When it comes to content marketing efficiency, there are many key factors that can affect the perception of your blog post by target audience. Things like headlines, format and size can make a huge difference, and give you either more social shares and back links or none at all. To look into this issue, we analyzed as many blog posts as possible. Here’s what we’ve found.
Longer articles get more back links than short posts
Search engines often use the number of backlinks that a website has as one of the most important factors for determining that website’s search engine ranking, popularity and importance. One of the most important factors to determine website’s popularity and ranking is the number of inbound links it has. That’s why generetaing ones is extremely beneficial for any blog post. However, only few of them seem to be cited frequently, and they all are long-form posts.
There are studies that point out a connection between long articles and first page search engine ranking. No one can say for sure why long content specifically tends to get more back links. Perhaps, it is due to the fact that such articles are normally more in-depth and comprehensive, thus capable of satisfying searcher’s demands. Or maybe it’s just Google’s algorithm that singles out long posts as the best ones.
The perfect word count to get social media shares is at least 1000 words
Our findings show that long-form blogposts acquire by far larger number of social shares than short posts. However, once you reach the 2,000-word mark, the returns begin to diminish. That is to say, 1,000-2,000 words seems to be the happy medium whenever you want to maximize shares on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms. To back it up with stats, content between 1000-2000 words gets 56.1% more social shares than articles that do not reach that word count.
Most articles get no back links at all
By now everyone realizes that external links are an extremely important Google ranking factor. Google recently stated this fact in their report “How Search Works”. And we discovered that generating these links is actually rather difficult. The data demonstrate that only 6% of the content around the world gets inbound links.
There’s no doubt that motivating somebody to link to your web page is intense. What’s more, we found that getting inbound links from different sites is considerably all the more difficult. Actually, as little as 2.2% of content creates back links from numerous sites. Why is that so?
It’s difficult to address this issue relying solely on our findings. But it’s presumable because of a sharp increment in the measure of content that is distributed each day. For instance, the amount of posts published daily over at WordPress has increased by 47% from May 2016 to May 2018. They have 87 million posts published within the last year.
That is an expansion of 27 million month to month blog entries in a two year length. It gives the idea that, because of the sharp ascent in content created, that building links from content is more difficult than it was before.
A recent report posted on the Moz blog reasoned that, of the content in their example 75% had no outer links whatsoever. The key takeaway from this is obvious: Building links through content marketing efficiency has never been more challenging.
Social shares and backlinks are not intertwined
The Pearson correlation coefficient between shares and links is only 0.078, that is to say, there is basically no correlation between these two. In other words, content that will receive many links, as a rule, is not shared on social media. It works like that the opposite way, too. When content is shared into social media, these actions usually do not lead to more backlinks.
This may surprise many newcomers in content marketing efficiency, but there is a best practice for SEO “sharing content on social media.” The idea is that social media helps your content to be placed in front of more people, increasing the likelihood that someone links to you. Although theoretically this is useful, our data show that this is not the case in the real world. Therefore, it is very important to create content that meets your goals. If you want to go viral on Facebook, list items can be your best choice. And if your main goal is to get more backlinks, then you probably want to publish infographics and other visual content. Differences between highly linked and shared content are described below.
Currently, however, it is important to note that there is very little overlap between the content that was shared on social media and the content that gets linked.
Articles with long headlines get shared more on social media
There is a link between long headlines and shares on social media, according to past research. Our findings gave similar results. In fact, we found that “very long” headlines exceeded 76.7%: we have defined “very long” as headings from 14 to 17 words. The same relation also manifested when we analyzed the headers in our dataset, based on the number of characters.
As you may recall, the Clickbate-style 2014 titles worked well for publishers like Buzzfeed and Upworthy. Their posts tended to have headlines that were significantly longer than the average. Clickbate is not as effective as it used to be, yet long catchy headlines still seem to be an efficient way to increase social ownership.
One can only guess why long headlines work so well. We tried to find the reason, which resulted in two theories. First, it may be the fact that longer headers contain more information than short ones. This additional information may encourage readers to read content or watch a video that they would otherwise be unable to, thereby increasing the likelihood that it will become viral.
In addition, longer headlines contain more keywords that can “match” keyword searches on Google and on social networking sites that are typically searched for people (such as Twitter). This in turn leads to an increase in the eyeballs, which can lead to an increase in the proportion.
Question titles get more social shares
One of the interesting facts from our data was that the “question headings” now seem to work well. In fact, question mark headings undoubtedly receive 23.3% more social shares than ordinary headlines. Question headers can work because they add an intrigue element that is well documented to increase CTR. In other words, you can read the post to answer the question asked in the title. Obviously, the titles with questions are not a magic bullet. However, the use of questions in certain headlines can help increase stock levels and traffic.
Infographics are way more effective I you want to get back links
During our analysis we have discovered that infographics generate more external links than other formats. We have already mentioned, that the content people share on their social media tends to differ from the content they link to. And infographics prove that point even further. While list posts is the best suitable format for sharing, infographics get far more back links, being almost “ignored” in terms of social media sharing.
However, when it comes to inbound links, infographics are extremely beneficial. This fact validates our results obtained during the analysis of connection between content created for shares and links. The reason may be that infographics usually contain “dry” facts and data that are better to cite. And as so-called for sharing eligibility, this format’s popularity has faded off for the past couple of years, thus the chances of it going viral are relatively low.
There is no exact “best day” to post a new article
A lot of content marketing efficiency creators may wonder what day of the week is the best to make a new post. But according to the information we have obtained through thorough analysis, the day you post is not very crucial. That is, when it comes to social shares.
We found that Sunday had a slight advantage over the other days of the week. However, the difference in promotions from the content published on Sunday was only 1.45% compared to the other 6 days of the week. Several industry and case studies have been designed to answer the question what the best time to publish content is. However, most of them are either old, dating as far back a 2012, or they used a small sample size.
This is probably the reason why the results of these studies are so contradictory. Since publishing content on a particular day has no benefits, we recommend identifying and testing the best publishing time for your industry and audience. The best day for publication is ultimately the time when your audience is ready to consume and share your content, which is best determined through testing.
Lists and why-articles are the best formats in terms of shares
After we have examined the connection between content format and social media, our data indicated that. Our data shows that message lists and why-posts tend to be more popular among users than other content formats. On the flip side, posts with instructions and infographics are rarely published on social networks.
This does not mean that you should avoid a specific content format. There are infographics and instructions that generate tens of thousands of shares. Our data suggests, however, that focusing on publications in lists and reasons for publishing may increase the likelihood that your content will be published on social networks. Posts in the list work well on social networks compared to other popular content formats. Our study has shown that the list of publications generates 203% more shares than infographics and 218% more shares than items with practical recommendations.