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In this digital age, we’re surrounded by and consume content in all forms —  be it blogs, videos, podcasts, e-books, etc. the list goes on. No matter the type of content, the one thing that connects them all is, all these content forms are online – on a website. When we talk about websites, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘Google’, at least this is what comes to my mind – as this is my one-stop solution to search for everything. Google not only gives us results to our queries but it provides them in a manner it considers the best suited for our question. How does it do that? The answer to that question is, it ranks the SERP results based on the content that is present on the websites listed. The more detailed the content or rather ‘complete content’, the higher the chances of it being found on Google. 

So, what is complete content, and should you as a business or website owner invest in it? Let us begin by understanding it in detail. 

Take, for example, you search the following on Google ‘best shared hosting providers in 2020.’ Google will now display a bunch of website links it deems worthy on the search engine results page. If you notice, the articles are ranked in terms of tutorials or guides, rather than short or precise listicle kind of content. 

These articles that are displayed at the top of the search engine are what is known as ‘complete content.’ 

In simple words, ‘complete content’ is the type of content that answers every possible follow up question – so that the user is satisfied. 

Going back to our initial example of, ‘best shared hosting providers in 2020.’ A content piece that covers:

  • What is Shared Hosting?
  • What are the different hosting providers?
  • The pros and cons of each hosting provider
  • Types of hosting available
  • The cost of hosting your blog on Shared Hosting
  • Does this fit the website needs?
  • Can you upgrade your plans?

And much more. 

If a content piece answers every follow-up question that can pop in a readers mind, then it is rightly classified as complete content by Google. 

Note: Complete content pieces also include keyword-based articles.

4 Reasons Why Google Prefers Complete Content 

Once again, we’re back to the initial question – how does the search engine decide whether an article satisfies all the above criteria? Because there are infinite search queries and equally numerous articles on the web. 

As you may have noticed, Google doesn’t explicitly promote long content pieces but prefers it. To sum it up, it all comes down to:

  1. Word count
  2. Relevance to the searched query
  3. Links to other interrelated web pages
  4. User-experience

Let us now look at these factors in detail:

  1. Word Count 

Word count is essentially what determines whether the written content piece is short-form or long-form content. Short-form content is rather short and precise whereas long-form is much more detailed. However, haven’t we already established that the Google search engine prefers complete content and by that definition, it does prefer long-form, and a higher word count? 

Primarily, the idea of word count is not just about the number of words but the overall significance of the content piece. You may have written a 1500+ content piece on a particular topic, however, it is of no value to the user if it is only composed of repetitive filler phrases or SEO keywords. Such a page might be featured on the first page of search results but it also increases the chances of bounce. To attract readers you will need a complete guide type article but to retain readers, your article should offer quality. 

One of the ways of determining the ideal word count is to research articles that feature in the top 5 of the search engine results for your desired keyword, and accordingly tailor your article to fit somewhere around that count. 

  1. Relevance to the searched query 

Has it ever happened that you search ‘hairdressers near me’ and Google gives you salon addresses from a different city? Chances of this happening are close to zero. On the contrary, Google is most likely to display results of places within your reach. It does this with the help of your browsers IP address. 

This is true for any search query you make, whether it is finding web developers, an online store, or an e-commerce site, etc. The results are primarily based on your location, so they would suit your needs effectively. 

Although the IP address is used to find local results, there might be plenty of those. To determine the ones that suit your needs most, Google analyzes the copy of the webpage

Lastly, your copy must follow SEO guidelines, is long-form, written accurately and answers every follow-up question that may arise in the reader’s mind.     

  1. Links to other interrelated webpages

As per a study conducted, long-form content gets 77.2% more links on an average than short-form content. Hence, it is important to add relevant backlinks to your content article. 

Considering our initial example of a user searching for ‘best shared hosting providers in 2020’, if an article links to a hosting provider that they think offers the best Shared Hosting, then it increases the credibility of the content piece. In the case of our example, we have linked it to ResellerClub. 

Apart from external linking, it is equally important to link articles internally as it helps in the SEO effort and helps rank your content piece higher on the search engine. 

  1. User-experience

User experience is important for any and every system. After all, a good seamless user-experience increases the chances of user-retention. When it comes to complete content,  if you take care of the three factors listed above, you automatically improve the quality and user experience. 

Simply put, 

  • Make sure your content piece answers every follow-up question a user could have and doesn’t send them to the search engine to start finding answers again
  • It is considerably lengthy so that it explains everything in detail and not just skims through the information 
  • There are sufficient relevant links explaining things, and guiding to proper resources. 

If a user is happy with your complete content piece, so will Google. In fact, if you notice while creating this content piece I considered all the aforementioned points viz. word count, researching the right keywords for search engine and, linking to both external and internal articles with the aim of a good reader experience. 

Creating Complete Content – The How 

Now that we know what complete content is, it is time to create it. 

There are three critical things you need to take into account when creating a complete content piece i.e answering any relevant questions that may be a follow-up. Here goes how:

  1. Identify related topics from ‘People also ask’

One of the easiest ways to determine what a follow-up question to a user’s initial search query could be is to check the ‘People also ask’ drop-down. You can find this drop-down easily after  2-3 website links. 

These are the questions that users generally search after searching your query. So to say, these are not random questions but actual ones. Make sure that your post covers all the follow-up questions, you can do so by answering them explicitly with a proper heading, relevant keywords and links. Thus, in the end, your content is not only complete but also SEO friendly. 

  1. Review the comments you’ve received on the past content pieces 

If you have a blog that encourages users to give feedback or comments, it is a good way to check if you have had any questions related to your search query on any post of yours. If yes, do answer them in your new content piece. Also, make sure that you reply to the user’s comment with the article link to help resolve their query. 

This improves your search engine rankings, helps users be directed to your website content internally, as well as, build credibility and increase a chance of user-retention. 

  1. Review your competitor’s content 

If you run a business, you definitely have competitors, and let us admit you must have done a competitive analysis of their products, their published articles or what they do on social, etc. depending on the business type. 

Reviewing your competitors’ content is a good way of knowing what is being searched, what answers are being provided and what more can you offer. This is not plagiarism, but a healthy exercise, because chances are your competitor might do the same. However, it would be considered plagiarism if you openly copy their content or do not reinvent it by applying your brand values or what your business offers to a customer. The idea is not to copy, but to learn and grow. 

After all, content is creative and it should be explored in a proper and professional manner. Even when you are creating complete content to rank on Google and match your competitor.

Lastly, Should You Invest in It?

The answer is a resounding yes! Complete content is the way to go, at least until Google releases another algorithm where it prefers short-form content over long-form. In the end, there is only one mantra to having a good complete content piece, ask yourself, ‘if I am a user reading this content piece, are my doubts resolved or do I have more?’ If your content answers all the questions, you are good to go, otherwise, a little revision would always help! 

If you still have any doubts about complete content, do feel free to ask us in the comments section below. After all, that’s what a good complete content article is, isn’t it? Check out more articles that can help you answer follow-up questions if any, and up your Marketing game!

H. FatimaH. FatimaH. FatimaH. Fatima used to be an Engineer by profession and Writer by passion until she started pursuing full-time writing. She is presently a Content Marketeer at Endurance International Group (APAC). She mostly writes what she deeply perceives and analyses, it is her way of unwinding. Her interests include writing, reading (an avid reader), watching foreign-language movies and public speaking.View all posts by H. Fatima