The purpose of this article is to highlight how adding long-from content to your website might be great for SEO, but is terrible for your User Experience and ultimately your conversions and sales. How do you combat SEO’s negative impact on website conversions?
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 primarily used for SEO purposes to rank for a particular keyword or to be seen by Google as an authority on a topic.
As an agency that both builds websites and runs SEO campaigns for our clients we’ve seen first hand how adding long form content (750 + words) can have a great impact on keyword rankings, but won’t necessarily mean you’ll see a boost in sales.
The reason is that most people just plonk large paragraphs of text on the page without thinking about the user and what they want to see from the website.
But first… the basics…
What is SEO content and why do you need it?
There is good content and bad content. SEO is constantly evolving and there are still plenty of websites that are littered with terrible content that is often stuffed with keywords (think… “If you need SEO Perth, then we’re the SEO Perth company for you…” – yuk!)
Let’s ignore the bad copy as Google will sort that out over time. Instead, lets focus on your well researched, well written content that is actually serving a purpose of informing your potential customers.
The content that you’ve spent hours writing, or paid good money for someone to write it for you. The content that has seen your rankings jump, but the content that has also had little impact on your website conversions. What’s up with that?
Firstly, you’re doing the right thing. Google’s most recent algorithm updates reiterate the need for quality content that serves a purpose.
As Google continues to roll out it’s 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. 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 a brilliant content that answers a search query perfectly is a good start.
So now we’ve established that great content is awesome… 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 9+ paragraphs. That’s a lot to read, especially when the average user takes only 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about your website and decide whether or not to read on.
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 plonking swathes of information on one of your key services pages you may be doing more harm than good.
This is where User Experience (UX) comes into it
Think about your user… What information do they want from you when they land on your website?
We work with a client who has fantastic and informative content on their site. It talks about their specific services and goes into great detail describing it at a technical level.
Whilst the content is great, adding it to the existing website (not built by us) has compromised the user experience. Also, the content, whilst relevant, had been written for Google and not the user that arrives on the website.
It doesn’t include information about the company, why they’re good, and what to expect if you engage them – the classic Who, What and Why!
It also doesn’t break down the text into bite-sized chunks. At first glance, people are simply not going to launch into reading large swathes of content.
- Does my page quickly explain the service
- Does my page say why they should consider us
- Does the page quickly and easily explain the process
- And most importantly… Does the page have a call to action?
What does User Experience 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:
- Title and Brief introduction
- Secondary Paragraph
- USPs related to the particular service
- Information regarding the process
- 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 just finished re-working to accommodate a large amount of content – https://kernhealth.com.au/service/occupational-therapy/ndis/. 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 much more engaging:
The moral of the story
- Long content is great
- Just don’t ignore the basic information that a user wants when they first visit your page
- Understanding users and their needs https://www.dta.gov.au/help-and-advice/build-and-improve-services/user-research/understanding-users-and-their-needs
- How to understand user behavior and improve your website https://www.hotjar.com/blog/user-behavior/
- Revisiting Word Count in 2019 https://www.searchenginejournal.com/revisiting-word-count/316335
If you have any further questions regarding SEO content’s negative impact on website conversions, or for any further digital marketing needs, get in touch with our friendly team and see what we can do for you.