Long-form content is dominating the first page of Google. A recent study that I ran across all of the content on the HubSpot blog (nearly 7,000 articles) found huge correlation with content in excess of 1,500 words and large volumes of traffic coming from organic search.
Longer, more detailed content is often linked to more frequently and contains larger volumes of text that Google can use to build relevance against keywords you’re trying to rank for.
Whilst there are obviously exceptions to the rule, it’s fair to say that long-form content is significantly easier to rank higher in the SERPs for competitive keywords than shorter content.
This poses a couple of major problems for publishers:
- Typically, the longer the length of a piece of content, the more difficult it is to keep a reader engaged.
- Long-form content is often broken up with imagery or interactive elements to make it easier to consume. This increases the impact of banner blindness, which will negatively impact your ability to get users converting through CTAs.
User experience and conversion optimisation are tightly intertwined in both of the above situations. A perfect example of this can actually be seen within some of the CTAs within long-form content on the HubSpot blog.
We found that within a lot of our posts that were greater than 1,000 words in length, the image CTAs at the end of our articles were receiving alarmingly low click-through rates (sub 1%).
We noticed that although our CTAs were receiving low volumes of clicks, the click-through rates on the internal links within the articles were still relatively high. What we needed to do was alter the user experience that the user was receiving to fall inline with what they were comfortable with.
We removed the image-based CTAs that were clearly falling victim to banner blindness and added plain-text CTAs closer to the top of the articles. The click-through rate increased to an incredible 5% average.
People were clicking the plain text CTAs more because there was less noise around them and they were closer to the top of the page.
This got me thinking…
Was there a way to solve problem number 1 and problem number 2 at the same time?
The Birth of TLDR
A lot of blogs that I read have sections at the end of them that often come under the header, “TL;DR” (short for too long; didn’t read), that would summarise the whole article into a concise number of key points.
The idea here is that readers that are in a hurry can get a quick overview of the main takeaways of the article without committing to reading 1,000+ words. This is great but it’s largely flawed because you’re relying on the reader scrolling through until the end of the article to view this, which if they’re in a hurry then they won’t.
Not only that, but if you’re telling the reader everything they need to know in a few quick bullet points then surely they’ll just quickly read them and leave, right?
Not great if you want them to convert through one of your CTAs – let’s say to subscribe to your mailing list.
How about offering a button at the start of the article that enables them to display a customised summary of the long-form article they’ve come through to? Furthermore, they will see a targeted CTA at the end of the summary that avoids getting lost in the main body of the article.
This solves two problems:
- For users in a hurry, especially mobile users, they can have the option to view a quick summary of the content – this improves user experience.
- The CTA that you display to your reader will avoid succumbing to banner blindness and can further play on the fact that they want quick information by offering something with added value that solves this. An example could be a PDF version of the article for easy offline reading at a later time.
One of the best things from a user experience perspective is that you’re not interrupting them; you’re actually adding more value to their visit.
This is the polar opposite to the interruption tactics that the likes of pop-ups use.
TLDR is the solution.
The free tool that I’ve created, currently only for WordPress websites, enables you to add custom summaries to your blog content with custom CTAs for each post (see how to install TLDR here).
Start improving the user experience within your content and increase the number of leads you're generating at the same time with TLDR (WordPress only).Download for Free
The summary button will only display for content where you’ve added summaries so that you don’t need a summary for everything you’ve put together – only the ones that you choose.
Alongside all of this, the CTA design can be completely customised to fit in with the style of your website. Try it out for free and start solving the issues that your users are facing with long-form content.
You can see it in action at the top of this blog post; just click on the 'Show Article Summary' button.
Stop interrupting; start adding value.