Boost Engagement, Traffic and Natural Backlinks with These Simple Tips!
Last Update: Feb 5, 2021
A couple years ago SEMRush conducted a study of the top performing articles on the web in terms of sharing, backlinks and overall engagement.
While the study is very thorough, I thought I would break down the key points for you to apply to your content.
1. Content Length
Before I even get started on this - length has no bearing on your ranking. It is not a ranking factor with Google. Period. With that said, writing longform content has many advantages beyond just ranking for long tail keywords and their smaller sub-keywords.
The study found:
- Content of 7,000 words or more received 4x the traffic and 43% more shares compared to content of 900-1200 words.
- Short posts (300-900 words) saw 21% less traffic and 75% less backlinks than 900-1200 word articles
- Context Matters: Look at what your competitors are writing for your keywords. Are the posts short or long? Don't just write a massive article for the sake of writing a massive article. If your users are looking for a quick how-to, they probably arent looking for a comprehensive guide on the topic.
Quote from the Article:
"Indeed, longreads likely perform better because they provide users with in-depth information on the topic – not just because they contain more words. When creating your copy, you should bear this in mind. Focus on the core elements of successful content – such as unique and engaging text, strong research, and relevant information – rather than simply how long it is.
This ties into what your users are looking for, too. If your audience only wants a short answer to a particular question, then a 20-minute bulk read is only going to turn them off. In cases like this, a shorter article may be more beneficial, so ensure you analyze user intent and understand your audience’s needs before you begin writing."
My personal recommendation: Longform content has its place but should by no means be all, or even most, of what you write. These massive posts should be your "cornerstone" content. Cornerstone content is intended to be your most comprehensive post on a topic that you can build many related pages of sub topics around.
For example, I am currently working on a cornerstone "How to Play Acoustic Guitar" page that will have several related page that link back to it. Cornerstone content is a way of letting Google know "this is the most important content on my website".
- Ideal heading length is 10-13 words
- Organize your content with heading depth (use H2s, H3s and H4s where necessary)
- Sites with greater heading depth saw greater traffic and engagement rates
Have at least 1 image per post.
Articles with at least 1 images saw 4x the traffic,, 1.5x shares and 1.5x backlinks
Make sure the images are relevant, though, and avoid overly generic stock photos.
Lists are a great way to improve your content's readability. Short sentence lists are even better.
- Content with at least 1 list every 500 words saw 2x traffic and 1.5x shares
Putting It All Together
Now I don't want you to assume using all of these thigns is a shortcut to traffic. it isn't. At the end of the day your content's quality is what matters most. Did you answer the searchers query entirely? Have you fully served their needs?
Your content still needs to be well thought-out and researched, thorough, proofread and make sense contextually.
All of the above is taught in the trainings here and this is just further proof that the better you follow the training as it is laid out, the more success you will eventually see.
If you want to read the full article, you can check it out here: https://www.semrush.com/blog/anatomy-of-top-performing-artic...
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