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24th September 2020

Does Longer-Form Content Rank Better?

Even though it isn’t set in stone, long-form content is typically categorised as content that contains more than 1,000 words. It is true that longer content does better in terms of search rankings. In fact, studies have made it abundantly clear that longer-form content dominates the first page of the search results. But do you wonder why that is the case? Does Google count the words of your content to deem it suitable to rank at the top? Certainly not. The fact is, certain aspects of content that actually count in Google’s ranking algorithm are made possible by increasing the length of the content. We’re going to explain this in more detail for you. 

Factors That Influence Ranking 

The primary factors accompanying long-form content that improve ranking are as follows:  

1. Backlinks

Studies have shown time and again that long-form content has a much higher chance of earning quality backlinks – significantly improving search rankings. However, where do these backlinks originate? Backlinks are produced when link creators, that is, same-industry individuals who have the power to link to your content, consider your content to be of substantial value to the reader. Just as you would wish to offer your clients quality content with useful knowledge, link creators also prefer to link to content that they believe would benefit their audience. This isn’t possible when your content is really short. Long-form content is rich in information and more comprehensive than short content, so it holds a lot more value. 

2. Shares

Surprise, surprise – longer-form content gets a lot more social shares compared to short content. To offer a comparison, Neil Patel from QuickSprout ran a study to see how many social shares he could earn with content of more than 1,500 words compared to content under that length. He discovered that the lengthier content received roughly 22.6% more engagement on Facebook. Hence, lengthier content equals more social shares. This implies that your average social media user has much the same preferences as those of a link creator.

3. RankBrain

RankBrain is the name given to Google’s search engine algorithm. It’s no secret that Google prefers to reward long-form content. What isn’t evident, however, is why. Basically, it has to do with multiple factors inclusive of increased backlinks and social shares. 

According to RankBrain, user satisfaction is of predominant concern and there are a few metrics employed to analyse this: 

  • Dwell Time: Dwell time tells you how much time users have spent on your website. It’s a highly critical metric as it lets Google know that your website or a particular webpage is worth spending time on. Long-form content will keep the readers at your website for longer periods of time, increasing dwell time. This shows Google that it is providing users with useful content that meets their search criteria. In case the dwell time is short, Google believes that the user was not interested in your page because it was either irrelevant to the search query or just not useful to them at all. 
  • Click-Through Rate: Click-Through Rate (CTR) measures the number of clicks received by a certain web page in relation to the number of impressions. An impression is when your content is seen on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). To explain further, if your page appears in the SERPs of a particular query 1000 times but it only gets clicked on five times, your CTR is 0.5%. A good CTR is at least 2%. Google uses this metric to discern whether a page captures the interest of the users or not. It’s important to note that detailed content always leads to higher CTR as it creates opportunities for compelling titles and considerably more descriptive tags.

A Window for Content Marketers

While Google could not be clearer about prioritising long-form content, the world of content marketing still lags behind. Only 18% of companies’ websites contain blog posts that are more than 750 words. That isn’t even close to the average word count of Google’s first-page content. It could have something to do with the fact that more than 60% of content marketers claim that their biggest marketing challenge is coming up with engaging content. 

Writing for SEO might be one thing, but it doesn’t fall in the same category as coming up with compelling content to engage the reader. This opens a new door for content marketers to fix their SEO content strategy

Length Doesn’t Matter If Your Content Is Drab

As mentioned above, increasing the word count of the content is only part of the solution. It’s important that you weigh both quality and quantity side by side in this scenario. You have to make sure that every single sentence in your content is there to add value, not just to increase the word count. 

By now you know that increasing the length of your content automatically helps you cover several critical factors that can optimise your page. These factors can help both the users and the search engines to determine which content could be deemed valuable and which content is just a waste of time and space. 

By employing these essential elements into your long-form content, it’s easy to earn considerably more backlinks, increase social shares, and improve the overall search ranking of your webpages.

If you provide users with content that intrigues them, keeps them engaged and offers a solution to their problems, you’ll be rewarded in the form of heightened search rankings, improved user engagement, and much better brand visibility. If you need help with your copywriting or online content, we are an award-winning SEO copywriting agency, and we’d be happy to help boost your brand. 

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