Remember the long and short copy debate, when print was king? So, which side has won?
Long-form content (long copy) vs Short-form content, who wins over the reader/viewer?
In today’s fast-paced, digital world, it’s so easy to say that definitely, short copy is the go. Really?
An article published by John E Lincoln in Search Engine Land, puts the thesis that on the contrary, long copy is still favored. Hard to believe, right?
He puts it this way: “To put it succinctly, long-form content can make you look like more of an expert in your field, increase the likelihood of engagement and sharing, improve your search engine results page (SERP) rank, and increase your audience; because of your content, you will be viewed as an ‘authority’ on the subject. All of that works to your benefit and translates to better brand awareness.”
BTW, he considers anything over 1,500 words to be long-form content. Another BTW, I prefer long copy only because it has its beginnings in the time of print.
I’m sure, you’re probably twitching in front of your computer, tablet or mobile phone while reading this. After all, hey we’re in the age of Twitter, where posts are sent in short bites of 140 characters, right?
Lincoln quotes Naomi Sharp: “When readers started moving to the internet, media analysts thought long-form journalism was in trouble. Attention spans were going to shrivel. Readers wanted short, they wanted snappy, they wanted 140 characters and not much more (though a listicle on the side couldn’t hurt). Who would want to scroll through an 8,000-word article on an iPhone screen?”
And, then makes the point that many are now realizing that the inevitable death of “of long-form content was greatly exaggerated, and digital marketers are discovering that long-form content is extremely valuable for both users and search engines alike.”
As a marketing communications practitioner, who also offers SEO services, I’ve always believed that Google prefers to rank “authority” sites higher than other sites. And, looking into the SEO value of long-form content, Lincoln further notes that “Back in 2012, serpIQ conducted a study involving more than 20,000 keywords. The results showed that the average content length of each of the top 10 results was more than 2,000 words. The average number of words for the content in the #1 spot was 2,416. For the #10 spot, the average number of words was 2,032.
“That evidence is fairly conclusive. If you want your articles to rank well, consider using long-form content.”
He also posits that Google also says so. He quotes Pandu Nayak, the technical staff member at Google and creator of the Panda algorithm update, who pointed out earlier that “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. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.”
According to Lincoln, “Nayak also advised webmasters to use schema.org markup, authorship markup (the rich snippet for which has since disappeared from search results) and provide information about the company’s logo when producing long-form content as a way to further increase the likelihood of a good ranking.”
Ok, I will continue more on this topic in my next blog. I know that means this post doesn’t make it to the long-form content category. Oh, well….