Why should you invest in long-form content? You should use longer content if you want to increase website engagement. Long form content generates twice the engagement time of short form content.
You should also invest in long-form copy if you want to boost your SEO and branding strategies. In-depth content provides a chance to establish authority. It also allows an opportunity to address relevant questions from your leads and customers.
To get the most out of your content though, you want to implement a method and structure. You want the information to add value, not just try to throw more words out in the world. For structured content, you need a guide to lead you through the process.
What is Long-Form Content?
Long form content involves content that goes more in-depth on your industry topics. This usually involves articles beginning around 1,200 to 2,000 words. The best results on search engines include articles around 1,900 words.
You shouldn’t rely on word count to determine your long form strategy though. Your focus involves value not the number of words. Your content should provide a clear breakdown of the information provided.
This means finding subjects that speak to the needs of your audience. It also means providing detailed information about your subject. Long form articles should revolve around subjects that require more detail to get the point across.
Long Form SEO Content Guide
Based on the popularity of 1,900-word articles, it’s clear that long-form copy and SEO go hand-in-hand. Google looks for articles that answer the questions asked, and base their rankings on the articles that seem most valuable in answering these questions.
To make the most of your ranking, you need to combine your industry knowledge with customer queries. Remember, you want to use long-form articles to educate and generate trust, not to sell.
Find Your Pillar Content Niche
Pillar content involves subjects that you can break down into multiple article ideas. This involves the industry niche you want to focus your content around. Your niche is your area of expertise within your industry.
You want a niche that allows plenty of room to write comprehensive articles. You also want a niche that will stand the test of time. Your long-form content can act as evergreen content.
Evergreen content means content that remains valuable. You want to pick subjects that continue to trend over the years so your content will remain relevant over time.
Do Your Keyword Research
Keyword research plays two parts in your long form strategy. Your research provides valuable information about the subjects you can use in your content. It also provides terms and phrases you can use to increase your SEO.
Keywords for Subject Generation
The first step in keyword research involves determining what people search for regarding your industry. This helps you make decisions on the questions and subjects you want to touch on in your content.
To make the most of this research, you want to understand the reasons behind the search topics. You want to answer real questions regarding the information people seek.
Your keyword choices for subjects should reflect your brand and establish your authority in your industry. Your keywords should provide multiple article options on narrow, detailed topics.
Keywords for SEO
As you create your list of keywords, you want to locate terms with a good search volume but low competition among your competitors. This ensures you can rank for these terms. It also ensures you fill in the gaps of information.
As you search these keywords, you should also take a look at the types of content most popular for these terms. You want to stick to what works for these topics. For instance, some subjects work best with a how-to article or a list.
You can get creative though.
If you see an opportunity to branch out from what’s available, don’t be afraid to take a chance to stand out. For instance, you can branch out from a how-to article to go into why you should or shouldn’t take action.
Once you have a list of subject ideas and an idea of the types of content that works, you should take a look at what’s already written on the subject. This research provides two opportunities.
You can find out what information already saturates the internet regarding your niche. If there’s already plenty of competition on a topic, you’ll find difficulty ranking for that point.
You can also find out where gaps in information exist. This gives you the opportunity to fill a gap and get on top of the rankings for that topic.
Audit Your Current Content
Don’t forget the content you’ve already created when conducting topic research. Just because you’ve touched on a subject, doesn’t mean you’ve said everything you have to say.
Look at your shorter articles and look for areas you can expand the topic. Look for broad articles and see if you can break these down into multiple subjects.
You should also look for topics that have lost their relevancy. Determine if you can update these articles. Also, look for ways to expand on the ideas presented.
Find Link-Building Opportunities
Link building works in two ways. First, you want to build links to credible outside sources. Second, you want to build up your links to your own content. Both of these link-building strategies increase your authority and rankings.
If you can show credible data to back up your ideas, you increase trust in the data you share. If you can show you have more info on your own site regarding a subject, you show your knowledge. Both ideas show credibility to search engine crawlers so you rank higher in searches.
You want to find relevant sources of data to back up the info you provide. This increases the credibility of your article. This external data comes in many forms.
- Background info
With real data to back up what you say in your article, you show an understanding of the topic. Stats and research offer real numbers to make your point. Background info shows your expounding on ideas already established.
You use content to attract and keep people on your website. Relevant internal links keep your audience moving through the information you provide, increasing your opportunity to touch on the questions they have. This will keep them coming back to you for answers.
Find articles or videos that go more in-depth on a topic you touch on in the article to provide more authority. Make sure the links relate to the current topic but don’t use articles too similar.
Creating an Article Outline
When writing long-form content, you want to keep everything organized and easy to navigate. This means you need an outline to keep everything in order. The outline also lends to your relevance on the topic.
Your outline will touch on the data points you compile during your research. It also ensures that you’re not jumping around so that people can follow your points.
Plus, an outline provides an easy table of contents to add to your article. A table of contents proves valuable when it comes to search engine crawlers ranking your content.
You want to provide a catchy headline that explains your topic. Keep your headline simple, easy to understand, and eye-catching.
Your headline makes use of your broader subject keywords. It makes clear the question you plan to answer. You don’t want to use too many words in the headline, but you want to get your point across.
Your subheadings provide a detailed breakdown of the main topic. You want to answer specific questions with these sections.
You can find good subheadings by looking at the related search terms when researching your main keywords for article subjects. These related terms provide the sub-questions people often ask related to the terms.
You can also use question forums to find subheadings. Go through a forum such as Quora to find the questions trending regarding your subject.
Introduction and Conclusion
You use the introduction to draw people in. This means you want to explain exactly what they can expect from the article. This also means you want to catch their interest immediately.
Don’t use fluff in your introduction, or people will move on. Provide data or other eye-catching material that will make them want to keep reading.
Your conclusion should tell them what you want them to do with the information you provide. This should condense what you said and move them to the next step in their journey on your website.
Formatting Your Article
When you move into writing the article, you want to use a conversational tone. If you go too formal, people will lose interest. If you use jargon or complicated sentences, people won’t want to try to decipher your content.
Use simple terms and simple sentence structures. Try to stick to an eighth grade or lower reading level to ensure people can understand what they read.
With long-form articles, you’re asking people to give you their attention for a longer stretch of time. You’re also asking them to decipher your point while reading online. This can cause strain on their eyes and brains.
To cut down on this issue, you want to break your article into blocks. This starts with your headings and subheadings. By creating breaks wherever you can, you make it easier to read.
You also want to keep your paragraphs short. Try to keep paragraphs down to no more than three sentences. Also, avoid complex sentences where possible.
You can break up writing with numbered lists or bullet points throughout. This has the added benefit of allowing for simpler points throughout.
Other Reading Breaks
Ease of reading goes beyond creating writing blocks. You also want to provide breaks throughout the article to ease the strain of reading online.
You can break large blocks of writing with relevant graphics or videos. Provide pictures and infographics to make certain points easier to find. Use related videos between points.
You can also provide shareable quotes between headings. This has the added benefit of making your article easier to share on social media sites.
Make Your Article Shareable
Long form articles get more social shares than short-form content in general. You still want to take steps to make it easy to share your content.
Shareable content starts with valuable content. You can make it easier by providing share buttons with the article. Encourage people to pass the information along by making it as easy as possible.
Provide a Call to Action
You want people to continue coming back to your website. You can do this by providing a call to action that tells people exactly how they can get more value from you.
One way to do this includes incorporating a sign-up form in the article. You can provide a button for them to sign-up for your newsletter, or a sign-up for a presentation. This allows you to collect their contact info and shows you have more to offer.
You can also provide a clear call to action at the end of the article. This will tell them the next step to take based on the information you provide.
Remember, with long-form content, you’re establishing trust and authority. Your call to action should involve a way to find more information.
Edit, Edit, Edit
Once you have your article completed, it’s time to edit. Grammatical errors can lose you the trust and authority you’re trying to establish.
Don’t rely on yourself for the editing process. Find a good editing app you can run your article through to catch the mistakes you’re bound to miss. Check for readability, spelling, grammar, and issues of plagiarism.
You want to make sure the article remains fully your work. Make sure you don’t inadvertently use someone else’s work. Even when hitting on topics already discussed, you can still tweak the information to make it your own.
Your Overall SEO Strategy
Long form content provides one tool to boost your SEO and create brand authority. SEO practices require many steps to get your website noticed in the digital world.
Are you looking for more SEO practices to implement? Check out what’s involved in the overall SEO strategy.