Creating a long or short piece of content depends on the topic.
When writing copy, there are two main formats: long-form and short-form. Each format has unique strengths and weaknesses. Knowing when to use long-form versus short-form can significantly benefit your content marketing strategy.
Many Opinions Are in Play Regarding the Definitions of Long-Form Versus Short-Form Content.
It’s important to state upfront that opinions vary in the copywriting and SEO industry regarding the definitions of long versus short. The definitions shared in this article reflect my opinion. I base my opinions on almost fifteen years of experience in SEO copywriting for top clients across several industries.
What is Long-Form Content?
Long-form content refers to articles or blog posts that are typically over 1,500 words long. These pieces of content are typically more in-depth and comprehensive than their shorter counterparts. Thus, they provide more detailed information and analysis.
Long-form content often establishes authority and thought leadership on a particular topic. It can be particularly effective for complex subjects, such as scientific or technical topics, where a lot of detail is required to explain the subject matter thoroughly.
- Ultimate guides or tutorials that provide a comprehensive overview of a subject, such as “The Ultimate Guide to SEO” or “The Complete Guide to Email Marketing.”
- Case studies that analyze a particular situation or problem in-depth and provide a detailed solution, such as “How Company X Increased Their Sales by 50% with Facebook Ads.”
- Whitepapers or research reports that provide detailed analysis and insights on a particular topic, such as “The State of Content Marketing in 2023” or “The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Business.”
What is Short-Form Content?
Short-form content is less than 1,500 words in length. These pieces of content are often more focused on a specific topic and can be easier to consume quickly.
Short-form content can effectively capture the attention of readers looking for quick answers to their questions. It is also great for social media platforms and highly shareable for users scrolling through quickly.
- Social media posts that share a quick tip or advice, such as “5 Ways to Boost Your Productivity Today.”
- News articles that report on breaking news or updates, such as “Apple Announces New iPhone Models at Keynote Event.”
- Product descriptions or summaries that provide a quick overview of a product or service, such as “Introducing Our New Fitness Tracker – Track Your Progress with Ease.”
When to Use Long-Form Versus Short-Form Format
Remember that the appropriate use of each format depends on your goals and the needs of your audience. Both long-form and short-form content can be effective in different situations. Therefore, choosing the proper format for all content you create is essential.
Knowing when to use each format is crucial for creating a successful content marketing strategy. Here are some examples of when each format is appropriate:
When to use long-form content:
- When you want to establish thought leadership or authority on a particular topic
- When you want to provide in-depth analysis or explanation of complex subjects
- When you want to increase the time a reader spends on your website
- When you want to provide a comprehensive guide or tutorial on a subject
Longer copy provides more value to users and is seen as more authoritative and comprehensive by search engines. As a result, it often performs better in SEO than in shorter content.
When to use short-form content:
- When you want to capture the attention of readers quickly
- If you want to provide quick answers to common questions
- When you want to share news or updates promptly
- If you want to share content on social media platforms where attention spans are short
While long-form copy can be excellent for establishing thought leadership and providing comprehensive analysis, there are times when short-form content is the most effective.
For example, if you’re trying to promote a sale or limited-time offer, a short-form blog post or social media post can quickly capture your audience’s attention and compel them to act.
Similarly, if you’re trying to share breaking news or updates, short-form content can quickly get the information out to your audience without overwhelming them with unnecessary details.
Long-Form Versus Short Form: Which is Better for SEO?
Both long-form and short-form content can be effective for SEO. However, long-form content tends to perform better in search engine rankings. That’s because longer copy naturally includes more phrases and topics that align with users’ search intent.
Search engines like Google prioritize content that provides comprehensive and in-depth information on a subject. Long-form content also tends to attract more backlinks and social shares, which can further boost its SEO value.
Follow Best SEO Practices Regardless of the Content Length
- Conduct keyword research: Keyword research can help you understand what users are searching for and how to optimize your content to match their search queries. Focus on long-tail keywords specific to your topic and have less competition to improve your chances of ranking in search engines.
- Write high-quality, engaging content: Regardless of the length of your content, it should be well-written, engaging, and provide value to your audience. Compelling writing will help improve your search engine rankings and keep your readers returning for more.
- Optimize title tags and meta descriptions: Title tags and meta descriptions are essential for SEO because they summarize your content in search engine results. Title tag and meta descriptions should accurately reflect the content of your article and include your target keyword.
- Use header tags: Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) structure your content. They make it easier for users and search engines to understand. Use your primary keyword in your H1 tag and include relevant secondary keywords in your subheadings.
- Use internal and external linking: Internal linking (links to other pages or blog posts within your website) and external linking (linking to authoritative sources outside of your website) can help to improve your search engine rankings by establishing the relevancy and authority of your content.
- Optimize your images: Use appropriately named files and correct alt tags for site images. These help search engines understand what your content is about. Compress your images to improve page load times, which can also improve your search engine rankings.
- Promote your content: Promote your content through social media, email newsletters, or other platforms to attract more traffic to your website. The more traffic and engagement your content receives, the more likely it is to improve your search engine rankings.
By following these general SEO practices, you can help improve the visibility and performance of your long-form and short-form content in search engine rankings.
Summing It Up: It’s Not a Matter of Long-Form Versus Short-Form But an Argument of Quality Over Word Quantity
Writing great copy is the key to excellent communication. SEO copywriting marries writing for your human readers and to please search engines. So what do I advise Word Innovations clients? A balanced approach is always appropriate. Some topics require in-depth analysis; others require quicker communication.
Only one hard-and-fast rule exists–write quality content that covers a topic thoroughly. It should use clear language without fluffiness and answer any questions your site visitors might ask. You need no more and no less.
If you need help with content creation that will delight your readers, please connect with Word Innovations today.