Most researches claim that modern users tend to skim through the content, not read it word-by-word. But why then long-form content is named one of the best sources of blog traffic and overall website success? Let’s find out what benefits this kind of content has and how to create it.
What is long-form content
Long-from content evangelists name it one of the vital content types any blog and website needs. But hardly they will agree upon how long exactly long-from article should be. Some say that long-form articles start already from 700 words. Others will insist it to be at least 1,500 words.
I guess, we may assume that long-form content should be at least 1,000 – 1,200 words-long. But it’s not the number of words defines long-form content. It is also the value that such posts provide. Longer posts usually contain more helpful info about the topic and show the issue from different angles.
Why your blog needs it
Of course, not every article you post on your website should be a long-form one. But having a decent amount of such pieces is highly beneficial for any blog. Here are the reasons why longer articles on your blog tend to bring more value to you and your visitors.
- It’s a simple psychology: users tend to perceive wordy pieces as something that contains more data, more helpful info and thus brings more value to them. Thus, more long-form guides and in-depth researches on your blog helps to position you as an expert in your niche.
- Better rankings. Despite not setting it out loud, Google seems to favor longer articles and rank them higher in SERPs. Thus, its Panda algorithm update greatly influenced many blogs with the so-called “thin content” back in 2012. Despite the Ahrefs study revealed that the average amount of Top 10 articles are still under 800 words, even these longer articles tend to outperform short 400-words pieces.
- Search relevancy. Long-form articles are mostly considered topically-relevant when they cover some topic in-depth. They can also be naturally-optimised for a bigger number of topic-related keywords.
- More backlinks and shares. Researches show that long-form articles generate more backlinks and shares than shorter pieces. It must be connected with the above-mentioned sense of trustworthiness that longer guides and case studies produce.
Backlinko study revealed that long articles get higher rankings
Creating long-form content step-by-step
I guess, I convinced you in the value that long-form content brings to your website. It’s time to share some strategies that should help anyone to create a long article like a pro.
Research your audience
Before creating any type of content you should first think about who will read it. Focusing at the topic of your own interest is tempting. It gives you an opportunity of showing yourself as an expert in a chosen niche. But will your readers need this expertise?
The best idea here is starting with defining your target audience and finding out its needs and problems. You can directly ask your users to share their thoughts and ideas about what they would like to read at your blog. Read comments they leave to other articles and on other websites. Ask to share their ideas via social media and emails.
You can also check out what content on your website already brings you traffic and try to improve it. Don’t forget to spy on your competitors, research what content helps them rank in Top 10 on Google and try to create 10x better articles on the same topic.
Choose the right keywords
Using the right keywords across the text helps you with many goals. The main idea here is getting into the topically-relevant searches the readers perform. Here you should consider many characteristics keywords have.
First, with the long-form content you may not wish to rank for long-tail keywords. The truth is, long-tails usually have so low search traffic that your efforts spent on a huge article may not pay out in a decent traffic flow. So you should be trying mid-competitiveness keywords or higher. At this stage you might wish to use keyword generation tools that will show you the estimated traffic you may get with this keyword, related search keywords to include into your content and even reveal the keywords that your competitors use in similar articles.
Determine the article format
Choosing the right format for the article is highly important. It helps attracting the right audience and keeping its attention on the content. It also helps keeping up with the other formats of the blog.
Moreover, one and the same keyword can be easily written in different formats, e.g. for the keyword “keyword research tools” you can try the following:
- 15 Best Keyword Research Tools (a list);
- How to Use Keyword Research Tools for Creating Content (a how-to guide);
- Cheat-Sheet for Using Keyword Research Tools (infographic) etc.
No matter the format you choose, the content should be well-researched and complete to show your readers they don’t have to search anywhere else to get more info on the topic.
Write an outline (and the text itself)
Writing an outline is a crucial step for content writing. However, many writers tend to skip this stage and try to form the content shape during the writing process. It’s a wrong strategy.
Creating an outline before writing the text will not only ease the work for you (or the writer you hire). Outline will also help you to include many additional and closely-related keywords your topic may also rank for.
Here’s how to use the entire amount of keywords you gathered during your keyword research:
- Start with the broad keywords (with high competitiveness) and create a rough plan for the topic (e.g. What is keyword research. How to do keyword research. Keyword research tools…);
- Expand each section with more specific sections using more specific keywords. Thus, “What is keyword research” can be divided into “What are keywords”, “Keywords characteristics” etc.;
- Spell out details for search subsection using more closely-related and long-tail keywords.
This simple tactic will allow you to include into the text tons of cool keyword suggestions and outrank your competitors with them.
To sum up
These are the basic steps to get you started with creating long-form content for your website. Then you just have to sit and write an article that will cover the topic of choice in depth. Try to create the content that will be explicit and require nothing to add. Then users will not have to look for more at the competitors’ websites.