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When drafting a content piece, one of the most frequently asked questions is about the ideal article length. The answer usually depends on the subject you’re tackling, so you just write as much as you need to cover the topic. But does that always sell?
In today’s rapidly changing world, consumer demands fluctuate as well. Does a user have the time and patience to read a long article? On the other hand, does a short article make the same impact? Fortunately for you, we will address all your questions in this guide.
Keep reading to see an in-depth comparison of a long-form vs. short-form article and see which option is selling in 2022.
A long-form article is typically twice the length of its short-form counterpart. On average, a long-form article will have at least 1200 words. While differing opinions on this may exist, this word count is acceptable across the board.
Benefits of Long-Form Articles
1. Rank Higher in Search Engines
Google’s algorithm works in a way to produce high-quality content at the forefront. There are a few factors that dictate quality, one of which is the length of the article. So the longer the article, the better quality it will appear, according to Google. Gone are the days when Google would consider keywords as the only criteria for a higher rank. With overdone keyword stuffing, Google prefers organic use of keywords, including high-ranking long-tail keywords, which is possible with longer content.
Research shows that the top 5 Google search results have an average content length of over 2300 words. Much has to do with Google’s understanding of how much time a user spends on a page. Longer content takes more time to read; hence, a user will stay on the page for longer. So when Google chooses between two articles showcasing the same keyword, it will naturally prefer an article on which a reader spends more time. No article will drive traffic until it has visibility, which it will only receive by ranking higher on organic search engines like Google.
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2. Greater Chances of Backlinks
A backlink, as you may already know, is when a website links to another. Any marketer knows the importance of backlinks for SEO. They act like a vote of confidence, not only in the eyes of the client but also Google. The more link building you achieve, the more important your article will appear to Google’s algorithm. As a result, your article will rank higher in search engines again, and your content will gain more visibility and organic traffic.
You might be wondering how you get more backlinks with longer content. Long-form articles have more information, which naturally increases the chances of another website linking your content for reference. When this happens, an online user will see your website as ‘authority.’ This will increase the likelihood of them subscribing to your website to receive updates about your article. They may also be willing to pay for your articles and even link them to other pieces of content, boosting further link-building prospects.
3. Higher Traffic and Shares
The longer the content, the higher the chances of it being shared. When you produce content, you want it to get as much traffic as possible. There’s only so much marketing you can do; the rest is the number of people sharing your article on their social media profiles like Facebook and LinkedIn. When people see long articles, they immediately think this content is comprehensive, effectively researched and of higher value. This user perception drives more organic traffic to your article, which is every writer or marketer’s ultimate goal for their content.
Statistics show that lengthier content, more than 3000 words, has a higher chance of being shared. Long-form articles, between 1000 and 2000 words tend to receive more than 5000 shares on Facebook compared to short-form articles, between 0 and 1000 words, which get less than 5000 shares on the same platform. Longer content that covers more information will likely answer all your questions concerning a topic, removing the need to open any other (short-form) article.
4. More Conversions
The new-age user is smart and does not fall prey to branded messages by companies themselves. This is why companies produce helpful content that can expertly redirect users to your website. A user might read your article, but is there a guarantee they’ll convert, i.e., become a paying customer? We’ve already established that long-form articles get more traffic, backlinks, and shares. This naturally increases the chances of conversions. This is how it works.
When other websites link to your article, users will view your site as a reliable source on the subject. For example, you might write an article about the best skincare regime for oily skin if you sell skincare products. When other websites link to your article for its information, a user will automatically trust you as something more than a business trying to make money. They will see long-form articles and think about the passion, time, and investment that went into creating it. This will build into their perception that you know what you’re doing, increasing the chances of trusting you as a seller.
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A short-form article is an article that is less than 1200 words. This content, which most marketers deem to be around 1000 words, is brief and covers a specific part of a subject.
Benefits of Short-Form Articles
1. Easy to Read
In today’s fast-paced world, users hardly have any time. An average internet user has several tabs open on their internet simultaneously and doesn’t want to spend too much time on any one website. Your article competes with many other things vying for the user’s attention. In light of this, a busy internet user with a packed schedule will naturally prefer a short read to longer articles.
A short-form article is easier to read and consume. A 1000-word article takes merely 3 minutes to read, compared to a 3000-word article which demands 10 minutes of your valuable time. A reader might stick around to read the entire short-form article, or at least to reach your call-to-action, which is every marketer’s ultimate goal. This will boost your readership and engagement and even reduce bounce rate.
2. Growing Demand
With increasing responsibilities, activities, and even distractions, the average user’s attention span has dropped to merely 8 seconds. In light of this, do you really think a 10-minute article makes a user stay? Simply put, not everyone has time for that, which drastically limits your readership. There is so much content on the internet today that a user doesn’t want to miss out. They would rather get the scoop from a couple of short-form articles than read a single long-form article.
Marketers understand that short-form articles cater to the growing demand for shorter contents-whether it’s short Snapchat or Instagram content or readable content. If people want to spend time on something, they would rather do that on videos that don’t require the same level of concentration that long paragraphs need for comprehension. When marketers are decreasing content in this day and age, you would miss out by churning out long articles.
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3. Quicker Production
Short-form content naturally takes less time than long-form articles unless you add a lot of stats and detailed information. This frees up time for other marketing activities like promotion and posting. Whether you’re an individual blogger or a marketer, you don’t want to invest too much energy and time in one article, which may or may not fare too well.
The faster you produce content, the better you can compete with the endless forms of content online. In today’s digital age, content has a very limited lifespan, so you should create new content everywhere if you want to stay ahead of the competition. This is rarely possible if you’re creating long-form articles unless you hire a content writing service to expertly market your business.
Which is Better in 2022?
Now that we have analyzed the benefits of long-form and short-form articles, how do you decide which is better for you, and does that even matter? The answer depends on the type of content you’re producing as both forms serve some purpose.
Here are a few factors to consider:
Nature of the Topic
If you produce content on a specific topic, you might fare well with a long-form article. The idea is to come off as an authoritative source to readers, which is only possible with a long-form article. When a reader is actively looking for information on a subject, they will b willing to spend time reading and understanding the article. Therefore, the lower attention span rule doesn’t apply here. Moreover, the more intensive the topic, the more words it will require to cover it fully.
General Topic: Short-Form Article
Specific Topic: Long-Form Article
In today’s age, everyone reads on their smartphone. Therefore, the platform where you post should be mobile-friendly. Most often, this isn’t possible with long-for articles, which will then appear as unintelligible text. If you don’t want readers to miss out on your content, you would fare well with a short-form article.
Mobile-Friendly Platform: Short-Form Article
Other Platforms: Long-Form Article
If you want to rank higher on search engines for a specific keyword, then you should create a long-form article which will earn you more share and backlinks. However, if you are writing on more general subjects or fast-changing news, you would do better with less-time consuming short-form articles.
Do you want to rank higher on Google search for competitive keywords? There is nothing better than a long-form article than appears as an authority on the subject. If you don’t have the time to produce high-quality content every week or month, get access to the premium article writing service at Content Development Pros.