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Online Content: Is Longer Really Better?

January 31, 2017

By Jacob Baadsgaard

moz-non-keyword-ranking-factors

Writing online content is something of a balancing act. For years, SEO experts have pointed out that Google loves longer content.

Your readers? Not necessarily.

As a writer, that means you’re kind of stuck in the middle. Write too little, and your content won’t rank. Write too much, and most people won’t read your content.

‘Tis a conundrum, no?

The good news is, Google has realized that word count and keyword density aren’t always the best predictors of relevance. People care about their on-page experience—not the keyword count.

As a result, Google has placed an increasing focus on user experience. In Moz’s 2015 report on non-keyword ranking factors, 4 of their top 10 factors relate to user experience:

Given this trend, the odds are that as Google gets better at discerning great on-page experiences from the ho-hum ones, many pages with a lot of text but little value will start dropping through the ranks.

As a result, it’s not enough any more to write in-depth, keyword rich content—you have to optimize your content length for user experience. And, to do that, you need to know how much content your audience really wants on a page.

Fortunately, figuring that out isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. To help you out, let’s take a look at how users interact with content and how you can test your content to maximize its effectiveness.

Is Longer Better?

Since Google has historically prioritized longer content, most companies and blogs have spent years producing long-form content. Often, this content is good, high-quality writing that delivers a lot of value (case in point, the Kissmetrics blog).

But the question is, is longer better?

For some sites, it probably is. But, to tell you the truth, I rarely read through everything on a page, even if I care a lot about the content. As it turns out, most people act the same way online.

In fact, Chartbeat ran a study to see just how far people make it through a typical blog post. Turns out, your average user only reads about half of a blog post:

So, while you may have written an epic, 8,000-word blog post about the psychology behind the Chewbacca Mask Lady’s viral video, most people aren’t going to read the whole thing. They’re going to bail long before your oh-so-compelling conclusion.

Sure, your article might rank well, but if people don’t finish reading it, will your article help your business? That’s debatable.

This idea holds especially true for site pages and landing pages. The internet is littered with enormous pages like this one (I rearranged the page into 3 side-by-side columns to improve your reading experience—see what I did there?):

myriad-pro-homepage

Pages like this have a lot of good content, but all of that good content gets lost in the length of the page. Yes, the information a potential customer needs is probably on the page, but if they can’t find it, they’re not going to have a very good experience.

The point here is that crafting a compelling user experience doesn’t mean writing a …read more

Source:: Kiss Metrics Blog

      

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