About Carl

Carl is the owner and founder of Carl Potts designs his interests include web design, MMO gaming, history, typography, old school dance music (especially acid house) he is currently trying to learn Russian

Google RankBrain the secret ingredient that determines your search engine rankings

rank brain

Image credit: Neil Conway(Flickr.com)

An article which appeared on searchengineland.com in March provided the inspiration for this post, what was interesting about the article was that Andrey Lippattsev a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google suggested the following were the most important factors when determining the position of websites in Google’s search results

1. Links
2. Content
3. RankBrain

So what’s the big deal?

The reason this was important was that Google and the other Search Engines are generally secretive about their Search algorithms and this information was from the horse’s mouth as it were. The SEO community had ascertained the importance of links & content years ago so no surprises there, it’s the third factor RankBrain that I will examine in this week’s blog post.

Google’s search engine algorithm named ’Hummingbird’ contains over 200 factors, which are used to determine search engine rankings the three most important being Links, Content & RankBrain as stated above. Searchengineland.com provide the following definition of RankBrain
RankBrain is Google’s name for a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that’s used to help process its search results I want to further clarify this definition into plain English i.e. to de-geekify it. Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to computer systems that are designed to learn to perform a task; Machine learning is a form of Artificial Intelligence. RankBrain is a part of Google’s Hummingbird Search Algorithm, which uses Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to better understand vague/ambiguous search queries and provide users with useful information. deMyers suggests that

RankBrain is an artificial intelligence system that’s being applied to and used with Google’s current search engine algorithms to provide better results to user queries (Forbes.com)

The growing Importance of RankBrain

As RankBrain has overtaken hundreds of other factors to enter the three most important signals it must have quite an important role in the continued development of Google’s search engine, that alone means it is worth taking the time to understand it, but how can understanding this improve my own search rankings? that’s the $64,000 question and in order to understand that we’ll need to examine Semantic search

What is Semantic Search?

Wikipedia offers the following definition of Semantic Search

Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding the searcher’s intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable dataspace, whether on the Web or within a closed system, to generate more relevant results. Semantic search systems consider various points including context of search, location, intent, variation of words, synonyms, generalized and specialized queries, concept matching and natural language queries to provide relevant search results.Wikipedia.com

This is best illustrated with a simple example. Semantic Search makes use of the context in which information is presented, take the keyword Jaguar it has a number of different meanings. Jaguar on a web page featuring words such as forest, panther is probably referring to the Jaguar breed of big cat. Where Jaguar on a web page featuring the terms Tata & Land Rover is more likely to be referring to the Jaguar brand of luxury cars this admittedly simple example illustrates what I mean by the role of context when searching by using this the aim of semantic search is to provide the user with more relevant which better satisfies their requirements.

Parting thoughts

Like most people who don’t work for Google, I don’t have the exact information about how RankBrain works all I know from Mr. Lippatsev’s interview is that it’s an important ranking factor so I’ll take the cautious approach and recommend the best practices for ranking highly in semantic search.

Latent Semantic Indexing(LSI)

LSIgraph.com provide the following definition of LSI keywords

LSI Keywords are essentially keywords related to the keyword that you search for on search engines such as Google. In a nutshell, they are keywords that are semantically linked to your main keywordLSIgraph.com

For the Jaguar Cars example above the LSI Keywords would be Range rover, Aston Martin & Maserati that clarify it’s the Luxury Cars brand I’m talking about rather than the big cat variety of Jaguar.

Internal Linking

This means links between pages which make up your website, these should make it easy for both users and search spiders to navigate your website, Anchor text, URL structure, and site hierarchy are additional factors with a pyramid being regarded as the optimal structure(see diagram below)
Pyramid site hierarchy

By |April 18th, 2016|SEO, SME Online Marketing|0 Comments

Ok, I got it wrong about Google plus

Google plus

Ok so I was wrong predicting the death of Google plus to my newsletter subscribers, I could be forgiven for this because this reflected the opinions of the SEO & Digital Marketing press at the time ( a year ago)

Google plus has a small but loyal following there is a genuine sense of community there, It’s a popular network for photographers wishing to store & display their photography. Although it’s certainly quieter than alternatives such as Facebook and twitter but it’s not the Ghost town some categorise it as. Personally, I like Google plus (though I sometimes struggle with the UI) I find the Google plus communities generally far more knowledgeable & useful than their LinkedIn equivalents. I’ve revised my opinion about the future of Google plus as recent changes have convinced me Google haven’t given up on this social network despite the departure of some of the original team notably Vic Gundotra

Changes to Google plus


  • Collections
  • Communities


  • Events
  • Hangouts

Although it was the redesigned logo which brought my attention to the changes taking place at Google plus,I don’t think Google intend to close the network down after putting all this effort in
Julia McCoy at Express Writers.com argues that The thing is, this isn’t the only project they’ve had over the years that started off with a bang and ended up with a whimper, its certainly a whimper now compared to the high hopes Google initially had for this network. Attempts to integrate Google plus with YouTube were poorly received by the YouTube community with Google receiving some criticism for their high handed approach to the integration. Google has form for closing down projects that have failed to perform as expected Google Wave & Google Buzz being but two examples, there’s plenty more if you look for them, Google plus’s future could be described as uncertain and that influences my advice for those with Google plus pages which is

Play it cool

I’d not advise deleting or removing your Google plus pages but I’d certainly be wary of investing lots of time nurturing a following there I don’t think Google have completely given up on Google plus … yet.Local Search expert Mike Blumenthal argues that
The new G+ is about content, collections and communities. It’s not about businesses, marketing and promotion. if this is the case, and it certainly appears to be

By |April 1st, 2016|SME Online Marketing, Social Media|Comments Off on Ok, I got it wrong about Google plus

Creating great Visual Content on a Budget

The benefits of visual content are well understood, however for smaller businesses without IT knowledge & graphical savvy expecting them to make use of Photoshop or similar software may be too much, personally, I’ve got over ten years experience with Photoshop it’s not a cheap piece of software to purchase and it can at first glance be quite a daunting prospect, There are cheaper & free alternatives which will be perfectly adequate for small businesses wishing to develop visual content for use on their blog and in Social Media That’s what I’ll examine in this week’s blog post how can Small Businesses develop good quality visual content on a budget without extensive graphic design training?


Fonts are important and can be used to define your brand’s identity this is a two-edged sword because using an inappropriate font can give the completely wrong impression so Comic Sans is out I’m afraid especially for professional websites & content. I cannot give you an extensive training in typography here, I can offer a handful of basic pointers to ensure you don’t make beginners mistakes when using type or text in your visual content.

Cheesecake fonts, great but don’t overdo it!

Graphic Design rookies have a tendency to overdo what Robin Williams describes as ‘cheesecake fonts’, so called because they are really enjoyable in small amounts but sickly if overused. Cheesecake fonts are great but only if used SPARINGLY e.g. for subheadings only. When I started out as a web developer this was a trap I fell making extensive use of one particular font in every website I developed*cringe*

Great Font sites

Font Prices range from hundreds of pounds meaning these bespoke fonts are the preserve of Large Corporations. Sites such as font squirrel http://www.fontsquirrel.com/ and dafont http://www.dafont.com/ have extensive ranges of free and nearly free fonts but ensure that you’ve checked the terms and conditions before using as some may not be used on commercial products, these two sites alongside Google fonts (https://www.google.com/fonts)should cover most if not all of your font needs.

The Benefits of Visual Content

In her book ‘the Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand (2014) Ekaterina Walters argues that the brain absorbs visual content up to 60,000 times more quickly than textual content, in todays attention starved world this explains the popularity of visual content such as Infographics and photographs in the fast paced world of social media in addition to this Walters argues that Photographs can be used convey mood far more effectively than text.

Stock or not?

Stock Photography is a relatively cheap way to get professional quality photography for your website, what could possibly be wrong with that? The problem is a lot of stock photography is extremely corny and instantly looks just like stock photography a characteristic which the brilliant http://womenlaughingalonewithsalad.tumblr.com/ pokes fun at, I’m not sure any company would want to look corny & fake but it’s a mistake lots of companies make overusing stock photography with little or no thought about the impact, I’ve tended to shy away from using stock photography in recent years for the reasons I’ve mentioned so I get most blog images I use from Flickr which is free and frequently a lot better than the stock photography available.

By |March 25th, 2016|Content, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on Creating great Visual Content on a Budget

Reexamining Pod-casting


Image credit: Rich Menga(Flickr.com)

Podcasting is an often-overlooked form of content. This is a shame as the low entry level & costs means its perfect for smaller businesses wishing to stand out from the crowd, due to the success of podcasts such as “Serial” podcasting enjoys a much higher profile in the United States, that’s not to say there’s no podcasting in the United Kingdom BBC Radio 4 is well represented in the UK podcast charts, however the use of podcasts as a form of content is certainly less common in the UK.

What are podcasts?

Podcasts are downloadable audio recordings not dissimilar to old-fashioned radio shows. The word itself is a portmanteau of the words iPod & broadcast

Really Simple Syndication (RSS)

Podcasts use technology such as RSS (really simple syndication) allowing users to easily subscribe to shows they particularly like; this can be done through software such as iTunes.

Benefits of podcasting

Podcasting enables content to be delivered in an easily accessible & convenient way, one executive interviewed by smallbusiness.co.uk admitted to preferring podcasts over music to listen to on the way into work, this is an opinion I’ve heard a number of times. thetimbre.com argue that

it comes to audio, car is king. Nearly 90 percent of Americans listen to AM/FM radio weekly, and more than half of that listening time occurs in the car. So when will podcasts start to fill in that vast chunk of time?thetimbre.com

Smartphones are another popular way to listen to podcasts so contrary to popular belief you don’t need an iPod to access them, I generally listen to podcasts on my computer .Podcasts allow the producer to inject a bit more personality into content

Simon Hénault suggests that ‘they’re much like your own radio show but listeners can tune in any time they want to. Being able to express emotion and bring personality to your marketing communication can be very powerful. From public relations, customer relationship management, thought leadership, branding, training, to generating leads and sales, all can be done through podcasting.

parting thoughts

Although podcasting enjoys greater popularity in the United States there is still plenty to recommend it to Small UK based Businesses wishing to make an impact online, its a great way to demonstrate expertise in a particular niche or market, this in turn will enable you to develop more authority and build a better relationship with your customers, an additional benefit is the lack of competition utilising this medium in the UK. The best podcasts are lively, fun and very informative. Personally I find listening to a light-hearted dialogue between experts a completely effortless way to develop knowledge in a subject area.

By |March 18th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Reexamining Pod-casting

Don’t forget to get personal!


Image credit: Alex Gallardo Ginestà(Flickr.com)

I get unsolicited emails from all over the world as I’m sure most of you do, what strikes me with these is the complete lack of effort spent researching the company they are addressing. Your mail address has obviously been bought or harvested by an automated bot and someone has copy/pasted an email to you, I believe it’s a pretty ineffective way to gain my attention, I just delete or filter these emails and almost never respond to them, I understand it’s a numbers game, if you send 20,000 emails and 1% respond positively that’s still 200 leads I just think its completely inefficient/inelegant way of working, this weeks blog post will examine the question of adding the personal touch and why it’s a far more effective approach in the long term.

The personal touch works

In a previous job I wished to gain reciprocal links to my employers website (note: don’t bother it has hardly any impact on search rankings) in plain English this is I’ll link to your website if you link to mine, it was recognised as a legitimate tactic 5 years ago, as part of this I had to ask website owners, fortunately I’d researched link building from recognised experts before, they rejected the spammy methods I detailed in the first paragraph focusing on effective outreach letters & emails, this was the approach I decided to adopt, for each and every webmaster I approached I would spend 5 – 10 mins learning their name and more about their business, this made all the difference when emailing them, I was getting a 50%+ response rate from webmaster by sending them, probably near 75% if I recall correctly its an approach which now informs everything I do with my marketing efforts its why I don’t use automated thanks for following me apps on twitter/Facebook its insincere & lazy (even if there is an apology in the message) I try to create a personalised thanks for following me message for every new follower, workload permitting, if I see a possible topic of conversation in their profile I will utilise it.

Parting thoughts

Aaron Lee argues ‘today in the social media context 2 P’s stand out more than the other 4Ps’ these being Personality & Personalisation’, As social media or email is often the first contact with potential customers, why not kick start the relationship with some genuine personal contact? In a world where so much is now automated it will enable you to stand out from the crowd in a good way. Personally I don’t want to talk to machines although I do occasionally thank ATMs #guiltysecret. It’s the lack of a personal touch, which plagues corporate Social Media people don’t want to be a number, it only takes a bit of effort to get to know your followers/client and , I’d argue its time and effort well spent because it will take your social media, marketing & content to the next level. I like to think it’s a modern twist on old fashioned values i.e. knowing and appreciating your customers, and striving to provide them with the best quality service which satisfies their needs or amuses them

By |March 11th, 2016|SME Online Marketing, Social Media|Comments Off on Don’t forget to get personal!

Reacting to Facebook’s Reactions

Facebook Reactions
In Social Media this week the big development is undoubtedly Facebook’s new like button which has been dubbed ‘reactions’, it is that and the questions it raises that I ill be examining with this weeks blog post

Why have the Facebook introduced reactions?

The like button is an iconic representation of the Facebook brand so why change it? Extensive worldwide research was undertaken to see how people commented and what reactions/emoticons would be appropriate. It neatly bypasses the issue I found incongruous i.e. ‘My house has burned down!’ Mr Inconsiderate likes this. Now its easy to add more appropriate emoticons. Why its been introduced has been neatly if cynically summarised by Amit Choudry at Forbes.com who argues these reactions have been introduced to enable the collection of richer data. I’d imagine this was part of the motivation behind the change given the fact that Facebook users can be quite change adverse I doubt the roll out of the reactions tool bar was a decision taken lightly, and fortunately for Facebook it seems to have been well received (at least by my friends, I’ve not yet a bad word about it)

Parting Thoughts

Personally I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook its enabled me to restore contact with friends who’d drifted apart for the social side of things its excellent, the reactions tool bar adds much needed functionality to the old like button with love wow sadness and haha emoji’s being added to the mix, Id still like a rolls eyes emoticon but I’ll survive.

No Dislike button and why I think it’s a good idea

One feature that wont be getting added is a dislike button. Mark Zuckerburg the founder of Facebook has voiced his opposition to the idea, given the fact that cyberbullying is a real problem with Facebook being quite a bruising experience for some people I think this is a prudent move

By |March 4th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Reacting to Facebook’s Reactions

Stand out from the crowd, with genuinely helpful social media


Image credit: Loren Kerns(Flickr.com)

This week I want to return to a topic I’ve covered in the past that of authentic social media but this time with a slight twist, this post has been inspired by a recurring theme in the Tao of twitter by Mark Schaefer

my dilemma

One of the things which bugs me about social media, alongside unasked for game invites, is insincere corporate noise I feel it’s a by-product of the quantity over quality mindset school of tweeting one I have mistakenly utilised in the past, however my opinion has emphatically swung to the opposing camp quality > quantity every time. In a world which despite protestations otherwise values quantity over quality is it possible to differentiate oneself from the noise I personally don’t feel that the Internet needs more ‘inspirational quotes’ adding to it or #entrepreneur related stuff, I’d much rather stand out by being helpful, authentic and sincere especially for smaller businesses (who are the lifeblood of my business) that is an approach I can wholeheartedly subscribe to, and it would align perfectly with my website’s content.

How to be genuinely helpful online? Understand your customers

Personally I think the key to being genuinely helpful online is to understand your customers and their needs inside out, and in order to do this there’s a need to listen to them. Some observers point to customers being less loyal than they used to be, and the fact they are spoiled for choice means they can shop around, the guardian argues

Consumers and sales prospects are interacting with your company in myriad ways across multiple touch points in this new interactive economy. Today’s customers are empowered: they expect companies to give them what they want, how they want it. guardian.com

My content & social media are designed to demystify ordering company websites so customers can make informed choices when ordering websites

This means answers to their questions (frequently required in IT related areas such as websites – so there’s no shame in being techphobic the majority of people only have a vague understanding of IT) those I try to assist I ensure that information provide in a plain English, jargon free manner, readily understood by the layperson.

Parting thoughts

This is similar to Jay Baer’s Youtility concept, Jay argues ‘the more you know about your customers and prospects, the more useful your brand can become to them’ (source: Youtility this mirrors Kristina Halvorson’s definition of good content. Useful content which answers YOUR questions is almost by definition interesting that fact alone will enable you to cut through the noise on Social media, and lets be honest there’s quite a lot of noise at times 😉
Jay Defines Youtility as ‘content so good you’d pay for it’(source: YouTube.com) This is a long term strategy as opposed to the short term sell. Who are prospects going to trust The Company/Brand who has been providing meaningful helpful interactions for three months especially if you’ve got to know the poster and built up a rapport or someone who posts a stream of meaningless waffle with the occasional sales pitch chucked in? Exactly

By |February 11th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Stand out from the crowd, with genuinely helpful social media

Its time to reexamine email marketing


Image credit: Steve Johnson(Flickr.com)

One of the received wisdoms associated with online marketing is “The money is in the list” Google it if you don’t believe me its almost a cliché. The rise of mobile technology has meant that marketers are reappraising the role of email marketing, which had previously fallen somewhat out of vogue. Its email marketing I’m examining with this week’s blog post

What’s the list?

The list which I’m referring to here is the email marketing list which is basically shorthand for you email marketing database which contains the names and email addresses of people who have given you permission to email them.


Segmentation of the email list is a strategy that can dramatically boost the impact of your email marketing. Both
Mailchimp & AWeber support segmentation. Hubspot’s research reported the following results

39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experienced better deliverability and greater revenue.blog.hubspot.com

Segmentation will facilitate more effective targeting of emails. Segmentation means organising your email list along group lines these can be things such as

  • Gender
  • Geographical Location
  • Behaviour
  • Purchase history
  • Persona
  • job title
  • Age
  • Interests

Segmentation has a number of benefits such as:

  • Improved open rates, more people will actually open your email
  • Improved click through rates (CTR) i.e. people clicking on offers or links contained in your emails
  • Reduce Unsubscribing one of the main reasons I personally unsubscribe from lists is I feel the content offered is not relevant to me, segmentation reduces the danger of this happening you can offer relevant & interesting content to the people you have targeted

Purchased Lists?

Rather typically for the Internet there are email lists for sale, as with fake twitter /Facebook followers this is NOT a practice I’d recommend, it takes time and effort to build up a mailing list. The trading of lists is against Mail Chimps terms and conditions and could potentially lead to your account being closed, AWeber another bulk emailing solution certainly advise against the trading of email lists on their blog. The big difference between purchased and earned email lists is that people on email lists have given you permission to email them, which is often the trade off for Free e Books offered online, without that permission you would be guilty of being a spammer. This is why the entrepreneur Seth Godin hatched the term Permission marketing which is defined below

Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.sethgodin.typepad.com

Advantages of email marketing

  • For the small business email marketing has a number of distinct advantages the low cost being foremost amongst these, the MailChimp plan I use is pay as you go
  • email marketing is measurable meaning its easy to see which emails are effective and which are not its easy to implement a/b split testing so email formats & various titles can be compared and contrasted
    Email Marketing can be used to develop brand loyalty and trust for your brand
  • its easy to offer personalised email messages unlike the “one size fits all” approach of typical printed mail campaigns. Research by eConsultancy in 2015 shows that 78% of email marketers believe that all email marketing will be personalised in the future (source: www.business2community.com)
  • Email lists can be segmented so its possible to target emails precisely with some experts suggesting that “batch & Blast” techniques are obsolete, this means not sending everyone on your email list an identical email.

    Parting thoughts

    email marketing is perfect for small businesses it offers a cost effective way to raise brand awareness and reach amongst your customers with targeted emails which is a distinct advantage over printed marketing. There does appear to be some disagreement regarding the effectiveness of email marketing. Neil Patel (quicksprout.com) argues “its really easy to make mistakes” so please don’t give up if your email marketing doesn’t immediately give good results.

By |February 5th, 2016|Content, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on Its time to reexamine email marketing

Defining your media strategy

marketing types

Spend any time reading digital marketing blogs or articles it’s almost guaranteed you’ll encounter the following categories: earned, paid and owned media, especially if reading about Influencer marketing. I’ll be using this weeks post to explore and examine the three categories and related concepts. It’s my intention that you’ll be comfortable with the terminology and aware of the advantages/disadvantages of each category by the end of the article. One area where the three categories are frequently bandied about is in relation to influencer marketing, which I’ll briefly examine now.

What is influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a modern take on word of mouth advertising where influential people or publications can be persuaded to recommend your product service or they may allow you to guest blog on their website in addition to mentions on social media. It’s almost an Internet era revision of the old celebrity endorsements marketing strategies of the past, taking advantage of technology such as blogs and social media.

Earned Media

Now I’ll try to explain what qualifies as ‘earned media’. Earned media is exposure that has not been paid for. Its exposure, your company has earned. A glowing review on Google plus is a good example of earned media. This example highlights another characteristic of earned media it can be positive or negative, so a dreadful review of your company’s products or services would also be characterised as earned media. Hubspot offer the following definition of earned media

Earned media is any publicity you haven’t paid for that’s owned and created by a third party. Earned media is now that customer tweet about “the best brunch EVER!” at a particular restaurant that got several retweets and favorites. It’s also that horrible Yelp review. And it’s that technology blogger’s “Top 10 Apps of The Year” roundup that was viewed and shared by thousands.hubspot.com

Paid Media

Paid media is different in that its paid for. Traditional advertising is categorised as paid media, modern developments such as pay per click search promotion as well as social media promotions would also be categorised as paid media. Listings in business directories would also be categorised as paid media

Owned Media

Owned media is one area over which you have complete control. Your website/blog is a good example of owned media. Company channels on social media are another example of owned media, you may not own Facebook but you do control what goes onto the Companies Facebook page and other Social media accounts. Titan SEO offers the following Definition

Owned media – Owned media is any web property that you can control and is unique to your brand.Titan SEO

Parting thoughts

Current best practise goes beyond these three categories and makes use of a strategy which blends all three categories, the Venn diagram above perfectly illustrates why this type of marketing is known as Converged Marketing. Ciroqu.com argue that
It is no longer effective to just have one media channel in your marketing campaign. Companies now need to get their ducks in a row by organising their marketing efforts into three different channels and combining at least two or more of them in each marketing campaign.

These three channels are Owned, Earned and Paid media and the combination of one or more is referred to as Converged Media. All of this begs the question how is one to develop a converged media strategy? Don’t worry its not as complicated as it sounds, and you are probably already familiar with some aspects of it. Converged marketing requires a degree of coordination between the three types of marketing. Sales campaigns will already have an associated hashtag and paid media will be used to amplify the message and associated content. Sometimes it appears that marketers have an obsession with developing new jargon, I hope that this post has make things clearer for the layperson

By |January 21st, 2016|SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on Defining your media strategy

The lure of long-form content


Image credits:Flickr Caleb Roenigk

Gavin Davies was running a struggling small business most of his efforts were spent trying to attract more business for his small company Doobrytech, attempts to use traditional channels such as local retail magazines had been unsuccessful so bearing this n mind and despite a lack of familiarity with the internet he decided to invest in a company website with some time and effort he’d got his head around the basics of Search Engines and had a rough understanding of what keywords are, despite this he’d watched with concern as local competitors had shown up above the Doobrytech website on the Search Engine Results pages(SERP) in order to improve the rankings for his website he’d gone along with advice of others to start blogging on his website something many similar businesses had adopted

All this despite the fact he’d done little no writing since School & College where he tended to avoid having to write in his wildest dreams or nightmares there’s no way he’d describe himself as a writer or heaven forbid blogger, yet here he was pen in hand trying to predict how business blogging would develop throughout 2016 and the implications for his company website and blog. One potential trend that seemed to be on everyone’s lips was long form content, Gavin tried to understand exactly what was long form content and what changes it would require from his business and would the benefits make all the extra effort worthwhile?

long-form content

Using Long Form content meant that Gavin would need to adjust his workflow and content development practises with more time allocated for writing, editing and research it would certainly have an impact on his weekly routine but the hope was the benefits would make this worthwhile

What exactly is long form content?

Long form content means longer more in depth blog posts with Forbes’ Josh Steimle suggesting that over 1,200 words per article is a good guideline for the length of the long-form blog post as opposed to the traditional 700 word article length

Long Form storytelling

Long form content often employs storytelling and is frequently presented as a narrative, this works just as well for businesses as it does for fiction writers. It facilitates the presentation of more complex topics meaning its easily possible to go beyond the basics into the depth where topics really become interesting

Why is long form content a good thing?

Contrary to expectations what Gavin found interesting was that his analytics suite showed that bounce rates for long form content were lower, despite the common belief that attention spans were shorter online the long form content he’d added to his website was proving more engaging that the short form content he’d used previously. Research by moz.com found that long form content was more likely to generate backlinks

Greater Depth

Another benefit of the long form format would be that it would enable chosen areas to be covered in greater detail than the previous short-form content allowed him to.The shift in format enabled

The benefits of long form, What’s in it for my business?

Much to his delight alongside increased visitor engagement Gavin discovered that search engines loved the long form content he was producing leading to better Search Engine Results page (SERP) rankings

Better Quality Content

I broadly agree with Kristina Halvorson’s comments regarding the amount of poor quality uninspiring website content, some of this is due I think to the restrictions placed on authors by the short blog article (roughly 700 words) I’ll always support the idea that quality > quantity and for too long the opposite view has been dominant on the web, so this means I need to improve the quality of my own content, again I’m cool with that.

Parting thoughts

Long Form content does take more effort to develop however the benefits it provides more than make up for this The extra length gives authors the opportunity to create richer and more detailed content which goes far beyond the superficial content which is so prevalent on the web, taking advantage of the flexibility which long form content offers will allow you to stand out from the crowd in 2016


  1. The SEO And User Science Behind Long-Form Content
    Search Engine Land.com
  2. What Kind of Content Gets Links in 2012?moz.com
  3. Why Long Form Content Marketing Works, And Why It Doesn’tForbes.com
By |January 8th, 2016|Content, SEO|Comments Off on The lure of long-form content