A majority of consumers searching on Google will not go past the first page. According to a study in 2015 by Advanced Web Rankings, 67% of all clicks on a search engine results page are one of the first five listings. Additionally, 95% of web users do not go past the first page of results.1 This is why SEO is so crucial to commercial web presence.
SerpIQ, a website that focuses on SEO, conducted research for their series Why Data-driven SEO Trumps Guru Opinions.3 They found longer content gets ranked ahead of shorter, opinion-based content on Google and other search engines, with research indicating they retain and engage readers for longer durations. Data-driven, well-researched articles hold more cache with regards to SEO than low-data blog posts containing more generalized information. The study concluded, “It’s evident that a fully fleshed out site with a lot of quality content is going to be favored by Google,” and adds that Google is actively trying to improve “their detection of poor quality content.”
Though the true nature of their search engine is proprietary in nature and not public knowledge, Pandu Nayak, a Google technical staff member who has worked on their search engine algorithms, wrote, “research suggests that up to 10% of user’s daily information needs involved learning about a broad topic.”4 Leaked Google quality rating guidelines5 have suggested that expertise, authority and trustworthiness factor heavily into the ranking of Google search results. “The idea is that if you’re creating lengthier pieces, you have more space to share your expert opinion and the data to support it,” said Lauren Kaye, a marketing editor at Brafton, Inc. “A heavily-researched white paper or an in-depth eBook that walks readers through a concept or process usually has more weight than a 100-word blog post on a similar subject. When you demonstrate that you know your field inside and out, to the point where you can make it accessible to the average reader, you establish yourself as a thought leader and join that group of web authorities.”6 96% of buyers want more content from thought leaders anyway, and 94% want more data to support content.
However, bad SEO management of marketing content plagues both short- and long-form. Even if a website has long-form content with value, it may not appear in a search engine if the keywords are not prominent. It must trigger the right tone, data, authority and wording to rank highly. This becomes important in instances where consumer patience and time are limited. If marketing professionals do not remain vigilant regarding SEO, they risk losing the engagement they have gained from having quality content in the first place.
Yet, if a business’ website contains an authoritative white paper or case study with all the information required to make a potential consumer contact them, they may lose that chance by not having the content properly optimized. A successful content strategy incorporates SEO into the development process in order to avoid wasting resources by optimizing afterward.
1 “How Far Down the Search Engine Results Page Will Most People Go?” https://www.theleverageway.com/blog/how-far-down-the-search-engine-results-page-will-most-people-go/
² “B2B Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America,” Content Marketing Institute, accessed June 1, 2016, http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2016_B2B_Report_Final.pdf.
3 Kevin Espiritu, “How Important is Content Length: Why Data Driven SEO Trumps Guru Opinions,” SerpIQ, April 26, 2012, http://blog.serpiq.com/how-important-is-content-length-why-data-driven-seo-trumps-guru-opinions/.
4 Pandu Nayak, “In-depth Articles in Search Results,” Google Webmaster Central Blog, August 6, 2013, https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2013/08/in-depth-articles-in-search-results.html.
5 Alex Butzbach, “Brands that Follow Google’s Quality Ratings Guidelines are What They EAT,” Brafton, July 15, 2014, https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2013/08/in-depth-articles-in-search-results.html.
6 Lauren Kaye, “SEO Hack: Long-form Content for Thought Leadership & Traffic Wins,” Brafton, July 24, 2014, http://www.brafton.com/blog/seo-hack-long-form-content-provides-thought-leadership-traffic-wins/.