Ensuring long-form content is great for the user and SEO

how-to-create-successful-long-form-content.

Want a good marketing strategy? Here’s one, content, content, content and, yep, you guessed it, more content. There ya go, blog done, you can now go about your day, you’re welcome. Unless, you want to learn more about how to make long-form content that is actually good, readable, and will make those search engines swoon with delight, all at the same time.

Here at Embryo, we’re all about content, obvs. In terms of long term success, consistent content creation that answers search queries, and looks to jump on the back of organic searches, is one of the best approaches a business can take, whether they have a £1,000,000 budget, or they haven’t got 2 cents to rub together.

Budget is, if you’re doing it in-house at least, irrelevant. Successful content creation, that satisfies search engines, and your audience is about making it exciting enough in the first few paragraphs to convince the reader to devote their gnat-like attention spans to the remaining 2000+ words, and filling it with links, relevant ontology, phrases, topics, and other media (pictures, both still and moving) so that search engines can, as previously mentioned, swoon at your marvellous efforts. In this blog, I’m going to share some expert tips on how you can make people love your content and write enough about your given topic, industry, product, or service so that you rank for quality positions on Google and other search engines.

The importance of having long-form content

In a world where billions of pieces of work are uploaded, indexed, optimised and crawled every second of every day the thing that can make you stand out is expertise. Picture a room full of people talking over each other, the person who is going to be heard is the person that is going to shout the loudest, yes, but if that shouting is full of substance (and relevant internal linking, wait, my analogy falls down there doesn’t it) then chances are, over time, more people are going to listen to what that person has to say. This is your secret weapon in the fight against bigger competitors who can hire copywriters and have a bigger presence.

Quality long-form content, that is backed with expert knowledge, that targets keywords, is your foot in the door. And, if you can do this as part of your content marketing strategy, over 12 months, you’re going to start seeing results.

Of course, we’re not expecting people to necessarily read 3, 4, or 5 thousand words of copy. You want your long-form content to attract readers to follow through on an action (pick up the phone, buy a product, send an inquiry). So when parsing up a piece of content, think about the reader for the first 1000 words, and then begin to go deep on your topic so that if they want to your quality content they can, and will get a heck of a lot out of it, but do it so Google can see that you really know your stuff.

This is why ontology is so important, and something we always bang on about here at Embryo. Ontology goes beyond just regular, ready salted keywords and showcases to the SERP gods that you’re worthy of a top 10, page one, ranking (in other words, the only ranking worth giving monkeys about). The only way of getting enough ontology in is by writing reams and reams of long-form content across your entire website. Your goal shouldn’t be to write one or two, 2,000-word pages and think that’ll do. In an ideal world, each and every meaningful page on your site should be aiming to have at least 3,000 words on them, this volume is the way to win – it’s as simple as that.

Why does it work?

Long-form content works because there is simply more of it. In that long-form content, there is going to be more links, more proof of authority, and more expertise. It works because if it is good, and for the sake of argument, we’ll assume that your 10,000-word long-form post about the best of way installing guttering is perfect in every way, it will be seen as authoritative both by people, who now have gorgeous guttering, and by search engines who will see that it has been linked to by guttering enthusiasts, and features all sorts of answers to questions such as ‘why is my guttering rubbish?’

Beyond this, there has been real science applied to this and it proves that longer-form content walks all over shorter content that hasn’t had the time or effort put into it. The guys and gals over at serpIQ did a study of different types of long-form content and found that the top-rated posts that feature at the top of the search rankings were virtually always over 2,000 words.

content length

So, it works because, to be successful, you don’t reaaaaaally have a choice in the matter. Sure the average blog post is handy at getting a few likes, maybe, dare I say, a share(!) but to really unlock things for your business (and to improve your bottom line), long-form content is the only way to go.

How to write comprehensive content, and blog posts, that search engines, and your target audience will actually like

So you know why it works, but how do you do it? Thankfully, that is relatively simple, it’s all about preparation and planning. Long-form content, to be successful, needs to have a good structure with at least 300-500 words under each H2 or H3 tag, no exceptions. Start by taking the themes of your product and service and doing appropriate keyword research to find one or two phrases that relate to it. Then look at the structure of your blog and create 4-6 headers that look to address issues related to your product or service. Don’t worry about crowbarring your keywords at each opportunity, Google ain’t a fan, it looks forced. The more natural your long-form content reads and looks, the more successful you’ll be. Now comes the hard part, once you have got a great structure for your post, you can begin to start populating it with all your insight, topic awareness, and super-smart sentences.

Once it’s written, go back through it and go link crazy. Long-form content should be filled with internal and external links that go to other authoritative sources. Build a web of authority through links that showcase you know where to go for the right info (this, in turn, will showcase to Google your ability to collate information and provide value, and fresh insight, all at the same time).

How many words should a blog post be?

Basically, you want to be looking at around 2500+ words for any piece of content, be it posts to a blog page or evergreen content that is going to be up on your site for years and years to come. And, when it comes to the latter, there really isn’t a limit, don’t be afraid to keep adding and adding. There is nothing wrong with a 10,000-word page about your product or service, this kind of average word count should, honestly, be your target word count. To become a subject matter expert, or more accurately, to showcase you’re a subject matter expert you’re going to want to dive deep into every nook and cranny of your topic, even if you think it might not be entirely relevant, this background content, the effort that is put into that, is the difference between you and the people who just write pieces that talk about the topic, and end things there. When you’re asking yourself ‘How to get on page 1 of Google?’ This is how, in a nutshell.

What do you think? Are we right? Let us know, people!

We hope this, and other pieces of content, have helped you understand the need for effective content comes in the form of lengthy content that is full of juicy links, contextual info, and keywords. If you have any thoughts about it, let us know! Let’s get the conversation going!