Gone like a home run – not into the abyss.
Recently, I came across two great articles by Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics, and Brian Gardner, founder of Studiopress. They both had one word in common – LONG. They also confirmed what I already believed to be true: 1) long form content dominates search rankings and 2) long tail keywords promote higher quality traffic.
Long Form Content: Brilliant When Necessary
When Neil Patel says long form content converts more than short form content, he’s talking about high quality web content. He’s talking about a page that powerfully expounds on one specific point – not a page that’s unfocused and comes across muddled. Remember, even though Google is a machine, it’s a damn smart one.
More Quality Content = More Social Signals = Higher Rankings
Google is smarter than ever because it now reads social signals. That means the more tweets, likes, +1s and other social shares that your page has, the more authority it receives in search engine rankings.
And guess what receives the most social shares? Long form content.
In Patel’s article about content length, he uses one of his own famous blogs, Quick Sprout, to test word count’s effect on social metrics. To do this, he took the 327 blogs he’s written for the site and separated them into two categories: 1) blog posts under 1500 words and 2) blog posts over 1500 words. He then took the average number of tweets and Facebook likes received in each category and made a handy graph.
After crunching the numbers, Patel concluded that his posts over 1500 words received 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than his posts under 1500 words. This is just one small example, but it’s consistent with others I’ve come across during my time as a content writer at WebiMax.
Think about this: Google gives high quality long form content an advantage over high quality short form content published on the same day (assuming that each hosting website has similar authority). Because long form content ranks higher, more people are bound to look at it — and because the quality of the content is high, more people are likely to share it. This means higher rankings.
Recent evidence that the use of long form is growing: Google’s recent launch of in-depth articles.
Long Tail Keywords: It’s as Simple as Adding “What Is”
If you use any keyword tool, you’ll see that shorter terms have more competition and longer terms have less. Because the tools show that WAY more users are searching for the shorter terms, people are often tempted to try to rank for these.
Unless your website has superior domain power, however, it could take years – even decades – to rank on page 1 for a short, specific term.
You read it right – decades.
For this reason, SEO companies and web whizzes like Brian Gardner are targeting long tail keywords – keywords three words or longer. In Gardner’s article about long tail keywords, he confirms something that I discovered during my time working for a local BMW performance shop in Manayunk, Philadelphia: adding something as simple as “what is” to a popular term can have amazing results.
My own experience: As a marketing assistant at the performance shop, I developed the company’s content marketing strategy by using old school SEO tactics. I would write articles and post them on every article directory I came across: Ezine, Sooper Articles, Article Snatch, and others (recognition of my SEO ignorance at the time).
One day, I wrote a post on walnut shell blasting – a practice used for cleaning the intake valves of vehicles. Before writing it, I looked for a keyword using Google’s old Adword Keyword Tool. “Walnut Shell Blasting” had high competition, while “What is Walnut Shell Blasting” had very low competition.
Long story short, I added the “what is.” Now you can find my Ezine article about walnut shell blasting at #1 on Bing. I imagine if I posted the piece on the company’s blog instead of on multiple article directories, it would have been close to #1 on Google, too. However, as you probably know, Google has very strict duplicate content rules.
Gardner’s experience: A while back, Gardner wrote a post on email marketing – its definition, how people use it, etc. Like me, before writing it, he did some research and found that he had a better chance ranking if he added “what is” before “email marketing.” As he expected, Google rewarded him with highly targeted traffic.
When Gardner wrote his article on long tail keywords, he noted that “what is email marketing” ranked #14 on his keyword referrals list for Google Search. Pretty impressive.
According to Gardner, “the majority of searches performed are of the long tail search variety. Rather than typing in a generic word or two and sifting through pages of results to find what they’re looking for, searchers are much more likely to type in longer phrases to immediately find the specific information they need.”
Evidence that the use of long tail keywords is growing: SEO companies like WebiMax are focusing on long tail keywords’ enormous potential for highly targeted traffic to increase rankings for new and existing clients.
Imagine the online recognition that could be achieved by combining long form content with long tail keywords.
Vast like the abyss. Awesome like a home run.
It was pitch black back then. But after joining WebiMax and expanding my copywriting skills, I began to see the proverbial light.
I look back at what I wrote then and what I write now and I notice a major difference in the quality and tone of my writing. Before it was good. Now, it’s better than before. And the most exciting part is it will continue to improve as long as I continue to pull from the great resources I’ll be discussing below.
I’m convinced my improvement as a writer resulted mainly from one thing: the wisdom and information in the newsletters I started reading a little over a year ago.
Benefits of Reading these Free Online Newsletters
Taking a few hours out of your week to read them will help you to dramatically improve your writing and business skills. You’ll also become more passionate and confident when the time comes to exercise your opinion. Topics covered in these newsletters include:
• Traditional copywriting and SEO copywriting
• Traditional marketing and Internet marketing
• The business of giving a lot and receiving more in return
• Perseverance, consistency and passion
• Healthy living for a healthy business
I believe that 20% of people are truly passionate about the industry they’re in. The other 80% are either complacent, apathetic, or wishing they were somewhere else. I’m confident that reading these newsletters will make you part of the 20%, if you’re not already part of it.
Whatever percentage you’re part of, find comfort in these newsletters. As you’ll learn, they’re rich with experience, intelligence and a genuine concern.
The Best Online Newsletters Currently Available
Copyblogger is the authority in content marketing. The company that specializes in producing content marketing software and other valuable marketing resources started out as a little blog about 7 years ago. The founder, Brian Clark, wrote two blog posts a day about the importance of content marketing. Eventually, Copyblogger became an empire and defined the true value of having a blog with fresh content.
In the Copyblogger newsletter, you’re going to get the latest on content marketing, social media marketing, SEO and more. In addition to receiving updates every time a new post is published, you’ll also have access to 13 free ebooks that individually dissect topics like landing pages, keyword research, email marketing and SEO copywriting.
Early to Rise
The Early to Rise newsletter is released every weekday morning around 7 a.m. like clockwork. You can always expect it and always expect it to be great. Craig Ballantyne, copywriter and self-made entrepreneur, is the editor of the newsletter. He writes about 1 post per week and brings in professionals in various industries for the other days.
The writing styles these newsletters employ have had a huge impact on my writing. Their content makes me a better businessman while their style makes me a better writer. All newsletters are clear, engaging and concise. I especially love when Bob Burg posts. He writes about the benefit of giving and how it applies to business.
Leo Babauta is an author, minimalist and deliverer of peaceful practices. The ZenHabits newsletter has over one million subscribers.
The truth is, a lot of us lose track of what’s truly important when we start following our dreams. Business and passion can make our minds race and hard to slow down. With the posts on ZenHabits, Babauta makes you stop for a minute and reflect.
He believes in simplicity and contentment and succeeds in helping you find it. Take a break from the biz, relax, and simply enjoy being present. Life is good.
American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI)
Mark Ford, the copywriter and entrepreneur who started Early to Rise, also created AWAI. I briefly mention my experience with AWAI in my previous .
Nearly every day, AWAI brings in a professional to write a single post or a series of posts about copywriting, freelance writing, graphic design and other marketing topics. If you’re trying to make your own in the freelance biz, definitely subscribe to AWAI’s The Writer’s Life newsletter. You’ll get amazing deals for awesome courses and news about upcoming conferences and events.
However, if you’re just looking for amazing content, go directly to the AWAI article library. I’ve learned so much from reading these. If you’re an aspiring copywriter, I recommend you read every post by Michael Masterson (Mark Ford’s pen name).
Comment about your favorite places for fresh content in the comments section below and let me know what you think about the newsletters mentioned above.