Long form content does not equal in-depth article – that is the summary of this post.
The aim here is to help internet marketers and bloggers understand this simple fact.
Because Google wants us to write in-depth articles do not necessarily mean you should fluff out thousands of words per post.
Although there is a direct correlation between long form contents and our definition of in-depth article, it is not always the case.
It is very possible you’ll write an article with thousands of words and still not sit at the first 50 spots in your chosen keyword phrase.
It is also possible to write an article that is less than a thousand words and sit at the top 5 spots in search terms you never thought you’ll rank top for.
The key here depends on hundreds of ranking factors and changes Google makes to their results yearly.
However, it doesn’t matter the changes they make.
What is important here is that you give users the answers they are looking for.
Every other thing including ranking and free organic traffic will follow.
Table of Contents
What Is An In-Depth Post?
There are certain properties you have to look for in a post before you can call it in-dept.
It is possible to find these properties in long form contents while you can also find it in short form contents.
But for you to understand what an in-depth article is, there are certain questions you need to ask yourself about every post you write.
Here are some of them:
Did Your Post Answer The User’s Question?
It is not every article and niche that demands that you shoot out thousands of words to answer a question.
Some questions will need long answers while some just need a few sentences to pass the message.
What is important in every blog post you publish is that they provide answers to questions users are asking.
After a user clicks on your link in search results, do they come back to seek for more answers or do they continue checking out other posts in your blog.
Do you have a combination of quality articles that encompasses a topic?
If your post, no matter how long it is, is able to answer users’ questions, it means you have an in-depth article.
Did You Write On Topics Users Are Searching For?
Let me give you an example of writing on questions users are asking.
I once came upon a post where the writer published an article that listed 8 things you can do with the service of a certain large corporations.
It was more than a thousand words and to me fell into the category of what you’ll term an in-depth article for that search query.
I loved the post but felt that something was missing.
Do you know what I did?
I’ll tell you.
I took each of those things you could do with their services, split it into 8 different topics and wrote an article for every one of them.
Each article was less than 500 words compared to his 1,000 words guide.
Currently, my articles are ranking higher than his guide even though they were less in words.
They got me thousands of visitors as organic traffic even when I was wondering how they got to rank with less number of words.
The trick here was that I singled out the particular questions users were asking and wrote an article on them.
Because I have an article that answered the questions users where searching for, I ranked higher.
Obviously my articles were more in-depth than his even when lesser in words.
Did You Satisfy The User?
Judging by the story I just told you, you can see that I was able to rank even higher than the corporation that we wrote about because I satisfied the user with my posts.
There were lots of articles on similar corporations and services on my blog, so it was easy for visitors to compare services.
Though these posts were short, they still maintained their ranking even higher than sites with high domain authority.
Does Your Site Improve User Experience?
Users rarely bounce off my site because I have enough information to keep them engaged.
I moderate comments once in a while and my title is optimized that users tend to click on it more than others in the search result.
When they land on my site they get their answers and many more related options.
So you see that since my site offers them what they can’t get in other sites, Google is still ranking me higher than all these sites.
Finally on In-Depth Articles Vs Long Form Content
Though the image above is telling me to keep writing thousands of words for every post which I do obey, I can’t help but wonder how my short posts do rank.
I don’t know what the possibilities could have been if I had refused to go straight to the point and wrote thousands of words on those titles.
Here is a post I wrote with a few hundred words outranking a site I got the idea from with thousands of words.
This is just one case study; there are lots more scenarios where I have seen it happen with my blog.
After studying these short posts, I discovered that they had all the answers users will need for that certain query.
So if I have answered the question with a few hundred words, why go for more words.
It wasn’t necessary.
This goes to prove that an in-depth article does not necessarily mean long form content.
Remember, this doesn’t change the fact that long form contents still stands a chance of ranking high for certain keywords phrases.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of an in-depth article is in your terms and understanding.