SEO

The dos and don’ts of long-form SEO content

The dos and don’ts of long-form SEO content The dos and don’ts of long-form SEO content
Kerry Clarke-Potter
Kerry Clarke-Potter
SEO Manager

Adding long-form SEO content to your website can be great for SEO, User Experience, and your conversions and sales – if you do it right.

Here’s what, exactly, long-form content is and how you can make it work for you.

What is long-form SEO content?

Long-form SEO content is content that exceeds 750 words, often as much as 4,000 words. It is often used for SEO purposes to rank for a particular keyword or to be seen by Google as an authority on a topic.

Does this mean it’s only for SEO?

Absolutely not. You can cultivate content that’s SEO-friendly as well as enjoyable to read.

Background

As an agency that both builds websites and runs SEO campaigns for our clients, we’ve seen firsthand how adding long form content (750 + words) can have a great impact on keyword rankings without the traffic converting into actual customers.

Simply, that’s because people often create large paragraphs of text without thinking of User Experience (UX) and the enjoyment of the reader.

First: the basics.

What is SEO content and why do you need it?

There’s good content and there’s bad content. SEO is constantly evolving and there are still plenty of websites that are littered with over-optimised and below average content – and some of them even do well in search engine rankings.

Google’s recent algorithm updates have reiterated the need for quality content that serves a purpose.

As Google continues to roll out its updates, there is one recurring theme: They all favour relevant content that is of a high quality.

How many words should a page of SEO content be?

The general consensus, according to the leading SEO watchdog websites, is that anything from 500 to 2,000 words is ideal.

At Dux, we find 750 words works well for some our clients, and longer form content for others.

However, simply having a good word count on a page doesn’t guarantee you top spot. There are so many factors that go into getting your page to rank, but having brilliant and informative content that answers a search query perfectly is a good start.

So now we’ve established that content works, how come your conversions haven’t skyrocketed like your keyword rankings?

Are you placing content on your website for Google or for your clients?

750 words is about one and a half A4 pages and can be over nine paragraphs. That’s a lot to read, especially when the average user takes only 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about your website.

If the first thing they see is a huge slab of text, the chances of continuing down the page are limited.

Where does the content sit on your website?

If you’re writing long form blog articles, such as this, it’s ok to have a lot of content specific to the topic. 

However, if you’re dumping swathes of information on one of your key services pages, you may be doing more harm than good.

This is where UX comes into it

Think about your user. What information do they want from you when they land on your website? 

Ask yourself:

  1. Does my page quickly explain the service?
  2. Does my page say why they should consider us?
  3. Does the page quickly and easily explain the process?
  4. And most importantly: Does the page have a call to action?

What does UX have to do with conversions?

Everything. Improving the way your users navigate your website by removing obstacles, or just making it easier to use, will have a dramatic impact on your conversions. Not all changes have to be massive to have an impact: for example, a change of colour on your CTA buttons or adding a phone number to your header are simple to implement and could have a big impact.

But dealing with large slabs of text requires a little more thought. On a simple B2C professional services website, we might structure our layout like this:

  1. Navigation
  2. Title and Brief introduction
  3. Secondary Paragraph
  4. USPs related to the particular service
  5. Information regarding the process
  6. Further information in an accordion

The average conversion rate is 2.35%. If you have 1,000 people per month visit, your site you can expect around 23 conversions. A simple increase of .5% can mean an additional 5 conversions each month.

Is it ok to place SEO content in an accordion?

Tabbed content and accordions are perfectly fine for SEO and are a great way to place large volumes of content onto your pages and, at the same time, actually make it easier to access and digest the content as a reader. 

There has been some conjecture in the SEO industry regarding whether or not Google favours viewable content over hidden content, but Google’s own Gary Illyes has gone public in stating this is not the case and all content is considered for ranking.

An real-life accordion example

Here is an example of a page we’ve reworked to accommodate a large amount of content. We added an accordion below the main content area to house some of the less important text.

It reduces the vertical scrolling and actually makes this content far more engaging.

The moral of the story

Long content is great – just make sure the content is valuable and engaging.

Further reading