You may have heard that no one reads long articles online. It’s a common misconception and couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, multiple studies have confirmed that longform pages of over 3000 words perform better in searches and result in drawing more targeted traffic relevant to your business.
With repeated research demonstrating a strong link between longer content copy length and its heightened performance in search results, why aren’t more businesses using this magic bullet for their search engine optimization (SEO)?
If you want to have a leg up on your competitors and increase your traffic significantly, focusing on improving your content strategy by using longform content really needs to be an integral part of your marketing plan.
What the research shows about word count
In 2019, The Global State of Content Marketing Report analyzed over 700,000 articles in an effort to create a better understanding of the metrics involved in successful content marketing. Interestingly, what they found was in contrast to the current school of thought regarding the relationship between word count and SEO.
The first takeaway from that study is that longform articles of more than 3000 words receive 3 times more traffic, 4 times more shares, and 3.5 times more backlinks than articles of 901–1200 words and 50% more shares than content of 2000 words. In contrast, shorter articles of 300–900 words have zero shares 4.5 times more often than long reads of 3000+ words.
Since backlinks have a huge effect on your SEO, those shares matter, but to gain backlinks those 3000+ words need to be quality content that inspires interest and meets the parameters of search engine queries. Readers are more engaged by content that contains more information and additional research studies bear this theory out. Longer posts just perform better on every level. According to the Backlinko study, articles with a word count of over 2,500 words get shared the most on social media and 3000 word content gets 77.2% more links than content of 1000 words.
Creating a longer headline that has SEO impact
Word count not only has an impact on your content but on your headlines as well. Articles with longer headlines perform better in search results, getting more pageviews, shares, and backlinks.
Articles with long headlines of 14+ words get 2 times more traffic, 2 times more shares, and 5 times more backlinks than articles with short headlines. According to the Backlinko study, headlines that are 14–17 words in length generate 76.7% more social media shares than shorter headlines. As a matter of fact, headlines that contain less than 7 words receive 2 times less traffic and shares compared to articles with 7–10 word headlines.
A longer headline compared to a short one gives the reader more insights about an article’s content, driving more people to read and share it, demonstrating once more than the quality of your information has the most impact on your SEO.
When to use longform content to maximize your SEO results
While the data does show that if your article contains less than 3000 words there is only a 50–50 chance that you will get any social media shares at all, content length should always be determined by the intention of the information and the type of content.
Since in-depth longform content is seen as more authoritative and credible, posts of 3000+ words work best for blogs and well-written articles focusing on the quality of information being provided. Shorter content is still effective though. For example, website pages ideally run between 400–600 words, maybe a bit more if you need more description of your products or services. Longform content only really works on landing pages and blogs, and doesn’t belong in pages which describe your company and its products or services. Those need to be succinct and easily digestible.
Highly detailed and well-written articles will always perform best in Google’s rankings by best providing the information needed to meet the user’s search query. This can’t be achieved by simply launching words onto a page — it needs to be done well. Google does score on quality of content, and if you are just putting words on a page to achieve a word count, that won’t raise your SEO results. What will is a carefully planned article with lots of useful content for the reader based on keyword research.
Investing in a professional copywriter to write quality content, an SEO expert to craft a proper strategy for placement and deployment, and a digital advertising expert to advertise your longform content can make all difference for your marketing strategy.
ion8 is an all-in-one business consultancy that has all the experts you need under one roof. To find out more about everything that ion8 can do to transform your business, visit our website today.