When it comes to content marketing, it seems that every marketer under the sun has their own opinion about what works and what doesn't. Some say that posting frequent short content pieces, such as blog posts, works the best. Others swear that long-form content, or articles and blog posts over 2,000 words, works the best. Who is right? A firm called SERPIQ analyzed the search engine results position (SERP) for more than 20,000 keywords and discovered something very interesting. It seems that the length of the content had a direct correlation on a web page's search engine results position. Here's a summary of their findings: All of the top 10 positions were dominated by posts with 2,000 or more words. The average word count for the top position was 2,416 words. Most posts averaged around 2,200 – 2,400 words. From my own research, I've concluded a few interesting facts about long-form content. I write a popular home and garden blog, Home Garden Joy, and include a "free gardening guide" section filled with long-form posts on topics gardeners want to learn about. The section is new, but growing. My goal is to add one long-form content piece each month. Last month, I added a long-form piece on composting – How to Make Compost. I haven't done much to promote it except send a special email out to my subscriber list to announce it and announce it via Twitter and Facebook. I decided to schedule some automated posts via HootSuite to share the link during peak traffic times on Twitter. Almost immediately, a popular gardening website aggregator picked up on the link and included a blurb and link to my long-form content prominently on their website. Several shares on social media also increased visibility for the new guide. At last count, my site's inbound links increased from 42 to 63. Not all are going to this content page, but I think the increase is partially due to the long-form content. What makes long-form content so appealing? Long-form content appeals to website visitors seeking more than a cursory look at a topic. If the content is well-researched, it adds value and depth to the information, and makes your blog, website or article worthy of bookmarking or sharing. By its very nature, long-form content also requires site visitors to spend more time on your website, another clue for search engines to use to gauge the value of your site. Longer, well-written and intriguing content naturally holds visitors' attention longer, and if you include thoughtful links to related content on your site, you've also increased the time spend on your site even more. Long-form content is great for really diving deeply into a topic. Some topics don't lend themselves to long form content; others, however, naturally need more room to develop the thesis and explore the many nuances around the topic. Anytime you dive deeply into a topic, you're adding value to the reader's experience, which develops your relationship with the end-user and creates a favorable brand impression.
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