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Short-Form vs. Long-Form Content: Which One to Choose?

March 3, 2022
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Content marketing has several main goals. These are search engine promotion of the site and interest in readers. Your job is to write content that fulfills both of these goals. However, users disagree on what length text should be for higher interest and quality search engine indexing. In this article, we analyzed different data. Read to the end to find out what form of content to use for your site. 

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How Content Length Affects Search Engine Rankings

Content is one of the ranking factors and helps sites get indexed well in the search engine. Google mentions this, and SEOs know it when they see an increase in the positions of pages with extensive content.

Google does not limit the length of text on the site. Overseas SEO specialists for many years now have information about the advantage of sites with more content. How much of this corresponds to reality?

The results of studies conducted recently in the English-language segment of the Internet clearly show the difference between the number of words on a sub-page and its place in the Google search engine results. The longer the text, the more likely it is to rank well in search results.

Keep in mind that the number of words on the page is not a ranking factor. Websites are judged by search engines primarily on the quality of their content. Long-form content will help achieve high search engine rankings if it is developed for people and properly optimized.

Indeed, you won’t find any mention in Google’s instructions of the differences in ranking quality between long-form vs short-form content. However, the long-form text allows you to meet all the key requirements of the search engines.

Among them:

  • The uniqueness of the texts;
  • >
  • Fully disclosed topic and compliance with the subject of the article the general purpose of the site;
  • Structured (the presence of headings and subheadings with keywords, as well as the presence of lists);
  • The presence of backlinks.

These are the main requirements for content ranking. It is impossible to fulfill the 100% if you only write and publish short-form content. Short articles often do not have a full-fledged structure. Therefore, search engines cannot identify keywords in subheadings H1-H3, as well as analyze the metadata with entries of key phrases. There are also fewer keywords in short texts. That also reduces the quality of page ranking and the speed of their indexing.

When choosing the length of the texts, it is important to be guided by the type of pages and the purpose of the site for which you are creating short or long-form content. Single-page sites simply do not accommodate long-form content. They are worse ranked by search engines and more often used to promote contextual and targeted advertising. 

Therefore, you should use a short form of content on a landing page. 

Long-form content is suitable for blogs, information sites, as well as corporate sites describing services or products. Online stores should not use too long descriptions. However, you can add a blog page and publish large articles with guest links and helpful tips there. That will promote the site faster in search engines. 

Did you know that influencer marketing can improve your SEO? In this article, you will find out exactly how it works. Click to learn more

Differences Between Long And Short-Form Content

There are several influential differences between short-form and long-form content. Short-form content refers to texts of up to 1,000 words in length. Most often such texts do not have an extended structure, are not supplemented with lists, images, hyperlinks, and content. Long-form content refers to texts of 1,000 to 1,500 words. Such texts usually have H1-H3 headings, content, images, footnotes, quotes, hyperlinks. Authors write long texts with an introduction and conclusions. This rule is true for all types of texts, but in long reads, it is more essential to follow this structure. This will help users better understand and absorb the material.

The main criterion you should use in determining the length of a text is its real value to the recipient. The better you adapt the text to their needs, the better.

It is not true that people do not read long texts. There are plenty of examples of narrowly themed sites that publish articles of 40,000 characters or more, and the average time spent on the site for these pages is 10 minutes or more. This means that the audience is willing to spend 10 minutes reading text that is of real use to them.

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That doesn’t mean you can dilute the content with water, just to make the text longer. The point is to give the most complete yet specific information that will be of real value to the user.

Don’t worry if you write a lot. Your texts mustn’t contain a lot of unnecessary information. After reading them, the reader should not get the feeling that they are wasting their time.

You have to know in what situations to use one form of content or another. Let’s describe this in more detail. 

When To Use Short-Form Content

Short-form content is relevant for social networks, one-page sites, corporate and informational sites, as well as for promotional materials. The peculiarity of this type of content is its brevity, informativeness, and conciseness. 

Short texts have one key idea, which can be described in one or more paragraphs. Do not try to use this form of content for informational texts, scientific articles, SEO articles with many key phrases or stories. 

Short content ranks worse because it contains fewer keyword phrases. However, it is indexed faster. You can combine different types of texts on your website or social media pages. This is very important. After all, you will be communicating your thoughts more intelligently in this way. 

Many websites and social media pages have a short form of content with up to 1,000 words of text. You can write a company story, your business values, a promotional offer, and a description of services in this form. Readers will learn enough information. On many types of sites, this is enough to get it to the top of search results.

When To Use Long-Form Content

Long-form content is often used on informational sites, blogs, manuals, and scientific literature collections. Many sites contain long articles of more than 1,200 words with many key phrases. This is true for publications on broad topics with multiple subheadings, lists, enumerations, and conclusions.

It is impossible to describe a topic in detail without writing a long text. This form of content typically contains images, diagrams, and infographics. This improves the perception of the text. 

Long texts are suitable for a detailed description of a topic with a lot of material and key phrases. Some topics cannot be described in a short text. For example, the topic “Financial management of an insurance company” is unlikely to be covered in a short text. 

Search engines rank well for long texts. They need to adhere to a clear structure and prescribe key phrases. In this case, there is a chance that in a few weeks the page will get to high search positions.  

Articles with more than 1,200 words are often a tool of SEO strategy to promote a site in Google. This is the right approach. Note that many online stores and corporate sites contain sections with articles and useful materials. They contain articles and instructions detailing different topics. This is done for search engine promotion and better site ranking. So, you can write short texts for the main pages of your site. But don’t forget that long blog articles will also have good resultsp

How To Write Long And Short Forms Of Content Correctly

Have you already decided on the best form of content for your site? Then you need to follow some writing rules. Short and long-form content should be written differently. This is to ensure that the content brings real value. 

As we wrote above, the long-form content with more than 1,200 words has the most value. This volume can include keys from the semantic core as well as guest links. 

Other text requirements:

  • Uniqueness above 80%;
  • The presence of headings and subheadings;
  • Low level of spam;
  • Conformity with the subject of the site.

The length of the text must be fully consistent with the topic you are writing about. You cannot write a very long text on a simple topic. In this case, you will get a lot of unnecessary text. High spam worsens the ranking of pages and their indexing. 

You should know that long-form content is better for organic traffic. And short content is better suited for contextual and targeting ads. This is due to the peculiarities of indexing and ranking pages with different word counts. 

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You can see this for yourself by visiting any online store that advertises with pay-per-click PPC ads. You are likely to see little content, with headlines and short descriptions on the page being advertised. If you go to the page from the top of the search engine, you will see more content.

Which Is Better: One Long Article Or A Series Of Short Ones?

Sometimes doubts arise whether it is better to write one very long blog post or to create a series of articles on a certain topic. If you have a huge text, and you understand that the user will not be able to fully digest it, it is advisable to break it into several modules that make up a logical whole. The key here is logic and closing a given topic in a single piece of text.

However, if you want to publish a series of tiny articles of 1500 characters each instead of this guide, unfortunately, this is not the best option. Small, low-value pieces have a much lower chance of “taking off” in Google search results.

So, there is no optimal number of characters for a blog post because both users and Google consider its quality, not quantity. You can’t go overboard in any direction. There’s no point in writing very short text or pouring water on artificially increasing the length of content for ranking.

It is best to follow the criteria of the usefulness of each text for the recipient and then optimize it well for SEO. Then both the potential client and Google will be satisfied.

Conclusion

There is short and long-form content for websites. Each content form has its distinctive parameters and design requirements. Your site pages will rank poorly if you don’t adhere to key requirements. Remember, short-form content is more suitable for social media, business card sites, presentations, and advertising. Use long-form content for informational sites, blogs, scholarly articles, tutorials, and guest posting. Don’t forget to follow the rules of text formatting and stick to high uniqueness. 

Now you know all about choosing the right content for your site. Follow the advice, and you will immediately notice the result. 

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