In an effort time find out more about what makes content marketing most effective, BackLinko partnered with BuzzSumo to analyze 912 million blog posts. During this massive effort, these researchers took the time to review several key factors including social media engagement, word count, how the content was formatted and the quality of backlinks they received. Now that they have released their research, we now have a deeper insight into some of the more prominent findings they were able to detect.


Longer Content Is Better Content

When attempting to generate backlinks and improve your search engine ranking, it appears that creating longer content is the best strategy. While nearly 94% of the content available on the web receives zero backlinks, the ones that do range in word counts from under 1,000 to 10,000 words. However, blogs that have an average word count between 1,000 and 2,000 words appear to have the lion’s share of backlinks. However, this could just be a byproduct of Google’s secretive ranking system.

While longer content is better, the results of the research showed that exceeding 2,000 words in your content would ultimately lead to less social media sharing and backlinks. To put it in more analytical and practical terms, the research found that articles that stuck to a word count range of 1,000 to 2,000 words were able to achieve just over 56% more social shares than their shorter counterparts. This is an important finding for businesses that are attempting to expand their digital reach and generate more buzz on social media.

For the most impact, keep your content between 1,000 and 2,000 words

Viral Content Accounts for the Bulk of Social Shares

While there is no set formula for creating a viral piece of content, the majority of social media shares are centered on 1.3% of articles. It can be easy for content marketers to get discouraged that they weren’t able to generate buzz with the blog they spent weeks perfecting, but you aren’t alone. Nearly 75% of all content that was shared by social media users came from the 1.3% of published content that was available to them.

Although you may not be receiving the social shares you were hoping for, your content still may be doing well in search rankings to drive organic traffic. Instead of writing your content in hopes that it will go viral, instead try to focus on engaging content that your readers will want to share. This strategy alone can lead to social sharing improvements and bolster your content marketing strategy.

75% of the articles shared on social media came from 1.3% that were published online.

Social Shares Don’t Equate To Backlinks

While sharing your blog posts on social media is considered a best practice among the industry, gathering large amounts of social shares won’t typically result in a large collection of backlinks. Perhaps most importantly is that a large collection of backlinks also won’t result in extensive social media shares. Perhaps the most important reason why this is true is outlined in a recent BrandWatch article in which Steve Rayson from BuzzSumo explains “People share and link to content for different reasons”.

One key distinction that was found during the research is what content marketing strategy is best for your unique goals. For instance, the top ranking posts shared on social media often took a list format while visual content that provided infographics were more likely to acquire backlinks. Knowing what your goals are before sitting down to craft your content will help determine the format you ultimately take to achieve your content marketing goals.

Knowing your content marketing goals will help determine what content format you decide to invest your efforts into.

Final Thoughts

While just a small sample of the findings outlined in the in their research, these findings provide great insight into what businesses should expect from their content marketing and some great ways to achieve their marketing goals. For more information, I encourage you to review their study to learn more. I can help your business put these findings into practice to achieve real results.