Want more web traffic and shares? Add long-form content!

Today, let’s flip the “less is more” coin over to its “more is more meaningful” side. Marketers have always been told to write short blogs if they want to engage readers. In fact, the majority of Internet blog posts are 500 words or less, and psychological studies do show that you only have a few online seconds to engage a site visitor. But that “less is more” mantra has actually created a race to the bottom because, after analyzing one million articles, BuzzSumo and research partner Moz found that “most content is simply not worth sharing or linking.”

How can you get your company noticed in all that noise? The answer might surprise you: write longer blogs. In a pass-through viral world, high-quality content often translates into long-form content. In fact, studies show that long form content (2,000-3,000 words) consistently receives more organic traffic than its short-form counterpart. Noted Moz, “85% of content published (excluding videos and quizzes) is less than 1,000 words long. However, long form content of over 1,000 words consistently receives more shares and links than shorter form content.”

The sweet spot for sharable blogs, reports HubSpot, seems to be around 2,250 – 2,500 words. In a study of its own marketing messages, HubSpot found “a positive correlation between high performing pages within organic search and word counts of over 2,250 words.”

Because longer articles attract backlinks and organic traffic from Google, those posts are also more likely to become evergreen content. Keep in mind that organic search traffic once meant the identifiable traffic that came to your site via a search engine; then Google introduced SSL encryption. This effectively hides the keyword data for anyone conducting a Google search while logged into Google. You may not then realize how your customers landed on your site. Likely it’s still organic traffic.

Garrett Moon tested the hypothesis that keywords are positively correlated with length by Google by sampling six long-tail keywords. He measured the top 10 search results for each keyword, “charting the number of words, page authority score, domain authority score, and total number of back links.” He reported his findings in CoSchedule: “Long-form content ranks higher on average than shorter pages. In my results, the pages in the top five (1-5) averaged more than 2,000 words per page. In the bottom half (6-10), the posts only averaged 1,400 words. Long-form content was absolutely weighted to the top of the list.”

Another benefit of longer posts: you build an “expert” reputation as you go deeper into a subject. People seek information to (1) satisfy a generic curiosity or (2) to get help with a pain point. Short blogs are fine for curiosity seekers, but your visitor just as likely needs help moving from point A to point C. Provide full solutions for multiple problems using bullet points, headings, video inserts, and links. Show them how to get around every possible scenario or contingency standing in their way. This is what makes your resource bookmarkable!

To achieve your goal, keep your writing brief and on-target, but add more points for consideration. Most shorter pieces are written around 1-3 central points. Longer pieces develop at least five informational bits, with many giving as many as seven.

Longer posts may seem like a lot of work unless you consider the renewable benefits – you can later repurpose them individually for other uses!

About Jody Glynn Patrick

Jody is President of Glynn Patrick & Associates, which provides management consulting, executive coaching and strategic planning services. She is Publisher Emeritus of In Business magazine, which she published for 17 years. Selected as the “U.S. Business Journalist of the Year” in 2007 in Washington, DC, by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Jody has been a business reporter, editor, radio talk show host , and has won other state and national journalism awards. At the same time, she has helped corporate clients grow their businesses -- the basis for her practical coaching advice here. She also was the 2005 Athena Award recipient for her leadership role in mentoring other professional women. Jody will be talking with you weekly on TDS’ blog to share her insights and tips from the C-Suite perspective. Follow on G+.

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