Originally at http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/9375/3060347

Posted by randfish

[Estimated read time: 2 minutes]

Yes. I’ve read the studies. I know the correlations. Long-form content, on average, earns more engagement, higher rankings, and more shares than their more concise brethren.

Not sure where the idea that “great content” = “really, really long content” came from, but we need to dispel that myth.
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) March 30, 2016

But, that does not make long-form content the same as great content.

It does not make long-form content the goal of every content effort.

It certainly does not mean that longer content is better content.

Confounding variables are, in my opinion, behind many of these correlations. Long-form content, at least the good stuff, intentionally targets searchers and browsers seeking lengthier, more comprehensive information. If you want to challenge those “longer content performs better on average” statistics with equally unapplicable numbers, check the data on diminishing attention spans, ever-increasing abandonment rates, and what percent of visitors actually read long content to its end.

The right content:

Serves visitors’ intent by answering their questions and helping them complete their goals
Delivers an easy, pleasurable, accessible experience on every device and every browser
Gets the right information and experience to visitors FAST
Does all of the above better than any of the competitors in the space

The phrase “great content” doesn’t mean “long-form” content. In fact, as Ronell Smith recently pointed out, “great content” doesn’t, universally, mean anything at all. Its definition is subjective and sometimes mythical when what we need are pragmatic, clear boxes to check to determine whether our content efforts are on track.

My proposal: rather than applying a tactic like long-form content universally or setting length as the bar (or even a metric) for greatness, we instead match ou…

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