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Internet Users More Likely to Share Long-Form Content, New Study by BuzzSumo and Backlinko Finds

Posts longer than 1,000 words significantly outperform shorter articles, according to analysis of 900 million blog posts

Long-form content results in 56% more social shares than content shorter than 1,000 words, according to new research from BuzzSumo and Backlinko.

The research, which analyzed over 900 million articles, also discovered that long-form content was correlated with better backlink performance. Specifically, posts weighing in at more than 3,000 words receive an average of 77.2% more referring domain links than short articles and blog posts.

The data encompasses all content shared socially between October 2017 and October 2018 – 912 million articles – making it one of the largest content marketing studies to date.

This joint BuzzSumo and Backlinko study also analyzed several other factors related to content and performance.

Impact of content format: 6 popular content formats were analyzed: videos, infographics, how-to posts, “what posts”, “Why posts” and list posts.

  • Social shares: List posts generate higher amounts of social media shares than other popular content formats. This study revealed that list posts get 2x more shares than “how-to” posts and infographics.
  • Backlinks: Infographics and “Why posts” tend to perform best in terms of backlink acquisition. These two formats generate an average of 25% more links than videos and “How-to” articles.

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Impact of headline format: The study found that question headlines (headlines that contain a question mark) result in 23% more social shares than those without.

Impact of publication day: In contradiction to previous studies, the study found that posting on specific days had very little impact on social sharing. The amount of social media shares was shown to vary by as little as 1.45% between different days of the week.

Content’s ability to generate links: The vast majority of online content generates zero backlinks – just 6% of the content analyzed received a link from another website.

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Link and share distribution: The study found that shares and links largely stem from a relatively small number of “Power Posts”, with 75% of all social shares coming from a subset of 1.3% of published articles. In terms of backlinks, only 2.2% of all published content gets linked to or from more than one website.

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