Let’s discuss a very important aspect to on-page SEO: comprehensive, long-form content.
We know that keyword optimization can greatly enhance search traffic, but what strategy boosts return traffic and user engagement? Well, according to recent studies on the topic, the answer is in-depth, long-form content.
Traditionally, Google would examine your page’s HTML to determine how many times a keyword is used. Google would focus entirely on your page’s content, including your title tag, URL, image tag, description tag, and the HTML heading tag to check if your keyword appeared.
Google still looks at traditional on-page SEO strategies; however, Google is a lot smarter than it used to be. (Brian Dean, Backlinko)
Google no longer only measures content, the new focus is context. Google’s main job is to show users the best result. Nowadays, the best result isn’t “a piece of keyword-stuffed content”. (Brian Dean, Backlinko)
We’re now finding the best results are pages with thorough, well-written content that covers a specific topic.
This type of content gives Google users everything they need – it’s all in one place. You could think of it as one stop shopping. Dean also states his “ranking factors study found that in-depth content tends to rank best in Google”. (Brian Dean, Backlinko)
It’s generally recommended to aim for 250-300 words per page on your website. Quality will always be more important than quantity, but we’re now realizing quantity is just as important. So, instead of jamming as many keywords as possible into every sentence of your web page, consider writing some thorough content that covers one topic, and that topic only. Answer consumer questions right there on your web page so they don’t potentially seek business elsewhere. Make your website a one stop shop for customers.
Additionally, if you really want to go in-depth on topics, consider implementing guides or long-form articles and blogs on your website as these generally outrank short articles on Google. Keep in mind, long-form content generally has a word count of 1,000-2,000.
Although keyword focused content is still an important part of on-page SEO, it may not be the leading approach to gain return traffic. Keyword optimization will get you search traffic, but long-form content tends to be the way to go for return traffic, brand searches, and user engagement. (Dan Shewan, WordStream)
The keywords may get the user to your page initially, but it’s the quality of the content and the topic you are discussing that will keep the user there and bring them back again.
This Dagmar Marketing blog post effectively sums up the reasons why you should write long-form content – we’ve included those reasons here as well:
10 Reasons Why You Should Write Long-Form Content
- You’ll be positioned as an authority on the topic of interest to your customers. People turn to the experts when they have questions about a subject. You will be the expert.
- Recent studies have found that longer posts rank highly and are more visible online. Check out this Google Article to learn more on how Google selects in-depth content.
- People engage more with long-form content, especially when relevant internal links are included. This type of user behavior is likely to have a positive impact on your overall rankings.
- Long-form content tends to get more social shares.
- Longer content generally gains more inbound links, which is a link pointing towards your page from an external domain.
- When you cover one topic, you can aim your content towards people who are new to the subject or people who are well-versed on the topic. This way, your content is useful to many on the buyer’s journey, not just some.
- You can reach out to influencers on the topic and ask for input, which could result in more shares.
- If your website offers email subscriptions, you can turn this content into the basis of an email marketing campaign.
- You can pull material from this content for social media posting.
- Regularly publishing long-form material will help you build a community with people who like discussing the same topics as you. You’ll be a source of quality information within your industry, increasing the number of people who link to and share your posts.
Now is the time to implement high-quality, thorough content on your website. If one of the reasons listed on this post isn’t enough to get you on the long-form content bandwagon, we hope you consider doing your own research on the topic to determine if it’s right for you and your SEO strategy. We hope this post helps lead you in the right direction!
Dean, B. (2018, October 24). SEO in 2019: The Definitive Guide. Retrieved from https://backlinko.com/seo-this-year
Long-form Content in 2019: Why it’s Crucial – and How to Write Quality Posts. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://dagmarmarketing.com/guides/long-form-content-crucial-write-quality-posts/
Shewan, D. (2017, December 11). What Is Long-Form Content and Why Does It Work? Retrieved from https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/05/05/longform-content