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Why writing long articles and blogs may be better for your website optimisation

Patrick Nelson
articles, content, website content, content marketing

Google will soon be highlighting long-form articles in a special box above search results. There's an article on Fast Company that explores why but for our own businesses, it looks like now is a good time to start thinking about how we can get our expertise, intellectual capital and knowledge onto our websites.

For years now, online marketers have advocated writing content in digestible chunks based on premises such as:

  • people don't read web pages, they scan,
  • you only have 7 seconds to grab a visitor's attention,
  • people can't concentrate for more than 10 minutes at a time,  and
  • people get distracted too easily if your post is too long

Whilst all of those still hold true for the majority of landing pages, sales copy and, yes, informational posts that introduce a concept, we must also remember that people are searching for in-depth content more and more often. As a result, more and more of the larger content providers are experimenting with long stories.

One contributing factor to this is because the Internet is now a permanent fixture in our lives ("we're always connected, always online").

Another is that it is the most convenient, most affordable, most accessible form of research available to most of us. How many of us would grab an encyclopædia or visit the library to gather information rather than firing up Google on our smartphones, tablets or laptops?

The bottom line is that, if expertise and information is a part of what you do and what you sell, then you need to prepare yourself and your website for the changes to come. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Make sure that your website can display long-form articles clearly, attractively and prominently.
  2. Ensure that your site is up-to-date and modern and employs the use of modern HTML5 tags. For example, the <article> tag, new in HTML5 specifies independent, self-contained content.

    One of the ideas behind this tag is to allow you to define content on your site that can stand alone. In other words, it should be possible to take that content out of the context of your website and distribute it independently and it will still make sense.

    Why is this important? Both Google and social media sites will make use of the <article> tag to identify, index and display content such as articles, news stories and blog posts.

  3. If you don't have the skills, time or resources in-house to produce long-form content, either acquire them or outsource them.