Is ‘Snackable’ Content Best?
People today have the attention span of goldfish, so online content needs to be short and “snackable,” right?
Not so fast. Recent research challenges that assumption, showing that audiences often want to read written material that is 2,000 words and more.
Savvy blog followers know that shorter is sweeter, but few bloggers manage to discipline their prose sufficiently. They don’t get to the point fast enough, and when they get there, they haven’t said very much. Instead of writing 300 words, they write 1,500, and a great deal of it is throat-clearing, padding and repetition.
Even so, when the content is valuable, readers will read not only 1,500 words but 2,000 or more. Longer content — provided there’s useful information and insight in it — will succeed, and result in higher search rankings.
One recent study by SerpIQ charted the top 10 results from different search queries by content length. The first averaged 2,416 words, while the 10th consisted of 2,032 words.
Of course Google doesn’t rank pages simply by word count, but length is a factor, and it actually helps rankings rise. An analysis of the study by SEO-focused web design company SWEOR states that long-form content, compared with shorter material, “has a greater probability of earning quality backlinks.” Long-form material “tends to be more useful and comprehensive,” so readers are more likely to click it than to glean “tidbits of knowledge from numerous pages.”
Users simply “react more favorably to impressive, original content that exudes utility and stops them from ever needing to seek out a similar resource.” That means “more shares, backlinks and instances of high dwell time.”
That doesn’t mean there’s no longer a place for snappy one-liners, pithy observations and witticisms. There’s a reason people still quote Oscar Wilde, Gore Vidal, Mark Twain and la Rochefoucauld. (Well, some people do.)
And as our Tweeter in Chief has proven, spirited utterances of 280 characters will still get noticed.
Even so, there’s an appetite for longer content, and it’s growing.