There are currently around 28 million small businesses in the U.S., each vying for their place on the World Wide Web; on your own, the likelihood of achieving recognition among your demographic (and financial success in your business) is exceptionally low. That’s where search engine optimization, or SEO, comes into play.
According to Wikipedia, search engine optimization describes “the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.” Essentially, SEO techniques impact how high your company’s website ranks on a search engine’s site — most notably Google, as it owns more than 70% of the search engine market share.
Talented and experienced SEO reseller programs are able to perfect these skills in order to ensure your site ranks well, but they’re constantly at war with the engines themselves; regularly-changing algorithms means that the factors that influence rank are continually undergoing adaptation. As a result, many things have changed since SEO became commonplace… yet one thing remains true: content matters.
The Proof Is In The Word Count
Quality has always mattered when it comes to Google’s rankings. The engine’s main goal is to deliver solutions to its user’s queries that both answer their questions and supply them with all the information they’ll ever need. While 300 to 400 blogs can usually meet those demands, the data has revealed something much more interesting: more is better.
“Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic,” explained Pandu Nayak, technical staff member at Google and creator of the Panda algorithm update. “That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.”
At the end of the day, this means that long-form content — provided it’s relevant and well-written — reigns king. But just how are you supposed to sculpt a quality long-form blog without going too far or rambling into obscurity? These tips will help you out.
Don’t ONLY Create Long-Form
Long-form content is a great and easy way to establish your site as an authority among certain subjects. When you notice the impact that 1,000 to 2,000-word blogs are having on your readership and conversion rates, you’ll be hard-pressed to create anything other than long-form content. However, it’s important to remember that variety is the spice of life; some situations are much more suited to short blurbs, such as the posting of a video or infographic.
Keep in mind that the goal of content marketing is to help your audience in the most efficient way possible; if you can communicate better with your users via a video or high-quality graphic, it’s okay to leave those 1,000+ words behind.
Avoid The In-Between
Internet users are most familiar with short blogs and long articles. The former appeals to busy individuals who are only interested in a simple solution or answer, and the latter are often referenced as a “go-to” source for a specific subject. This means that anything in between could leave your site in No Man’s Land; those looking for a quick answer will be put off by the length, and those looking for more details will be disappointed in just how bare the article is.
Kevin Delaney, the editor-in-chief of business news site Quartz, has found that articles ranging between 500 and 800 words are least likely to be successful. To avoid missing the mark for both types of readers, ensure that your content is always on the extreme ends of the spectrum.
Choosing topics for your website is an art in and of itself, but they’re all the more important when it comes to long-form content. Focusing on a keyword that is actually achievable to rank with (the competition for broad, high-volume keywords like “women’s clothing” can be intense) can help you narrow down your options. While you may not see as much traffic with long-tail keywords (defined as three to four-word phrases), you’ll find that those that do visit your site are much more likely to convert.
Remember to hone in on topics that you’re an expert on. This will ensure that you don’t end up stuffing your blog with fluff and filler just to meet a word count goal (which Google considers a big no-no) and that your readers are able to learn something from their visit. Since Google values relevance and quality above all else, doing so will guarantee a bump in ranking.
The average length of a blog post is now 1142 words, supporting the claim that long-form content plays a major role in SEO and site rankings. It makes sense when you think about it — blogs with high word counts are more likely to capture and hold readers’ attention; they allow brands to tell a story and engage their user base at the same time, an invaluable skill that translates to increased trust between company and consumer.
Google knows that only relevant, high-quality content can result in that kind of relationship, so it makes sure to reward you for it by boosting your ranking. This mutually beneficial cycle brings new customers to your website. Provided you’re able to continue to produce such engaging and informative long-form blogs, you’ll reach the top in no time.