You’ve probably read one of the SEO tips is to invest in long-form content to have high-ranking articles.
Don’t get me wrong, short-form content can also rank perfectly as long-forms.
So, what’s the catch?
You have to be consistent in the quality of what you write– catch the readers’ attention and bang for the buck!
But, what should be inside the content to have high-ranking articles?
Let’s Talk Numbers First
According to the Content Marketing Statistics of SEMRush, about 70% of digital marketers calculate the performance of their content by traffic, while the remaining marketers depend on social shares and backlinks.
✓ Long-form articles with 7,000+ words are the leaders of content performance. These articles drive 400% more traffic than the average length of 1,000 words.
✓ 50% of the complex structure articles (with H2, H3, and H4) are high-performing in traffic and audience engagement.
✓ 44% of simple structure posts (with H2 and H3) are high-performing.
✓ No-structure posts (do not contain any heading tags) are low-performing in web traffic and audience engagement.
✓ Articles with at least one image drive twice web traffic than text-only posts. It also garners 30% more shares and 20% more backlinks.
✓ Headlines with 10-13 words drive twice more traffic and shares than shorter headlines (less than 7 words).
✓ Articles with at least one list per 500 words of plain text gain 70% more traffic than those without a list.
With these numbers, it is interesting to know what’s inside high-ranking articles that help increase page views, linkability and make posts more shareable. We found out the characteristics that greatly influenced the metrics, and these were:
1. Article Word Count
2. Headline (Types and Length)
3. Article Structure
4. Visual Content
Ready for the details? Let’s dive in.
Article Word Count
Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark suggest that people’s attention span because of the size and amount of information given to the public. However, the average post length has increased from 800 words to 1,200 words.
As you can recall from the statistics, articles with a word count of 7,000 have more traffic and shares than the average word count of 1,000 words. Meanwhile, articles with less than 900 words gain less traffic and backlinks than the average length of articles.
Well, there’s no need for debate; articles with longer lengths won in this characteristic. However, writing a long-word article is not a guarantee that it will have a high rank.
Long-word articles perform better because of the in-depth information about the subject, not only because it has more words. Do not focus on the word count. Although it is a contributory factor, you should focus on the core elements of successful high-ranking articles– unique text, engaging, intense research, and relevant information.
If you apply these core elements of a successful high-ranking article, you will satisfy and give answers to user’s queries. A user looking for a short and straightforward solution to a particular question will not like a 30-minute read. It will only have them leave your webpage. For users like this, it is more beneficial to have a shorter article.
Thus, before you write an article, you also have to know and analyze your audience and the uniqueness and length. Identify the ideal content length based on your competitors’ articles with a higher rank of your target keywords.
Headlines (Types and Length)
One of the essential components of an article is its headlines. Headlines act as the window to the content. It’s the deciding factor of the users whether they should click and read your article or not.
In terms of the use of headlines, there are several approaches you can use, but which of these will help your article have a higher rank?
Types of Headlines
You might have asked yourself– how to create the best headline for an article? Most articles with high engagements are popularly asked or searched, and a how-to guide or tutorial solves particular problems.
The headline type with the unique page views, more shares, and backlinks are the list types from the statistics. Why do readers have more interest in listicles?
- Headlines stand out among several contents. Mostly it contains numbers.
- The subject is under a category or classification system.
- Information is conveyed in an organized manner, making it trustworthy for readers.
Together, these key features satisfy the web visitors looking for a particular answer or solution. The type of headline makes the content easy to scan and understand and makes it reliable.
Guides and how-to articles come second. These types of articles drive 38% more traffic than the others. These headlines provide readers a guide or demonstration on how to solve their problem in just a click.
Heading 1 (H1) Length
Aside from creating a catchy headline, it should let your audience quickly understand what your content is all about. It’s the same for search engines, and you have to make it appealing. However, its concern is its length. You have to understand the ideal H1 length and identity its key patterns and trends.
From the studies, experts conclude that headlines that contain 10 to 13 words drive twice as much traffic and shares than the shorter ones.
Longer headlines are more detailed on what the article is all about. Indeed, there is a relation between the content and title. If Google decides to tag your content as low quality and your headline is over 10 words and performs better, your rank will not be affected much.
However, headlines are not all about length. There are some factors that you have to focus on. These are the core elements that make your headline good and clickable:
- Unique and comprehensive
- Question words
- Describes what is in the content
- Ensures it stands out on the page.
- Addresses user intent
In terms of content shareability, Backlinko reveals a similar trend. Longer titles have more social shares, headlines with 14 to 17 words have 76.7% more shares than the shorter ones.
After applying the tips on heading structure, let’s get into details on the content or copy structure. It defines the heading depth and presence of lists. This section will give you ideas to organize your content structure to increase engagement and traffic.
Analyzing the Depths of Heading (H2, H3, H4 tags)
Studies show that more than half of the posts with a complex structure, H2 + H3 + H4, are high-performing. It has been observed that the three-level structure is enough to break down an article into digestible and meaningful content. It helps improve its readability and visual appeal.
As a matter of fact, Google suggests the three-level structure article. They support content structure with subheadings or layout separation than those that only contain large blocks of text.
Importance of lists
The next feature for the content structure is the presence of lists (<ol> and <ul> tags). Their distribution in content has a significant impact on the article’s ranking. Content that has at least one list in every 500-word straightforward text gains 70% more traffic than articles without plans.
As we have already known, the human brain quickly registers lists. People can efficiently process information in a list format than content with the bulk of data and text. It is best for people with short attention spans to obtain their answer quickly than reading a whole bunch of texts.
It helps enhance and clarify your message. Other than that, it makes the content more memorable and exciting to readers with short attention spans. Moreover, image contents in infographics help readers obtain the solution or answer they need to their questions.
If you use the <ul> tags on your content, it will optimise our content for search engines. It helps search crawlers easily identify the list items and apply them alongside a catchy heading structure. By then, it will generate eligible content for a featured snippet on Google.
After discussing what can improve your article’s textual components and trends, let’s add the importance of including visual content. Images and videos in your article have a vital role in the reader’s perception and response to your content.
Role of Image Content
Articles and posts with one image content receive twice the traffic a text post can have. If your article has images, you will have 30% more shares and 25% more backlinks.
Image content is a critical factor for high-rank articles that are often overlooked. You should know that humans are generally visual beings. Content with images becomes attractive for us.
Moreover, aside from making your content enjoyable, you can repurpose it to any platform and audience. It gives more potential to the articles to rank in image or visual search.
Role of Video Content
As we are discussing visual content, we have to include the roles of video content. Is video content worth investing in?
Articles that do not have video content are 92% less in traffic and 24% less in shares than posts with at least one.
According to experts, almost 90% of businesses are using video content as their marketing tool. The use has increased more than 20% over the past four years. If you look closely at the internet traffic, about 82% of all the global consumers are from videos. Thus, it’s safe to say that the future of content marketing is video content.
It’s not a surprise since videos are a useful and flexible tool. It’s perfect to use as you can distribute videos across channels. Sharing your video on several social media platforms makes it reach a wider audience.
Other than that, videos can efficiently address several user inquiries, such as how-to videos, product demonstrations, and interviews with influencers or experts of a particular field. Indeed, video content is a critical factor in converting leads, and over half of the global consumers are watching videos that most likely influence their purchasing decisions.
If we apply the benefits of video content in SEO, it increases engagement and boosts time spent on pages. You can attract valuable backlinks if you host videos on your website than uploading them on Vimeo or YouTube.
Ready to Go Beyond?
These are some of what’s inside a high-ranking article. An informative, relevant, well-structured, and easy to digest articles are the best kind. Moreover, articles that offer how-to and guides in the form of lists or checklists are most appreciated by users who want to have a quick solution for their problem.
Do not forget to add videos and images to your article. It gives more quality and relevance to your content. Continuously update and create new articles to help your content strategy bang for the bucks!
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