs to be involved in learning information on broad topics. Google shifted its focus towards longer content that delivers value. Essentially, this was the reason why now everybody is talking about the dominance of long-reads over short-reads.
However, from the standpoint of expenses, it is clear that the longer the content is, the more costly it will be. Besides, who reads blogs anyway?
First of all, let’s clear the confusion around the irrelevance of blogs by sharing some important data. According to the statistics by HubSpot:
- 80% of internet users interact with brands using both social media and blogs
- blogs bring 434% more indexed pages and increase the number of indexed links by 97%
- companies that are actively blogging have 67% more leads than those who don’t
Now you see that, even though blogging might be considered an outdated strategy, it is still relevant and delivers very good results.
As for the long-form content, this topic needs more in-depth analysis. So, let’s dive in and try to decipher the most crucial reasons why long-reads should have a solid place in your content marketing strategy.
Wait. How Long is the Long-Read?
Fair question, let’s start with it.
Of course, the length of your content also depends a lot on how much of it your audience usually reads. If they browse your articles until the middle and then leave, you might not want to post content that’s too long.
Nevertheless, for SEO purposes, the ideal length of a post is 2,100 – 2,400 words, and about 2,500 if your goal is to generate leads.
Of course, you shouldn’t create long-form content just for the sake of it if this content doesn’t carry any value. Remember what Google says? It’s all about meaningfulness.
Now, let’s talk more about other reasons why you need more long-reads in your content marketing strategy.
1. Long-Reads Bring You More Backlinks
In search engine optimization, a backlink is a link that’s coming from another website to yours. Along with other metrics, the number of backlinks is the top criterion, according to which Google ranks websites. And, in general, it is considered that the more links a web page has, the more organic traffic it receives from Google.
Of course, there are other benefits that backlinks can bring, namely:
- Improved indexing. When Google crawls websites, it discovers new web pages by following the backlinks. This is how Google finds your website as well, so the more backlinks you have to your website, the better.
- Referral traffic. If you place a link in the content for another website, the visitors of that website may click on your link, thus bringing you referral traffic. This is a great way to improve your website’s visibility.
- Better domain authority. If you build links to authoritative websites that are relevant to your industry and niche, it will positively impact your domain authority.
Apart from that, having a solid backlink-building strategy is good for your brand visibility within your niche because backlinks from related websites will spread the word about your company as well.
How do long-reads impact backlinks?
Last year, Brian Dean, the owner of Backlinko, teamed up with BuzzSumo to analyze over 900 million blog posts and find out what stands behind successful content.
During the research, he found out that long-reads get 77.2% more links on average than shorter articles. Here’s the graph with the correlation of different content lengths and the number of referring domains:
Image credit: Backlinko
While the study failed to explain why long-read content performs so well, statistically, the majority of long-form articles appeared to deliver more backlinks, indicating that the Google algorithm, most likely, simply favors this type of content.
2. You Have an Opportunity to Improve Keyword Density
You know that keywords are also among the top criteria for a successful SEO. But a lot also depends on keyword density, which is the number of times a certain keyword appears in your content.
Naturally, the longer the content is, the more keyword density it allows. Alison Lee, a content editor at Subjecto educational website says that long-reads allow distributing keywords across the entire body of the article more equally, while short reads often look too crowded.
Beware of the high concentration of keywords
Before the current Hummingbird algorithm and the Panda update, websites used to carelessly overstuff content with keywords for the sake of ranking higher. However, once Google saw that, while such content was optimized, it still carried no value, so keyword density took a back seat.
However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention to this criterion anymore. While others are focused on building backlinks and writing guest posts, keep your eyes on the ball and continue optimizing your long-reads with keywords.
The key point to remember here is how many keywords your long-read should have. There’s a simple formula for that:
- pick a keyword from one page and count how many times it appears on it
- calculate the total number of words on one page
- divide the number of keywords by the total number of words on a page
- multiply the result by 100 to receive the final percentage
For instance, if your article is 1,000 words, it should have a keyword density of 1%. Keep the number of keywords within this percentage to make sure all of them look organically in your content.
3. Long-Reads Give You a Chance to Boost Brand Authority
We already mentioned in the introduction that one of the reasons why Google prefers long-reads over short-reads is that long-form articles usually give a more in-depth understanding of the topic.
It is true – a long-read allows you to show your expertise in a certain field and back your credibility as an authoritative resource in your industry. Moreover, if you unite together experts from your field as guest bloggers, it will turn your website into a knowledge hub, bringing even more organic traffic.
Long-read content boosts social shares
You might think that people would rather share content that’s faster and easier to read, but, unfortunately, it’s not the case.
Back in 2012, when Neil Patel was still working at Quicksrpout, he ran a quick study to find out how the length of content impacts the number of social shares. The results of the study showed that longer posts received 68% more shares on Twitter and 22.6% more shares on Facebook.
This study proved once, and for all that, first and foremost, people look for value in articles, which can only be delivered if this article is long-read. Such content gives people a more in-depth perspective on the subject. Besides, they can read the most essential information in one place, which makes most internet users favor long-form content.
Size Matters and You Cannot Deny It
Whether you like it or not, investing in long-reads is a must if you want to get good results from your content marketing strategy.
Long-form articles improve your overall SEO strategy, deliver a higher number of backlinks, allow you to optimize your keyword density, and even build up your authority in your industry. Apart from that, long-form content increases the number of social shares, making your brand more recognizable.
So, if you’re hesitating whether to invest in long-reads or not – you definitely should, and we’ve got three very convincing reasons for you. Otherwise, how else can you get to the top-ranking websites on Google?