14 Steps to Optimize Long Form Content for SEO

Long-form content is not easy to put together, mainly because it requires a lot of research and work to put in, but once you publish it, it starts to pay off.

A copy containing equal or more than 2,000 words tends to be more informative compared to short from content, and that’s one of the reasons they rank so well.

However, that doesn’t mean publishing insanely long content will make them rank on top of SERPs. Quality is more important than quantity.

By no way, this means that Google carves for longer blog posts. It all comes down to whether a searcher is getting what they search for. It is better to go through on ONE topic than shallow on many.

I believe any content above 5,000 words becomes slow-loading, hard to consume, and an unpleasant experience for readers. So, best to keep it under that range.

I’m not too fond of long-form content. The idea that a writer needs to push a copy par X words makes me sick.

Writing is an art. It does’ matter how many words you put in the copy. If it solves the problem and gives exactly what the reader is promised in the headline, it will get tons of traffic.

It’s still a hot strategy, though. In certain niches, it works wonders.

Let’s begin then!

1. Optimize Your Page Speed

Page speed is one of the most significant factors in ranking your content. Google officially stated it is an SEO ranking signal that page speed is essential if you want to see your pages climb up to SERPs’ number one position.

Long-form content will have more text and images, so make sure you compress images and HTML/CSS.

If your pages take more than 2 seconds to load completely, you are in the red zone. Faster websites result in more conversion, while slower ones will have a negative impact on your visitors.

A fast-loading web page will help you reduce your bounce rate and increase your page time.

Start by switching to a better host. Managed web hosting is pretty helpful in dramatically increasing your page speed. Using cache, image compression, CDN, and other speed optimization techniques, you can make your site even faster.

2. Include Outbound Links

When you link out to some other website’s pages from your blog posts is called outbound linking. Outbound links help search engines better understand your niche. Linking out to authority sites is beneficial for you as well as your readers.

They help add value to your content and more help search engines identify the main key point you’ve written about.  While very few bloggers do this, you can make your blog post a high-quality page that connects a reader to similar topics.

The only thing you need to remember while linking to other sites is their niche and quality.

Always try to link to websites that are similar to yours and have some level of authority. If you are not sure about a page’s authority or you’re linking to an affiliate product, you can use a nofollow tag so that search engine bots don’t follow it.

3. Add Internal Links

Internal links are highly important for on-page SEO. Linking your own blog posts to one another using anchor text within your blog posts is called internal linking or inbound links.

They connect one page to another, and your content gets more easily indexed. It also helps users travel between similar pages and look around content that is equally useful for them easily and quickly.

Learn more on internal links:

  • How to automate internal linking in WordPress
  • How to track clicks on internal links in WordPress

4. Optimize Your Blog Structure

See if you want your content to be ranked. It first should have a readable structure. If your blog is not properly structured for navigation, crawling and it makes it hard to find different areas of your website, you need to change it. Immediately.

A proper theme is the first thing you can switch to. Choose a fast, clean, and SEO-friendly WordPress theme that has the latest schema added to it.

It will help your blog look much cleaner, your readers will be able to find what they are looking for easily, and it will help your page load faster too.

Another thing you can keep an eye on is your font. In the case of long-form content, people will spend more time reading, so you need to make sure your font is readable and does not stress their eyes.

5. Optimize Your URLs

Make your URLs SEO-friendly by cutting unnecessary words. Before publishing your blog post, edit its URL and make it as short as possible. A maximum of 5 words would be a general rule of thumb.

Long URLs filled with dates and other words (such as stop words) may not be the best thing for your content. Shorter, cleaner and keyword-containing URLs can help users and search engines better understand your content topic.

Put your target keyword in it. If possible, try to exclude numbers such as dates from your link.

6. Target Long-Tail Keywords

It is always recommended to start doing keyword research if you want more search traffic for your content. For long-form content targeting, long-tail keywords would be highly beneficial to rank for multiple keywords.

Create your content around a seed keyword (exact match keyword) and by using tools like AnswerThePublic and long tail pro to find and a few long-tail keywords in your content.

Long-tail keywords are less competitive, easier to rank, and still drive targeted traffic. You should spend time finding long-tail keywords as it is one of the initial stages in any SEO strategy.

7. Add LSI Keywords

Unlike long-tail keywords, LSI keywords are semantic keywords meaning they are similar to a seed keyword and help a search engine understand what exactly your topic is.

A popular example is Apple. Apple is a company and a fruit as well. When you write about Apple and its product, adding words like iPod, Mac, etc., are LSI keywords that correlate to Apple as a company.

Adding LSI keywords will help your long-form content rank for your target keyword as well as will help you rank for more similar keywords. Hence resulting in more organic traffic for multiple search queries.

Since Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update, it focuses on user intent to determine where to rank your page.

Google now focuses more on interest and contextual sense of user queries which is a big reason to add them. A popular tool for finding such keywords is LSIgraph, which you can use for free.

8. Optimize for Voice Search

Voice search is the future. Voice search is growing every day at a vast scale and speed. People prefer to say and search rather than typing. Typing is time taking, voice command is quick and easy.

That’s why you need to optimize your long-form content for voice search. Writing your copy in a conversational tone is the key to get started.

Direct answers to questions, conversational words, and switching to HTTPS is how you can make sure your page becomes a choice for a voice search result. You simply should not ignore voice search SEO.

9. Use H1 Tag In Your Post Titles

HTML tags are essential for SEO. If your blog posts have a title wrapped up in any HTML tag other than H1, you need to change it.

HTML tags go from H1 to H6 chronologically. Generally, your post title, which is your heading, should be wrapped up in the H1 tag. Any subheadings in the piece of content would then be wrapped up in H2 or H3 tags.

The keyword you add in your H1 tag has a significant weight, and Google gives more attention to the keywords in it. So put your headlines inside H1 tags instead of H2.

There should be no more than one H1 tag in your content. You can add multiple H2 tags, though.

10. Add Sub Headings

Subheadings are vital for improving the readability of your blog posts. In the case of long-form content, adding such headings will let you divide your complete content into multiple sections, which will make it easy for your readers to read and digest.

Subheadings are general H2 – H6 tags where H1 is your primary heading. You can use multiple H2 tags for different subheadings.

A good thing about them is that they are an excellent separator for text blocks. If you go on writing without any subheadings, it will be difficult for someone to navigate through different sections of your content.

People skim rather than reading, and adding subheadings in your content will make your readers happier than you think. The more the readers stick to your content, the faster your page will start ranking better.

11. Switch To HTTPS

Google Chrome marks websites without an SSL certificate as “not secure,” which has a negative impact on your reputation, page views, and almost everything.

Move your blog and website to HTTPS by migrating to a more secure web host. I find DreamHost to be the best of the few web hosts that give free SSL certificates and website migrations.

It will help your pages rank above the insecure pages as well as rank in voice search results.

12. Add Schema Markup

Schema markup lets search engines better understand the type of your blog posts. If you publishing a review and add schema to it, Google and other search engines may pick that up and show start ratings under your post in SERPs.

Schema markup tells the search engine to display a search result in a more broad form. It may be a list of tables, show the price of a product,  display the time frame of a recipe, and so on.

Not only it helps search engines, but it is more beneficial for users too. Before clicking on a result, they actually know what they are going to read. It helps in making better decisions.

Read more about schema:

  • How To Get Schema Star Ratings On Google With WordPress Blog

13. Add Social Share Buttons

Your social presence and your brand popularity on social media is an important factor in where Google ranks your content. How many social shares your content is getting has a significant impact on its ranking.

A good thing about long-form content is that it attracts more shares than short-form content. Because people spend more time reading your content and that it is more in-depth, they tend to share it on their social profiles.

You can leverage your content’s share by adding floating share buttons on your blog. There are many social share plugins and tools but I, recommend social snap. It is fast, easy to use, and comes with detailed analytics to show you where your content gets the most shares.

14. Add Images & Videos

If you post content without an image, it’s not going to rank as high. It has to have any kind o multimedia in it.

Whether it is a video or an image. Images are better at explaining a situation, giving a demonstration, and help your readers to better understand your topic.

Videos do a lot better. If you can, try to add a video explaining the topic you have written. Its very effective in explaining what you are trying to teach or what message you are trying to convey.

Add at least one image or a video to your content. In long-form content, there’s room for many images and a couple of videos. An image at every 200 – 300 words at least would do the job.

Learn more about creating images and image SEO:

  • How To Write Outstanding Long-Form Content
  • 17+ Stunning Sites To Find FREE Stock Images For Your Blog Posts
  • How To Automatically Make Your Images SEO Friendly in 2018
  • The Best Alternatives For The SEO Friendly Images Plugin That Work

Be consistent, original, and unique.

It definitely takes a lot more time to create and put together, but in the end, the results are far more amazing than short-form content.

To finalize the SEO, you need to check a couple of more factors which are:

  1. Backlinks
  2. Your domain authority
  3. Content promotion

SEO is not fixed to on-page optimization. You need to promote your content, get more backlinks are increasing your domain authority if you want your content to rank top of others no matter what niche you are in.

Share your favorite long-form content SEO tip in the comments section below.

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