Long-​Form Content Draws Big Traffic

BY Kathy Crosett
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Your clients want their investment in content marketing to make a difference. Of all of the measurements they’re using to gauge success, they should know that long-​form content draws big traffic. This detail comes from SEMrush's analysis of the Global State of Content Marketing Report 2020. Here are additional details you'll need to help clients develop their best content creation plan.

Measurements that Matter to Marketers

Marketers create content to attract traffic. Through that traffic, they hope to find new leads and increase sales. In the SEO world, there’s constant pressure to create the kind of content that drives a business to the top of the search engine results page when a prospect conducts an online search.

SEMrush analysts completed their own Content Marketing Survey not long ago. Their results show that marketers tend to fixate on specific statistics:

  • General traffic 70%
  • Social shares 38%
  • Backlinks 31%

While these numbers are important, the best results are the ones that generate leads.

Achieving Top SERP Placement

How do marketers rise to the top of a SERP? SEMrush’s analysis of top performing articles shows a few common characteristics. For example, H1 headlines draw more traffic when they contain 10–13 words and are in a list, how-​to or guide format. Using these words in a headline promises readers an easy read. On average, a how-​to headline generates 206 unique page views. Similarly, an H1 headline with 10–13 words attracts an average of 194 unique page views.

The Visual Blog

Online searchers will read content that rises to the top of the list. And when the content contains lists or visual elements like images or videos, the interest level increases. For example, content with one image drives 65 page views, while content with at least six images drives 241 page views. Online searchers also love lists. A list breaks up big blocks of text and makes the content seem less intimidating. Posts with one list for every 500 words score 204 unique page views. They also generate an average of seven backlinks, another important element for driving up a content piece’s position on the SERP.

You should also remind your client to break up blocks of text with subheadings. Content structured with H2, H3, and H4 headers attracts the attention of the Google search engine. The survey results indicate that 56% of high-​performance content contains multiple header levels.

Long-​Form Content Draws Big Traffic

Using visual elements to enhance long-​form content may be especially important in keeping readers engaged. “Our collective global attention span is narrowing,” emphasizes Alina Petrova. However, content posts are getting longer. On average, posts are at least 1,150 words, which is quite a jump from the 800-​word average in 2014. A content piece with 1,501–2,000 words generates 100 unique page views. That number jumps to 302 when the content is 7,000 words long.

Your clients may balk at generating a high volume of content that’s over 1,000 words. The good news is that level of effort isn’t always necessary. Your clients should develop a mix of content. Help them focus on including elements that will improve their SERP position and then they can make adjustments over time. Run a Digital Audit to show them the kinds of content typically accessed by their target audiences. The tool is available at AdMall by SalesFuel.