Short form vs Longform Content what works best

Ever got stuck wondering about the best content form to boost SEO and search visibility between long form and short form Content?

I’ve been asked this question a lot of times and what most content creators usually expect me to say is to tell them to go for the longer blog posts or the short ones right away.

But really, you want to know the truth? There’s no such straight forward answer.

The truth about Longform Vs Shortform Content

Firstly, a long form content is considered to be a post between 2000 words and above while a short form content is an article between 500-1000 or 1500words.

Both a short and long blog post can be very useful for your blog and your users.

In fact, Content Marketers like Seth Godin have been created a highly performing website with shorter articles which is also updated on a daily basis…

Just as marketers like Neil Patel have excelled with longer and more in-depth blog posts.

Considering such realities, it might get pretty difficult to decide whether to create shorter or longer posts for your blog…

The case for Shortform Content

As a matter of fact, a short and straight to the point blog post is useful because your average readers’ attention span is getting lower than it used to be.

In fact, according to a research by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds only…

For this reason, to get better engagement and to avoid wasting your readers’ time, it’ll naturally appear that you have to write shorter and straight to the point pieces of content that will be valuable to them.

The case for Longform Content

On the other hand, according to a study by backlinko, long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles.

A longer and more detailed blog post of about 2000+ words will be very useful for your search engine optimization.

What it does is that it helps you utilize as much keywords as you can in a blog post thus helping your blog rank faster for the right keywords.

A shorter post of about 500 words on the other hand won’t give you much of that chance to use as much keywords although it might be more beneficial to the reader who’s not ready to read a lengthy post.

So should you write a longer blog post or a shorter one?

Quick answer, Yes. And No!

Longer answer; Don’t make your blog post longer than it should be.

I mean, do not use too many words and long sentences in a blog post because you want to reach a certain number of words.

Focus on writing a good post that has enough value for your readers. That’s what you want to do.

Instead of writing either short or long blog posts alone, write both.

Make short and long form posts at intervals.

Some blog topics need simple and straight forward content while some need a more detailed blog post

For topics that are short and straight to the point, focus on making your articles brief and within the length that can pass adequate value to your readers.

Some topics will need a well researched and detailed post before it can be covered completely.

For such posts like this, focus on making your content as detailed as possible.

At the end of the day, the high point of every blog post is to get your blog a better ranking on the search engine, create value for your readers, keep them coming to your blog again and possibly, turn them into paying clients.

This should be your focus with every single post you make.

How to know the length of post to write

Conduct a keyword research

Usually, as a professional content marketer, you’re not supposed to decide the length of a post by guess work.

Before you begin to write a piece of content, you need to research other posts ranking well for that keyword and figure out a way to get a better ranking than them.

You can get this done with a free content analysis tool like buzzsumo. With Buzzsumo, you get to see the top ranking websites for any keyword, number of shares and other analytics that will help you work on creating a better content.

With this knowledge and a basic keyword research, you can create a compelling post that is richer and more in-depth than the top ranking posts then.

Naturally, going this route will increase your content length, compared to writing the post without carrying out such research.

Understand the purpose of the blog post clearly

Like i mentioned earlier, the purpose of every blog post is to get readers to your blog, create engagement and possibly convert your readers to buyers.

To be able achieve the purpose of your post successfully, you’ll need to have certain things in place like backlinks, a decent number of visitors, high quality content etc.

Now, you can’t do all these things at the same time that’s why you need to have a strategic approach towards creating specific goals for your content.

If your goal is to create backlinks then you’ll definitely have to target a longer and more detailed posts.

If it’s all about keeping your readers engaged or coming back to your blog on a daily basis, then you may want to write shorter articles as those ones won’t take more of your time.

Understand the Competition

What are your competition writing about? And what’s the average length for those posts?

You want to understand the competition behind the keyword you’re targeting and the length of the top ranking content for the keyword.

Knowing the length of the top ranking blog posts in your niche or keyword will help in getting the blog posts you’re planning to write, a better ranking.

Where the top ranking post for a keyword you’re targeting is 1000 words for instance, to get a better ranking for your content, you can work on writing a 1500-2000 words of a well researched and more valuable content then promote it.

Doing this will get your post to rank faster on the front page of the search engine. Compared to where you write a post with the same length or even shorter number of words.

On the other hand, where you observe that the top performing posts for a particular niche keyword are shorter in length, to improve your performance you’ll want to align your posts with such post length.

Understand what works for your audience

Depending on your niche, your audience might prefer a longer and well detailed content or shorter articles.

Before you can decide on making any changes to the length of your content, you have to consider what works best for your audience, based on your industry or target niche.

You can have an idea about this by using analytics tools to study the length of posts that gets better results like shares, views etc. and then create more of such posts.

Top Reasons to Create Long Form Content

To get More Back-links

Backlinking is one of SEO’s best practices to improve your web rankings and search visibility on Google.

A blog in need of audience and back links needs repeated clusters of pillar posts/long-form content.

These are the kind of content other websites will easily want to link to because of the depth, accuracy and detail involved in writing it.

So, a back-link from a high authoritative website is like a thumbs up on your post. Besides earning you improved rankings for the web page, it will expose your content to a new audience.

For this reason alone, a lot of people will prefer to write long form content.

Improved Social Media Shares

Although Short Form Content still attracts shares on social media, according to research, longer form content are more shareable.

In a recent study by Brian Dean, long form content generates 72 percent more back links than short articles.

With more back links and social media shares, your content becomes visible to even more users.

This in turn will improve your brand visibility while exposing your website to a new audience. This is besides the traffic it will also attract to your website.

Brand Credibility

A well written and indepth long form content is a powerful tool that can be used to boost brand credibility, earn customer’s respect and improve social social media shares.

Creating a comprehensive post like white papers, case studies, ebooks etc on a subject matter will project your brand as highly knowledgeable and credible in the niche.

Considering that a brand’s credibility will always have an impact on client’s perception of the brand, a good number of indepth long form content, will go a long way in giving your brand a major boost in credibility.

Improves Your Authority

Creating compelling and highly informative contents like e-books, case studies, white papers demonstrates your grasp and in-depth understanding of the subject matter.

Instead of coming off as more profit-focused, long form content provides a great deal of value to your audience, and this in turn projects your brand as a thought leader in your niche.

The more your clients see you as an expert in your niche, the more they believe in your capacity to provide the solutions they need.

In the long run, such brand positioning drives improved returns on your inbound marketing efforts and overall conversion rates.

Top Reasons to Create Short Form Content

Reduced Attention Span

With the improvement and increasing number of social platforms, blogs and websites, there’s a whole lot of content out there competing for attention from your readers.

To get readers coming to read your blog, you don’t just want to compete and outwit your competition, you want to create content that that works for your audience.

For that reason, the next best thing to do is to create the kind of content that will create value for your audience without being too long or wasting their time.

Audience Preference

Naturally and based on certain industries, some readers will naturally prefer content that’s short form and straight to the point.

If you’re in such niche, your best option is to stick with high quality short form content.

If you can get high quality content summed up in a few readable words then why use elaborate words?

Necessity to create posts often

Usually, short form content takes less time to create, compared to long form content. And for this reason with short form content, you get the chance to create content more often.

Why this is important?

Depending on your niche, it may be necessary to write more often, like on a daily basis.

Some niches need lots of bite sized content that would be updated on a daily basis so, if you’re in such a niche, you may have to write more shorter content because of your niche.

Final Words

In conclusion, for your own benefit, it would be best you don’t rely on a short or long form content only, unless you’re very sure your niche thrives only on short form content.

Otherwise, to get better result for your blog and content marketing effort, work on mixing up the two as part of your content strategy.

Write short and bite sized content to save time then mix it up with clusters of pillar posts and longform content to get the traffic and back link benefits.

There you have what works best for SEO between short form content and long form content. Want a more detailed analysis of what will work for your blog? contact our team or join our Content Marketing College here.

Now it’s over to you! So, what’s the best content length for your audience? Drop your answers in the comments section.

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Victor Winners

Victor Winners

Award winning Blogger, Author, Web Developer, Senior Digital Strategist and Founder of Africa's most widely read blog on Content Marketing and Digital Strategy, VictorWinners.Com.Named as one of the top 50 design influencers globally, since 2014; Victor Winners has helped over 2 million readers to understand and use digital technology to transform their lives and businesses.

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