Long-form content is content that is usually around 2000 words and above. Long-form content has been taking the Internet by storm, becoming the most preferred form of content, as opposed to something short. However, one form cannot be said to be better than the other: it all depends on the topic, the substance, your audience, and how deep you need to go.
Long-form content isn’t just writing lengthy articles and posting them on your blog for readers to see: it has to be well researched, well written, and have enough SEO elements in it to make it stand out in search engine rankings.
Without SEO, the chances of your blog post standing out in a sea of long-form blog posts are rather slim. Search engines won’t rank you as high as they should (if they even notice your post at all), and the traffic driven to your blog post will be very low.
So, when writing long-form content for your blog, there are a few SEO essentials that you need to know and incorporate into your write-up.
SEO Essentials for Long Form Content
1) Do Keyword Research: Use Long-tail Keywords
You already know your niche, and you have researched your topic: now you should research for some keywords to use in your article. These keywords must be related to the topic you are writing on, and searching for keywords with low competition is a good idea.
If the keyword search for ‘green tea for weight loss is 300, and the search for ‘green tea for weight loss in young women is 201, that should be what you choose. Those phrases also happen to be examples of long-tail keywords. As the name implies, long-tail keywords are long keywords that are very specific about a subject matter. Long-tail keywords are much easier to rank for in search engines, and as such, they drive more traffic to your blog or site.
2) Make Useful Sub-headings
After the main heading or the title of the article, you have the sub-headings. These are used to break up long-form content into titled paragraphs that are easier to consume. Using keywords in your sub-headings is a good idea, but be careful not to overdo it. Search engines could see this as keyword stuffing, and your content won’t be ranked.
3) Get Backlinks From Influencers
Influencers are kind of like the celebrities in your blog niche. Backlinks are hyperlinks to your web page from a different website. By getting backlinks from influencers (in the form of shares or reposts on social media, or links in a blog post), you can drive a lot of traffic to your blog. However, try not to pitch to them directly that you want a backlink from them. Try to be diplomatic.
4) Make Use Of Internal Links
Internal links are those that link from your own site to other parts of your site. Don’t be confused about this: internal links are important for SEO purposes. With these, you can direct visitors to other places on your site that you would want them to check out. Do not overdo it with the internal links either.
5) Make Use Of Outbound Links
Outbound links are those that link to other websites or blogs from your site or blog. You can use outbound links when you want your readers to view some content that you are recommending to them, or you are showing them something else you have written on another site. Outbound links greatly enhance your SEO rankings, but the note of warning remains: do not overdo it.
6) Optimise Your URLs
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, and it is the address of a web page, or a podcast, or some other Internet resource online. It is what Internet users use to find you, and what search engines use to index you. Your URLs should be short and clean, and also contain your focus keyword or a long-tail keyword.
7) Make Your Meta Description SEO-friendly
A meta description is a short piece of content, about 135 – 160 characters long, that tells your readers what your article is about. Your meta description has to include your focus keyword, and it must be descriptive and straightforward. It should also be honest, telling the readers exactly what they will find in the article, and combine them to check out that article.
8) Make Your Post Mobile-friendly
How your article appears on mobile devices is as important as making your post a responsive one. With long form content, you should make use of shorter paragraphs and media, such as images, to break up the text, and make sure you use sub-headings. These make your content better for mobile viewing.
9) Make Use of LSI Keywords
LSI stands for latent semantic indexing and refers to keywords that are similar to focus keywords. If your focus keyword is ‘job hunting’, the LSI keyword could be ‘job searching’ or ‘looking for a job’. LSI keywords are most often long-tail keywords.
10) Check Your Keyword Frequency
Keyword frequency refers to how often you use your keyword in your content. Obviously, you need to use more of your keyword in long-form content, but the usual warning stands: don’t overdo it. You can use your focus keyword 4-5 times in the entire post, but your long-tail and LSI keywords can be used more often. If it feels weird, leave it. Read the article out loud to test how natural the text flows with the keywords in it, and adjust them as needed.
Long-form content works best when SEO is incorporated into it. The 10 SEO essentials provided above is not necessarily a list of every SEO element you need for your long-form content, but it is enough to get you started on the right path. Use these as you write and edit your blog posts, and watch your content transform into something of quality and depth that will boost your SEO rankings and increase traffic to your blog.