This is a guest post by Sergey Aliokhin.
Today we can observe a tendency that long-form content performs much better in Google’s eyes. And it is for a reason.
Big content attracts lots of links, it dominates in search engine results and, what is important, Google loves it.
Not bad, right?
Nevertheless, the process of creating big content is still a challenge for lots of marketers on the web. It requires you to do an in-depth research, spends lots of time, crafts a well-structured post that is easy to read, and gets it published.
If you are a lazybones, you don’t have a patience and you can’t be assiduous in work - you can stop reading my article right now. Really.
First of all, my guide is “big” and full of useful information.
Secondly, if you prefer “short-from post factory” approach, don’t bother yourself with the details I am going to represent. They won’t help you.
However, if you are the one who wants to achieve good results writing awesome content, then I invite you to read my guide from A to Z. I promise you will get what you need.
So, why long-form content is cool?
How to create it?
In this very article, I am going to give you answers to these questions and even more.
Let’s get to the meat!
“I Hate to Write "Big" Content but It Works! Why?”
When I wrote my very first article, it contained about 1,500 words. The process of writing took me a few days. It was like a torture for me. I didn’t know where to start. My outline seemed to me not so perfect. I had doubts whether my article will be accepted.
I can continue to enumerate all cornerstones I had to overcome before the post was released...
However, I believe you have something similar in your practice when you dealt with your first publications. You understand what I mean.
All those articles I wrote were no longer than 1,500 words and they didn’t ring the bell.
I realized that something goes wrong.
Right after I asked Google about long-form content. Actually, I was curious about why it rocks.
As it turned out, there are a few forcible arguments to the advantage of “big” content.
1. It is topically relevant
Did you know that Google considers topic relevancy as one of the most significant ranking factors?
It means you should always pay attention to this factor and try to bring your content to it. In other words, the material you write must strictly go in line with potential queries users ask Google.
Let me provide you with the examples to show you what I mean.
Such query as “donald trump age” is too simple that it is going to be ridiculous to write a long article covering this subject. You put this query and get a direct answer:
Another one query like “how to do a morning run” reflects the necessity of showing a real step-by-step process. But it doesn’t require to write something huge. Instead, Google offers us a generic plan straight away:
If you follow a link beneath this “morning run” plan, you will see the same items described in a couple of sentences.
As the result - no long-form content.
At the same time an query “how to do blogger outreach” represents us various articles that have length starting from 2,000 + words:
Well, now you can see where “big” content gets into the game. You see, this kind of query is unreal to cover using a short for of narration. Only long-form articles work here.
So, please, don’t forget about topic relevancy. Google will notice this and your written “beast” will get an exposure.
2. It gets more shares
Huge content is shareable enough. The more benefits it has, the more people will like it and share.
Here is a screenshot of a research made by Buzzsumo which illustrates us an amount of shares “big” content gets:
3,000 - 10,000 words per article - really impressive!
I don’t want to say that it will be easy to achieve but it worth trying at least. Thus, if you want to get lots of shares prepare yourself to write “monstrous-size” posts.
3. It is easy to convert
The beauty of huge content is that you can easily convert it. Yes, adding new elements in the post will attract attention to the already covered topic again and again.
But you can’t do it with short-form content. A lack of the information in the text indicates that your manipulations with it are limited.
You won’t have an opportunity to add PDF file of the material or some video course for downloading.
And the reason why is evident - the information in the post is too poor.
Here is the example of implementing such tricks by Neil Patel on his blog:
He added a short PDF version of the same post that is available for downloading. Very clever, isn’t it?
4. It ranks better
There is no need to say too much on this term. I better provide you with the examples that prove this statement.
Here is what Hubspot tells:
The example clearly shows that content 2,500+ words have higher ranks as opposed to fewer words written stuff.
Backlinko made their own research that proves again - big content rules:
Do you have any doubts about long-form content practicability? I, personally, don’t 🙂
"I Have No Idea Where to Start"
OK, I already persuaded you to start writing huge content. Hence, it is rather fair to ask me “what is the first step I should do?”
My answer won’t make a splash but it will give you “food for meditation”. The first thing you should do is to come up with an idea for your future post. Thus, let’s traverse this subject more precisely.
1. Think about the ideas first
Good to know that you have a few topics on your mind to write about. However, are you sure these topics will find a recognition in your niche today?
Since a tendency of changing topics may vary from month to month, I recommend you to do a proper research on the topic you’re going to write about. There are a couple of ways on how to do it.
i. Visit popular blogs. Blogs related to your niche is a good place to start your investigation.
Pay attention to the topics that are more shareable and have lots of comments.
Doesn’t matter what kind of niche you belong; Google will help you find the most popular blogs where people post topics that are on trend for today.
For example, you are an internet marketer and you need to find a bunch of awesome blogs to get new insights. Ask Google something like “popular internet marketing blogs” and get the results you need:
Afterwards, choose the blog you liked the most and start discovering ideas for your own posts.
Note: Here's a live example of a huge list of blogs.
ii. Quora is another good “ideas factory”. I am sure you know what Quora is.
The platform where people ask questions and get replies. You can use these questions as the source of inspiration. Let me show what I mean:
You put the query you’re interested in and see what Quora offers.
I used “email marketing” and got a list of questions. At least two questions from the list seemed a perfect fit for me. I recommend you to rephrase the questions in something like this:
“Top 3 Best Autoresponder Software For Email Marketing”
“5 Best Ways to get Email Subscribers From Pinterest”
I believe you’ve already got a clue how to use Quora for generating new content ideas.
iii. Ahrefs Content Explorer tool. Yet another one cool way to find new insights for your content. Put a query you need in Ahrefs Content Explorer tool and check out the results you’ll get:
Again run through the list of suggested topics, choose a few you liked the best. Then change the title a bit and done.
2. Create a well-structured outline
Why is it necessary to create an outline of the future post? Because it helps you bring your thoughts out of confusion making the process of writing more consistent.
Here are the recommendations I follow as well:
i. Identify content type. You know that content can be different types. The most familiar types are “Guides”, “How-to articles”, “Lists”, and “Review” articles.
Long-form posts can reflect all these types of content. However, remember that every type has its own structure. Thus, you should think twice about your choice of the content type before creating an outline.
ii. Start with “head” sections. Basically, “head” sections create a structural frame of the post. It might be general questions or other core elements of your future post.
For example, you want to write a detailed article about email outreach strategy. You can specificate “head” sections. Let say, they are “What Email Outreach is?”, “Pre-outreach stage”, “The Process of Outreach”.
Done. These main sections will be divided into subsections that cover the exact question in more details.
iii. Add subsections. Subsections let you add some specific ideas to the main section you’re writing about. If one of the main section is “What Email Outreach Is?”, the subsections must reveal this question deeper.
iv. Smaller groups of subsections. Subsections may have their own small additional items. For example, here is what I mean: “Pre-outreach stage” → “How to find personal email address” → “Tools for email hunt”.
The last section is the additional item I am talking about.
3. A few words about using keywords
Using wrong keywords is one of the problems writers have. Without a proper research, you won’t be able to target the right keywords to rank for in your long-form content.
Furthermore, long-tail keywords are quite fruitless; they have a low search volume. So, you should keep an eye during keyword research.
I encourage you to draw attention to such metrics as search volume and competition strength keywords have.
Search volume is a metric that indicates how often a particular keyword has been searched for a given month. You can use various tools to check this metric for any keyword.
Competition strength shows you the “toughness” of the keywords. For example, you decided to rank for a bunch of keywords that have been used by your competitors.
You see that these keywords were featured in some high-quality content. And as far as you know, the higher level of these keywords, the harder it will be rank for them.
Nevertheless, you could do your own research on keywords you will be able to rank for and get even better results.
Pieces of Advice on How to Make Your "Beast" More Readable
Ok, I’ve represented you the main steps of creating long-form content. Now it is time to share with you a couple of useful suggestions on how to make “monstrous” articles easy to read.
1. Don’t forget about the structure of the post
Huge content has one drawback - it is hard to read. That’s why you must take care of article’s structure.
- Remember about “head” sections, subsections.
- Don’t over-complicate sentence structure.
- Write short sentences.
- Each paragraph of the article should contain no more than 4-5 sentences.
- Be careful with using specific terminology.
Your aim is to provide your reader with an easy-to-read material.
This option is a “must” for any long-form material. It makes easier to get to the exact place your reader is interested in.
3. Informal style of narration
You write articles for people, not machines. So, your attitude to a reader must be friendly.
Yes, your purpose is to offer users the information. But it will be accepted more pleasant if it is written in an informal style.
Call emotions, use humor, share your thoughts, put questions and try to give answers if you were the reader itself.
You will see, this way of narration works great.
4. People like examples based on a real life experience
When you write serious content, people are waiting for real facts from you. Otherwise, you won’t attract their attention with the “waffle” you’ve fed them.
There is no better teacher than our own experience. So, don’t neglect sharing it in your content.
5. Make it bright! Add images
I hate reading posts that contain only words and nothing more. It makes me indifferent. It makes me stop reading.
Do you know why? Because such articles miss bright, colorful images.
Breath life into your content with the help of awesome images.
6. Link to other related resources
You as a wisdom marketer, writer, and a businessperson should realize that writing long-form content implies making references to other resources.
It will prove your readers that you’ve done an in-depth research on the topic you’re talking about in the post.
Moreover, linking to other useful resources will let the readers discover the subject from various points of view.
Over to you
Start writing tremendous articles today. Arm yourself with a patience. And get ready to rip the benefits of your long-form content:)
If you have something to add on this subject, feel free to use a comment section.
And, please, like it and share on social media channels.
Guest Author: Aliokhin is an Outreach manager at Ahrefs. He spends most of the time discovering and learning SEO and Internet Marketing tendencies. His primal goal is to study and practise new aspects of outreach strategy. In his spare time he likes to spend his time with family, visit specialized sports club, study martial arts. If he has nothing to do at all, he prefers reading books on science-fiction and playing the bass guitar.