How to Write Long Content with Good Users' Experience

Writing long content requires attention to the users' experience

Available data had shown that to rank in literarily all niches, you have to get committed to writing long content. And obviously, this is true!

But, I’ve heard people complaining about the too long a post is?

Perhaps, you'd also felt the same. Imagine having to read a post for a few hours before you get to the point or the message behind the post.

I don’t personally read a post of 2000- or 3000-word count unless I’m into research to write my own work. I don’t doubt this is applicable to 80% of solution finders out there.

Why will anyone be interested in long-form content if all he wants to answer to “what’s today’s weather in Los Angelis?”?

Do you need to read, even a 300-word article to answer, “When did Chelsea win the last Championship league title?”

Publishers’ First Perceptions Before Writing

Here come the questions for you as a publisher.

  1. Are all internet users conducting researches that require digesting thousands of words and findings?
  2. Does my niche truly need writing skyscrapers?
  3. Won’t I be hurting your users' experience with long content?

Before I start to sound too sadistic on long-form content or departing from what other SEO experts are preaching, I’m aware that writing four thousand words can help with ranking. Yet, there’s a question that you should you commit to heart. “Will long content for SEO be impacting my audience positively too?”

If your industry doesn’t call for more than 300 words to answer the audience’s concern, showing your professionalism in researching will kill your ranking instead of helping it.

I had shared an experience of how my education blog suffered a serious setback for writing skyscrapers for an audience only interested in quick answers in this post, “How Long Content Can Still Hurt Your Ranking”.

The purpose of this post is not to entirely condemn writing too long, but to remind you of the need to serve readers - not the search engines. This confirms with my points in “How to Write Posts for Humans To Win Google”.

There’re benefits to long-form content. Among which are:

1. Google Assumes It Has All

Google is not human. It uses bot to crawl content and check if it’s worded enough, has the right keyword density, relevant to search terms and more. If you have a long post, this bot assumes you must have something right to answer any possible question around users' queries.

As a result, these posts are more likely to rank page one for a long time (unless later demoted by users’ experience).

2. People Perceive Expertise

If you land on a page with content full of words, graphs, charts, and references, the first thing that comes to mind is, this page should have an answer to my question.

You’re likely going to take time and digest everything believing you’ll find your answer somewhere on the page.

At a short content, visitors might be too quick to judge even if the answer is, right, in the first paragraph.

3. People Give More Social Shares

When people find a detailed and well-researched content, they are more likely to share with their friends and families. They usually print, bookmark and save for future reading and references.

Sharing long content gives your audience the feeling that people will see them as experts too or at least someone in vogue with quality.

4. You Can Hide Keyword Stuffing

In fact, there seems to be no way to write long content today without stuffing. We all know it’s a crime in this online content and marketing world. Yet, we’re all guilty of it!

For example, in this post, John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility on Search Engine Land (one of the top SEO industry blogs), wrote an article of about 2000 words with the keyword, "long-form content" repeated about 50 times.

Is that not keyword stuffing?

But it's not important (it doesn’t deserve any penalty) to its ranking as long as he writes longer and takes other things into consideration as detailed in my post, "How to Repeat Keywords WITHOUT Stuffing".

5. Researchers and Other Writers Give It Backlinks

The natural means to build links is FREE (which may required the 4 techniques shared in this post). To get no-cost backlinks, you will wait for your content to rank and see people being lured or forced to link back to you.

Other writers will be left with no other choice than to link back to you if they find your work long and resourceful enough that they deem it fit to associate with.

This linking back is probably the number 2 signal Google uses to rank you - with users’ experience at the very top.

Check if You Need Long Content for Your Niche

This is where users’ experience with long content SEO really comes in. Do you really need long articles in your niche?

Sincerely, if you don’t need it but keep pushing it, you’ll be surprised at the result. You’ll end up being on page three of the search results while people who take to short-form content rank on page one.

Count all factors affecting content ranking all over again. It doesn’t matter if a scholar recommends hundreds if Google gives 200 or we‘re all silent about it. All comes back to is “users experience”.

As at the time of this post, this blog is one of my three successful. It’s all about content writing, marketing, and SEO. This niche needs writing and writing. It needs 1000-plus-word posts to do well. You need to go into detail to beat the competition.

As a result, we’re all left with no other choices than to do our homework. It’s in this niche I learned that summary is not as helpful as we learned in schools. You just have to speak to the length of helping the audience to know it all. You speak to both newbies and professionals.

In one of the other two, I talk about tech gadgets. This doesn’t need talking. People want to solve the problem. They want to reset their phones to default. They want you to share your experience using a laptop. They want you to give them specifications, price and possibly where to buy what you’d used too. They need a list of certain items like waterproof phones etc.

Why do you have to sit them down and start “dog and sail fable”? They want quick answers to their questions!

Hence, what should remain in your mind while anyone is recommending long-form content (like I’d already done here) is “will that positively affect my audience or will send them off my pages?”

Google is Killing Long-Form Content in Style Called Zero Click

Google loves long content. They’ll love that because readers are reading them. But the search engine is equally aware that readers won’t complain whether they find their answer at the 50th or the last paragraph.

Hence, the search engine has looked into things and found a way to help their users find answers without clicking through to the posts.

How?

They introduced “featured snippet”.

A featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a user's query, which is displayed on top of Google search results. It's extracted from a webpage and includes the page's title and URL

Interestingly when I searched for “featured snippet” on Google just now, the answer above was given through snippet.

I don’t need to read the 711-word article written by the author to find an answer to my question.

This has led to what the content marketing industry termed, "Zero Click". This has resulted in a loss of traffic and revenue by about 51%.

Zero-Click Searches refer to a search engine results page (SERP) which answers the query right at the top such that the user doesn't need any further clicks to complete the search. A zero-click search is one that satisfies the search intent at the top of the SERP

I'd also share my personal negative experience on "featured snippet" in my post, "Is It Better to Be Ranked for Featured Snippets?". That’s why I guided people on how to discontinue Google from showing their results on the snippet to win their traffic back. It seems people are in love with that.

Somewhere in between, long-form content is paying the price because users can now get the answer to their questions right on the Google result pages.

Conclusion

Writing long-form content is necessary to rank higher in the niche you find yourself. However, we all need to be conscious of our audience while piling up words. Do they want a quick or long answer? The answer to this question decides our choices and where we will end up on the ranking ladder.

While publishers should be striving for more-word posts, he can do well being choosey as to which topics need long-form SEO and which should be short-form writing. It may be perfect to have a mix of the two on the same blog.

The bottom line is to stick to what works for your audience the best.

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