How Long Content Can Still Hurt Your Ranking

Why you're not ranking with long content

You must have read that long content is the best bet to rank higher. What if I told you, longer content can hurt your ranking? Instead of the 3,000 words to help your ranking, it ends you up in being thrown down in search results.

Who is wrong then?

If you’ve read that you needed to write up to 2000 or more words before you can convince search engines for organic traffic, they’re right. I even established that here.

But if you’ve noticed, I’d in other posts warned you from taking it (hook, line, and sinker). Don't be convinced that lengthy posts are the only ways you can compete and win ranking for a topic or dominance in a niche. In fact, here, I gave you a guide to writing short and still rank higher than those who had written 5000 words before you.

After reading the work of Mason Pelt, I saw the need to re-establish the fact that longer posts may not only be useless but can still hurt your SEO and ranking. As a result, instead of you to experience higher ranking for your content, or if things don’t work, retain the same spot, you end up drowning in the search results.

How Can Long Content Still Not Rank?

The answer is simple - because very many pillar posts lack the quality.

Search engines had been fooled for years that the longer a post, the more likely it has what searchers were looking for.

Googlebot had read your posts and had all the keywords noted. If the algorithm feels the number of words is rich enough to answer any questions, search engines may fall in love with it. Hence, you are more likely to be shown to people searching for related answers.

That’s the way very many content writers had fooled Google and other search engines. In fact, this will continue into the future.

But if you follow the same trend, will it work for you?

As a matter of fact, those who are being ranked for the length of content must have done two things rightly.
  1. The content is really long enough to convince Google.
  2. The content gives or adds enough value to convince users.

You can take a moment to search for certain keywords. See the results. Are the first three results longer posts? If yes, what is the quality? Do they give or add values?

I bet they give the quality!

If any of them lacks the quality, please note the post and its position in the results. Recheck the same keywords a week after and see the new position.

I bet it will drop or even disappear.

In fact, things won't remain the same for that post. And unfortunately, the position must have gone deep into the search results - may be number 10 or 23 by the next search?

The question is "what happened?"

The post was long. That fooled Google. Hence, the search engine ranked it the early weeks. After a few searchers had noticed the quality was bad and bounced back to read better results. This sent the right signals to Google that the post wasn't worth the position.

As a result, Google throws it down the ladder.

In summary, if you can fool search engines with your long content, you can’t fool the users if the quality is missing.

What Features Make Content Quality?

Having established it that the longer your content but with less quality, the more likely your SEO and ranking is hurt, you need to know what will retain quality in your long post.

1. Don’t Repeat Points

Because some content writers wish to achieve skyscraper posts, they repeat the same points two or more times.

Don’t let your hunger for length forces you to duplicate points. Readers are not foolish. They know when they’d read the same thing over and over.

If they have this feeling at any point in your post, they may quit reading. This may NOT be good for your ranking. Your aim, without any consideration for search engines, should be for readers to read your posts to the end.

2. Answer Users' Questions in Every Paragraph

If you have a sentence taking you off the relevance of your topic, cut it off the page.

Users’ questions can differ but usually surround the same keywords. If you commit relevance and intent to mind while typing, you are more likely to answer each user's intent in every paragraph.

If a sentence slips off the rail of your topic, you may lose a readers’ interest. Let your idioms, jokes, illustrations, if any, remain within the armpit of what you’re discussing.

3. Summarize Your Points

The world is in a hurry, so are people. You need to help them. Hence, find a way to summarize your long point.

Don’t forget, what matters for ranking is users’ experience. If they say your posts are perfect, search engines dance to that. Hence, let them get answers to their questions as fast as possible, they will help your ranking.

I’d personally noticed higher rankings after publishing posts and revisiting to see what can be cut off the articles and still convey the same meaning. I love making longer content short to help quicken readers' understanding. All these have helped my rankings even though the overall length is reduced.

4. Give or Add Value

This is the mother of them all. Be sure you know what you're talking about. You don't need more research results, official backings or any sort of evidence than the good knowledge of what you're talking about.

Readers know when they can go practical with your advice and guides. They know when your content is more fictional than real. Hence, don't fool yourself with words, give values they're looking for or add to what they'd already got.

Conclusion

Content writing and marketing has a single pillar on which it rests. It's the users' experience. If you give values with a short post, you'll be meritoriously rewarded. I can justify this with Google featured snippet and voice search of today. 

However, longer content is useless if it's just a game of meeting up with a certain word count.

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