We analyzed 912 million blog posts to better understand the world of content marketing right now.

Specifically, we looked at how factors like content format, word count and headlines correlate with social media shares and backlinks.

With the help of our data partner BuzzSumo, we uncovered some very interesting findings.

And now it’s time to share what we discovered.

Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:

1. Long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles. Therefore, long-form content appears to be ideal for backlink acquisition.

2. When it comes to social shares, longer content outperforms short blog posts. However, we found diminishing returns for articles that exceed 2,000 words.

3. The vast majority of online content gets few social shares and backlinks. In fact, 94% of all blog posts have zero external links.

4. A small percentage of “Power Posts” get a disproportionate amount of social shares. Specifically, 1.3% of articles generate 75% of all social shares.

5. We found virtually no correlation between backlinks and social shares. This suggests that there’s little crossover between highly-shareable content and content that people link to.

6. Longer headlines are correlated with more social shares. Headlines that are 14-17 words in length generate 76.7% more social shares than short headlines.

7. Question headlines (titles that end with a “?”) get 23.3% more social shares than headlines that don’t end with a question mark.

8. There’s no “best day” to publish a new piece of content. Social shares are distributed evenly among posts published on different days of the week.

9. Lists posts are heavily shared on social media. In fact, list posts get an average of 218% more shares than “how to” posts and 203% more shares than infographics.

10. Certain content formats appear to work best for acquiring backlinks. We found that “Why Posts”, “What Posts” and infographics received 25.8% more links compared to videos and “How-to” posts.

11. The average blog post gets 9.7x more shares than a post published on a B2B site. However, the distribution of shares and links for B2B and B2C publishers appears to be similar.

We have detailed data and information of our findings below.

Long-Form Content Generates More Backlinks Than Short Blog Posts

When it comes to acquiring backlinks, long-form content significantly outperforms short blog posts and articles.

Long-form content generates more backlinks than short blog posts

You may have seen other industry studies, like this one, that found a correlation between long-form content and first page Google rankings.

However, to our knowledge no one has investigated why longer content tends to perform so well. Does the Google algorithm inherently prefer long content? Or perhaps longer content is best at satisfying searcher intent.

While it’s impossible to draw any firm conclusions from our study, our data suggests that backlinks are at least part of the reason that long-form content tends to rank in Google’s search results.

Key Takeaway: Content longer than 3000 words gets an average of 77.2% more referring domain links than content shorter than 1000 words.

The Ideal Content Length For Maximizing Social Shares Is 1,000-2,000 Words

According to our data, long-form content generates significantly more social shares than short content.

However, our research indicates that there’s diminishing returns once you reach the 2,000-word mark.

The ideal content length for maximizing social media shares is 1,000 to 2,000 words

In other words, 1,000-2,000 words appears to be the “sweet spot” for maximizing shares on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest.

In fact, articles between 1k-2k words get an average of 56.1% more social shares than content that’s less than 1000 words.

Key Takeaway: Content between 1k-2k words is ideal for generating social shares.

The Vast Majority of Content Gets Zero Links

It’s no secret that backlinks remain an extremely important Google ranking signal.

Google recently reiterated this fact in their “How Search Works” report.

Google – How search works

And we found that actually getting these links is extremely difficult.

In fact, our data showed that 94% of the world’s content gets zero external links.

94% of content published gets zero external links

It’s fair to say that getting someone to link to your content is tough. And we found that getting links from multiple websites is even more challenging.

In fact, only 2.2% of content generates links from multiple websites.

Only 2.2% of content generates links from multiple websites

Why is it so hard to get backlinks?

While it’s impossible to answer this question from our data alone, it’s likely due to a sharp increase in the amount of content that’s published every day.

For example, WordPress reports that 87 million posts were published on their platform in May 2018, which is a 47.1% increase compared to May 2016.

Number of posts published (WordPress)

That’s an increase of 27 million monthly blog posts in a 2 year span.

It appears that, due to the sharp rise in content produced, that building links from content is harder than ever.

A 2015 study published on the Moz blog concluded that, of the content in their sample, “75% had zero external links”. Again: our research from this study found that 94% of all content has zero external links. This suggests that getting links to your content is significantly harder compared to just a few years ago.

Key Takeaway: Building links through content marketing is more challenging than ever. Only 6% of the content in our sample had at least one external link.

A Small Number of “Power Posts” Get a Large Proportion of Shares

Our data shows that social shares aren’t evenly distributed. Not even close.

We found that a small number of outliers (“Power Posts”) receive the majority of the world’s social shares.

Specifically, 1.3% of articles get 75% of the social shares.

"Power posts"

And a small subset of those Power Posts tend to get an even more disproportionate amount of shares.

In fact, 0.1% of articles in our sample got 50% of the total amount of social shares.

Top subset of "power posts"

In other words, approximately half of all social shares go to an extremely small number (0.1%) of viral posts.

For example, this story about shoppers buying and returning clothes from ecommerce sites received 77.3 thousand Facebook shares.

"Shoppers are buying clothes" post

This single article got more Facebook shares than the rest of the top 20 posts about ecommerce combined.

Key Takeaway: The majority of social shares are generated from a small number of posts. 75% of all social shares come from only 1.3% of published content.

There’s Virtually No Correlation Between Social Shares and Backlinks

We found no correlation between social shares and backlinks (Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.078).

In other words, content that receives a lot of links doesn’t usually get shared on social media.

(And vice versa)

And when content does get shared on social media, those shares don’t usually result in more backlinks.

This may surprise a lot of publishers as “Sharing your content on social media” is considered an SEO best practice. The idea being that social media helps your content get in front of more people, which increases the likelihood that someone will link to you.

While this makes sense in theory, our data shows that this doesn’t play out in the real world.

That’s because, as Steve Rayson put it: “People share and link to content for different reasons”.

So it’s important to create content that caters to your goals.

Do you want to go viral on Facebook? Then list posts might be your best bet.

Is your #1 goal to get more backlinks? Then you probably want to publish infographics and other forms of visual content.

We will outline the differences between highly-linkable and highly-shareable content below.

But for now, it’s important to note that there’s very little overlap between content that gets shared on social media and content that people link to.

Key Takeaway: There’s no correlation between social media shares and links.

Long Headlines are Correlated With High Levels of Social Sharing

Previous industry studies have found a relationship between “long” headlines and social shares.

Our data found a similar relationship. In fact, we discovered that “very long” headlines outperform short headlines by 76.7%:

Long headlines are correlated with increased social sharing

We defined “very long” headlines as headlines between 14-17 words in length. As you can see in the chart, there appears to be a linear relationship between headline length and shares.

And this same relationship played out when we analyzed the headlines in our dataset by character count.

Long headlines (100+ characters) are correlated with social shares

As you might remember from 2014, clickbait-style headlines worked extremely well for publishers like Buzzfeed and Upworthy.

And their posts tended to feature headlines that were significantly longer than average.

"This man turned a comment into an awesome lesson" post

Although clickbait isn’t as effective as it once was, it appears that long headlines continue to be an effective tactic for boosting social shares.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. For example, this post with a 6-word headline received over 328k social shares.

Keto no-bake cookies post

But when you look at the headlines across our dataset of 912 million posts, it’s clear that content that uses longer headlines get more social shares.

Why long headlines work so well is anyone’s guess. However, I have two theories that may partly explain things.

First, it could be the fact that longer headlines pack more information in them compared to short headlines. This “extra” information may push people to read a piece of content or watch a video that they otherwise wouldn’t, increasing the odds that it goes viral.

Also, longer headlines contain more terms that can “match” keyword searches in Google and on social media sites where people commonly search (like Twitter). Again, this results in more eyeballs, which can lead to more shares.

Twitter search

Key Takeaway: Very long headlines (14-17 words in length) get 76.7% more social shares than short headlines.

Titles That End With a “?” Get an Above Average Amount of Social Shares

One interesting nugget from our data was that “question headlines” seem to be working well right now.

In fact, headlines with a question mark get 23.3% more social shares than non-question headlines.

"Question headlines" get an above-average amount of social shares

For example, here’s a post with a question headline that boasts 3.3M shares:

"What state should you move to" post

Question titles may work because they add an element of intrigue that’s well-documented to increase click-through-rate. Put another way, you might decide to read a post in order to answer the question posed in the headline.

Obviously, question titles aren’t a magic bullet. But using questions in certain headlines may help increase shares and traffic.

Key Takeaway: Question headlines get 23.3% more social shares than non-question headlines.

There’s No “Best Day” to Publish New Content

What’s the best day to publish a blog post?

Well, according to our data, the day that you publish doesn’t make much of a difference.

(At least in terms of social shares)

Social shares by day of the week

We did find that Sunday had a slight edge over other days of the week. However, the difference in shares from content published on Sunday vs. the other 6 days of the week was only 1.45%.

Several industry studies and case studies have set out to answer the “best time to publish content” question. But most are either old (one of the most-cited industry studies I found was published back in 2012) or used a small sample size.

And this is likely the reason that the findings from those studies are so conflicting.

Considering that there’s no advantage to publishing content on a certain day, I recommend researching and testing the best publishing time for your industry and audience.

For example, after extensive testing, we found that publishing on Tuesday morning (Eastern) works best for the Backlinko blog. But I’ve heard from other bloggers that their publishing on Saturday works best for them.

So the “best” day to publish is ultimately whenever your audience is available to consume and share your content, something that’s best determined by testing.

Key Takeaway: There’s no “best” day for new content to come out. Shares are essentially equal across different days of the week.

List Posts and “Why Posts” Get a High Level Of Shares Compared to Other Content Formats

We investigated the relationship between content format and social shares.

Our data shows that lists posts and “Why Posts” tend to get more shares than other content formats.

List posts and "why posts" get a high level of shares

For example, this Why Post from was shared on Facebook 164 thousand times:

Why reading books should be your priority

On the other hand, how-to posts and infographics don’t get shared on social media very often.

That’s not to say you should avoid any particular content format. There are infographics and how-to posts out there that generate tens of thousands of shares.

However, our data does suggest that focusing on list posts and Why Posts may increase the odds of your content getting shared on social media.

Key Takeaway: List posts perform well on social media compared to other popular content formats. Our study found that list posts generate 203% more shares than infographics and 218% more shares than how-to articles.

“Why Posts”, “What Posts” and Infographics Are Ideal Content Formats for Acquiring Backlinks

We found that “Why Posts”, “What Posts” and infographics get linked to more often than other content formats.

"Why posts", "What posts" and infographics are heavily linked to

What’s interesting is that, while there’s some overlap, there’s a significant difference in the content formats that people share and link to.

Referring domains .vs. Average social shares

While our study found that list posts were the top content format for social sharing, they’re dead last in terms of getting backlinks from other websites.

For example, this list post has 207.8k social shares.

20 amazing writing prompts

But according to BuzzSumo, despite all those shares, this article has zero backlinks:

BuzzSumo – – Shares

It’s a similar situation with infographics. Our data shows that infographics tend to get very few shares relative to list posts, “what posts” and videos.

However, when it comes to links, infographics are a top 3 content format.

This supports our other finding from this research that there’s no correlation between shares and links.

My theory on this is that certain formats are primed to get shared on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. And other formats designed to get linked to from the small group of “Linkerati” that run and contribute content to websites.

Infographics illustrate this contrast perfectly.

Although the occasional infographic may go viral, it’s fair to say that their novelty has worn off in recent years. Which may explain why infographics aren’t shared very much compared to other formats (like list posts).

However, due to the fact that infographics contain highly-citable data, they work as an effective form of “link bait”.

Also, unlike a list post or how-to post, infographics can be easily embedded in blog content. This further increases the chances of acquiring links.

Key Takeaway: “Why Posts”, “What Posts” and infographics appear to be ideal for link building. These three formats receive an average of 25.8% more referring domain links than how-to posts and videos.

B2B and B2C Content Have a Similar Share and Link Distribution

We analyzed a subset of content from our dataset that was published on B2B websites. Our goal was to find out if share and link behavior differed in the B2B and B2C spaces.

First, we did find that “normal” content generates significantly more shares than B2B content. In fact, the average amount of shares for all the content in our dataset is 9.7x higher than content published in the B2B space.

B2C content gets shared 9.7X more than B2B content

This finding wasn’t surprising. B2C content tends to cover topics with broad appeal, like fitness, health and politics. On the other hand, B2B content on hiring, marketing and branding only appeal to a relatively small group. So it makes sense that B2C content would get shared more often.

However, when we analyzed the distribution of B2B shares and links vs. all published content, we found that they largely overlapped.

For example, 93% of B2B content gets zero links from other websites.

93% of B2B content gets zero external links

The amount of B2B content without any links (93%) is similar to the figure (94%) from our full dataset.

The percentage of B2B posts get linked to from multiple websites also overlaps with B2C.

Only 3% of B2B content gets linked to from more than one website.

Only 3% of B2B content generates links from multiple websites

This largely matches the 2.2% that we found in our mixed dataset of B2B and B2C content.

Overall, B2B and B2C link distribution largely overlaps.

Similar share and link distribution

When it comes to B2B social shares, we found that 0.5% of B2B articles get 50% of social shares.

B2B "power posts"

And 2% of B2B articles get 75% of social shares.

B2B subset of "power posts"

Like with B2C content, B2B publishers have a small number of “Power Posts” that drive the majority of social sharing.

B2B and B2C shares stem from a small number of "power posts"

Key Takeaway: Although B2B content doesn’t get shared as often, the distribution of shares and links in B2B and B2C appears to be similar.


I learned a lot about content marketing from this study, and I hope you did too.

I’d like to again thank BuzzSumo (in particular Henley Wing) for providing the data that made this research possible.

For those that are interested, here is a PDF of how we collected and analyzed the data for this research.

And now I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your #1 takeaway lesson from this study?

Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, leave a comment below right now.

  1. Very thought provoking indeed Brian. Some definite surprises in there and seems that a lot of content doesn’t achieve much. Will have to read post a second time as a lot to digest there! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Paul. I was also surprised by how few posts got any links. Goes to show that blasting out content without promotion doesn’t make much sense.

  2. Very nice case study and report!

    It’s interesting that only 6% of the content analyzed even has a single link, but it’s still getting enough traction on BuzzSumo to get pulled into this study.

    Thank-you for putting this together.

    1. Thanks Lisa. Good point there. I’m not 100% sure how BuzzSumo finds content. But I think it crawls social media sites (like Twitter) vs. finding content through links on other websites.

    2. Hi! Susan from BuzzSumo here…we index everything that is socially shared, basically adding 2.5 million URL’s /day to our database. The latest total was 5 billion, but we are on track for 6 billion in the next 6 months.

      1. Thank you for this huge work. Was this research made on US content ? or also on french, german, italian content ? and about “best day” : there were no difference between B2B and B2C ?

  3. Awesome findings, kinda concurs with my own findings. The post with the most social signals on my site is actually not that long. While I have put more effort in some other posts which are longer and they dont have that much social shares. Im going to keep it in the back of my mind when I create new content.

    1. Thanks Koen. At the end of the day, people will share if content’s shareable. And publishing super long stuff isn’t a magic bullet, which our research shows. But for links, longer content (3k+ words) probably does help.

  4. Thanks for this brilliant research, Brian. I had been itching to read a new post from you (I always anticipate your emails, lol) and you just gave me the secrets I have been looking for. Content marketing is different in 2019. Thank you for going all the way once again!

    1. You’re welcome, François. To be clear: we didn’t actually look at the raw number of links content in the B2B and B2C spaces got (although that would be interesting). But the overall distribution was the same.

    1. Thanks Dmytro. We didn’t look at legal blogs in particular. Although that would be a really interesting niche to investigate.

      1. I have been following & including all your key summary findings in my blog:

        2000 words or less
        Alt tag for all images
        Engaging title
        Value-based content

        What I haven’t included is a question mark on any of my blogs & that I will do from now on since there’s increased percentage of social shares (great tip from your research).

  5. I would think that the majority of the content which gets a lot of social media shares has no link value such as content on Buzzfeed or Bored Panda so that could skew the data. Personally, I’ve seen a lot of success using social media to promote content to gain backlinks so I am not sure I would be ready to write that off yet.

    1. Hi Ronald, That’s true to a certain extend for sure. But considering out data set included 900+ million posts, it’s not likely that the results were skewed by a handful of viral sites.

  6. I just did a quick scan of this gem of a post, Brian. First, THANK YOU! It’s filled with valuable and counterintuitive insights, essential info for anyone in the content marketing game. Much obliged!

    1. Thanks Alan. That’s very true: a lot of these findings are surprising (like the fact that people share and link to content for different reasons).

  7. Great study! Among other things, this is further support for making sure your content strategy is customized for specific channels, rather than just “blasting” the same version of content out everywhere.

    1. EXACTLY. Content that people link to doesn’t usually get shared. That’s why your strategy has to fit with your goal. If it’s links, you go one way. If it’s shares on social media, it’s time for a completely different approach.

    1. That was a big one for me too. I knew that most content didn’t get linked to. But I had no idea that the number was so low.

  8. Wow, awesome case study Brian. Looks like still long form content performing the best. Working on similar types of content right now. Fingers cross.

    thanks for this awesome case study. Seems I m on right path.

  9. Brian, it’s great information on what content gets attention and links. But it’s almost disheartening to think that someone might spend two weeks researching and writing a really great post – only to have no one ever find it.

    I suppose the biggest takeaway for me is that if you have a really great idea for a post, article, etc., AND you want people to find/link to it, you probably need to spend hours up-front strategically defining your content rather than just sitting down and banging it out. It almost seems like true authors need to either acquire an additional skill set OR work with a partner who looks at the content exclusively from the visibility stand-point.

    Thanks for another great post.

    1. You’re welcome, Bob. Well said. I agree that you need a strategic approach if you want your content to get seen. That includes findings the topic, outlining your content and promoting it. Otherwise, it gets buried.

  10. Hi Brian,

    Great information as always. I do find it very interesting that long-form content gets more social shares and views. Normally, when I publish longer articles, they tend to not do so well. However, when I post short posts (which are usually news related posts), they tend to do better. 300 to 500 words each post. Perhaps my long-form stuff is too long? I do a golf blog, and posts about players seem to do decent enough because the main keyword is easy to spot (in these cases, the player’s name).

    However, if it’s not about players, they tend to not do as well minus a few exceptions. One other thing I’m struggling with is bringing more followers to my golf blog’s Twitter page. Of course, tweeting out good content helps, but I feel like there’s more to it than that. Am I wrong?

    Finally, I’m planning on changing the domain name of golf blog, but the name I wanted was taken with “.com”, but was available with “.co”. Is using a “.co” domain a good idea or no?

    Thanks so much for your time and help, Brian, and keep up the great work!

    1. Hey Colin, in that case it’s probably more about the topic than the length. I’d be curious to see how your news posts would do if they were on the longer side.

      1. Thanks, Brian! I’ll definitely consider longer stories. I’m curious as well. Also, I sent a similar comment like the one above, so please kindly disregard that one.

  11. Hello Brian, Thanks for this huge data. It seems I’m outdated at headlines things since I use short form headlines for most of our sites.

    Also, I publish less number of question type posts since I thought the search volume is lower but seems to be a great mistake.

    1. You’re welcome. One thing about question headlines is that they’re great for shares, but maybe not so much for title tags. Not saying questions can’t work as title tags, but we only looked at how they related to social shares.

  12. “However, to our knowledge no one has investigated why longer content tends to perform so well. Does the Google algorithm inherently prefer long content? Or perhaps longer content is best at satisfying searcher intent.”

    Google uses user signals like bounce rate and time on page through Chrome, doesn’t it? Longer article -> in general longer time on page, that is to Google more fitting search result -> higher ranking. (Of course compared to the competition, so if they have millions of backlinks, those signals won’t help neither.)

    1. Hi Boris, I think they do use that data. But assuming that’s the reason that longer content works is very different than investigating it with data.

  13. Amazing. Thanks for all that effort, and for sharing. Much time will be required to fully absorb your findings. But I have learned that a long headline, ending with a “?” and preferably preceding a list, will likely gain the most results.

  14. Some jaw dropping stats in there! Thanks Brian. It would appear that a large % of the World is wasting valuable time preparing content that never gets viewed, liked or shared!

  15. Great post, Brain. An important take away from this post for me is to use ‘?’ at the end of headlines. In a lot of my earlier blogs, although they were why/what posts I didn’t use the question mark in the title, just left it blank. Will change the headlines and study if there is any noticeable change in the number of shares. Thanks again for this post. Cheers!

  16. This is outstanding and more or less confirms what believe I see on my blog site. I would love to see some additional data in two areas:

    1. Sponsored content v. non-sponsored.
    2. How important SEO is for niche industry blogs.

    Right now I run a pretty successful niche industry blog that makes good revenue primarily from sponsored content. We have a pretty good email list we send to every day (5 day week) and our sponsors are happy with the results… I would like it to be better. Any thoughts on any of this?

    1. Thanks Steve. I know sponsored content is big right now so it would be interesting for someone to look specifically at their performance. To your question: I’ve worked with or helped sites in 50+ industries. And in my experience, content is content. Every niche has their own wrinkles. But the same basic rules tend to apply across different industries. Hope that helps.

  17. This is such a brilliant post. I read EVERY word.

    This was what I wanted at this time to validate my content strategy.

    Thank you Brain. This post shows you were not just writing for the money or for the shares or backlinks but to actually help folks like us.

    Thanks again.

    Ojo Iszy

  18. Hey Brian, thanks for the insights.

    I’m surprised by the finding that longer headlines = more social shares, because various blog posts, headline generators & plugins like Yoast say to keep it 10 words or less.

    Also, regarding long-form content getting more backlinks: does that apply to new blog posts only, or updating content along the way?

    eg. publishing a 3,000 word piece all at once, or updating a 1,000 word piece over a period of several months till it reaches a higher word count?


    1. You’re welcome, Heenay. Yoast is (rightfully) really focused on SEO. So in that case, it would make sense to keep your headlines on the shorter side so your title tag doesn’t get cut off. But social shares appear to be a different animal.

      Regarding long-form content, good question. I believe the word count is measured when the page is first indexed by BuzzSumo. But I’m not 100% sure.

  19. First of all Thank you for sharing this blog.

    I have a question:-
    If i want boost my webaite ranking so i have to focus on social shares or backlinks.

    Means i have to write list content on my website blog or article that contains “why” & “what” in title???

  20. Incredibly useful information! Thank you for this. You have also confirmed mine (business partner and I) theory that there is just too much content. Its a hard road to getting back links. My partner keeps shutting me down when I say we need to create a few posts…. This seems to be the reason why.

    I am also almost sure that the power posts generally get pushed out by big sites that have a huge following. Which in turn gives them trust and the reader a reason to share… The youth of today (my sons for example) generally start a sentence by saying… I read “XYZ” on Reddit/Quora and they say… Which makes it even tougher for the small guys to get social shares or even backlinks…

    1. You’re welcome, Brad. Glad you enjoyed it.

      You’re onto something there: big publishers definitely have an inherent advantage over small publishers. But my hope with data like this is that little guys like you and me can gain an edge on them.

  21. The information in the PDF is also great! I was thinking, if a correlation could be formed between the 6% of content that atleast gets some external links and if they’re the ones that majorly dominates the Google Search Results. 🙂
    This article surely sets the tone for best practices of Content Writing for 2019 based on Scientifical analysis. Loved it as always 🙂

    1. Thank you. We didn’t look into it, but considering how important backlinks are, I’d guess there’s a strong correlation there.

  22. Incredible stuff. Thank you so much. Gave me serious clarity that too very early on my blogging career. In fact, you inspire me to produce top quality content.

  23. So great case study. I really love it 😊. But I have one thing that i don’t understand it which is “list post”
    What do you mean by list post?

  24. Interesting! I just thought that B2C posts may be more easier to be viral than B2B ones, and this means more backlinks. But, I’m wrong. Hahah

    1. Well, B2C content does get more overall shares. But the distribution of shares and links is almost identical in B2B, which surprised me.

  25. One more lengthy but worthy post from brian dean and sure this page also going to get more links. I have tried several times to write such a lengthy and worthy post but unfortunately till date i am not able to do it. Writing such posts are like art and everyone can’t do. Still i love reading your content and getting recharged !

  26. Very interesting and inspiring article. Thanks for taking the time to do the research and inform all of us.

    I’m curious though, so couldn’t we potentially include Infographics in our list posts to get the best of both worlds? Link bait and formatted for social sharing. What do you think?

    1. Hey Sam, that might work. My take is that for an infographic to work it has to BE the post. As in the main thing. I’m not sure if it would work as well as point #8 in a list post.

  27. Hey Brian, I saw a similar article from OkDork (Noah Kagan) a few years ago. But your article is updated with new information. I’m gonna bookmark it to reference it and also share it. Thanks as ALWAYS! 🖒

  28. We write remarkable, long-form content for case interview preparation (to get management consulting jobs), but have a really hard time getting backlinks.

    Usually the only websites talking about case interview preparation are our competitors (who are not going to link to us) and universities (we haven’t been able to get them to respond to a single e-mail from us).

    Now I know long-form content will NOT replace link building. We need to work smarter on this task.

    1. Sounds good, Julio. Long form can help. But I’d also experiment with different content formats if you’re #1 goal is to get backlinks.

  29. Thank you for this free comprehensive study. Seems like you have quite the posse of techs pulling a bunch of data together and creating infographics.

    I manage a B2B site. Biggest takeaways:
    * How difficult it is to get backlinks.
    * The types of posts that perform best.

    Thanks again for your generosity.

  30. Wow man. You are just killing it. This is some amazing stuff right here.

    I think this data is more than amazing actually. Little between amazing and revolutionary

    But great freaking job Brain.

  31. Excellent read. It’s shocking to see 90%+ of posts not having any external links. Looks as if people are too focused on creating content and not enough on promoting it.

    1. EXACTLY. There’s so much content that comes out everyday. You either need to create something Earth-shattering, or promote (or both!).

    1. Keelie, I looked into this myself. And based on the results I spot checked it looks like BuzzSumo grabs the headline, not necessarily the title tag (although they’re usually the same).

  32. Great article. Have been reading your articles for some time. I am one of those 90+% that does not have any external links unfortunately. I am at it though.

  33. I have been wondering many of what was answered in this post. You are always ahead of the game Brian.

    I am curious: Do social shares have to come from the actual blog post on your site using the social share buttons? Or can they come from posts on social media sites?

  34. Amazing post Brian, thank you for sharing. I never suspected such a big difference between content that’s linked to versus shared on social! My jaw dropped when reading 912 million – is this a representative sample across basically all industries?

    1. Thanks Susanne. It is. It’s actually all of the articles in BuzzSumo’s database from October 2017 to October 2018. So pretty much every industry is included.

    1. Hey David, I haven’t had a lot of time to digest the findings. That said, my #1 goal with content has been links + rankings. So I’ll probably use some of the insights here to get better link results from what I put out.

  35. Hi Brian. The main point I take from this post is the importance of backlinks. I’ll be sharing this post to convince others to do backlink exchanges. You’ve made my job easier so thanks.

  36. Very cool article 🙂 I do have a question. Do you think that a site should be present for X amount of time to be better recognized in Google, e.g. 1 year, 3 years? Basically, do you think a site being active for longer have a positive effect on the backlinks and site rankings?

    1. Thank you. Being around longer=more links=higher rankings. But I don’t think the site existing for a while is a direct Google ranking factor.

  37. Is interesting, easy to get swamped in what your doing wrong, waste a lot of time. Helps focus strategy going forward. Thank you

  38. Amazing article Brian, thank you. It’s kind of depressing that you can write amazing content and nobody could possibly see it. What’s the answer though?

    For example, you said you also need to promote the content, but how do you promote content? Especially if you aren’t a social media butterfly who doesn’t want to “build an audience” or post what they had for lunch every day on social media?

    What’s the best way to promote content?

  39. Great stuff Brian! Very interesting.

    I’m really surprised that having a tonne of genuine shares doesn’t help you get new links.
    That’s weird because pure logic suggests that more people see your content , higher the chances to get a link or two.
    But now we know better.

    Thanks man:)

    1. Nikola, exactly: it logically makes sense for sure. But I think the difference is that only a small percentage of people that share have a website where they can link to you.

  40. Great Piece of content seriously ! I was waiting for the blog post from you Brian.

    I am feeling positive right now. Content creators on the web now will have clear focus on how to do things.

  41. Thanks for this brilliant research, Brian. I had been itching to read a new post from you. and you just gave me the secrets I have been looking for. Content marketing is different in 2019. Thank you for going all the way once again!

    1. You’re welcome. I agree: content marketing has changed A LOT over the last few years. It’s definitely harder to stand out now than ever before.

  42. You are incredible, detailed insights and everything is amazingly shared, I believe a kid can learn this too with the help of screenshots and insights easily.

    “I have A small request please share your content weekly. Your last post is about – Feb: 05, 2019 and than 19, Feb (this one). Also share videos on YouTube, I personally like your your videos than blog posts”.


  43. Brian, I’d love to see you throw out Pinterest data when analyzing social shares. Pinterest does have sharing, but the platform as a whole operates more like a search platform than a social one.

    It seems like Pinterest also causes a lot of noise – many of your examples have HUGE Pinterest share counts… and all of your outlier examples were only outliers because of Pinterest.

    1. Hey Valerie, good points there for sure. My issue with removing it is that it’s one of the most popular social networks out there.

  44. Thanks Brain for another fine piece of research.

    I guess list posts are much more abbreviated and to the point, appealing to the shorter attention span of social sharing and quick fixes. Whereas a why or what post is probably a more in-depth investment of time and reading. And if you don’t invest the time, you probably won’t link as much due to less perceived concrete value. And if the thing is more shareable socially it probably has less long-term value and more of a quick shock factor. People link to longer-term, more in-depth trustable content, and people socially share shorter sound-bytes that can be quickly digested and spread with little effort. I suppose it reflects the level of commitment. If you put time and effort into absorbing a longer post you might be more inclined to also commit to linking to it. I think also solid content pieces become much more useful to other people researching, citing, looking for authoritative sources, etc and its much harder to find that stuff in the fleeting world of social media where today’s news is gone within a few days.

    1. You’re welcome, Paul. I wish I could print this comment out and hand it to everyone that wonders why people share and why they link. As you pointed out, they’re usually for completely different reasons. Great comment.

  45. Hi Brian
    Certain “why” posts are list posts too. Did you guys take note of the behaviour towards such posts?

    Sometimes I wonder why you don’t run ads, and I’ve never seen an affiliate link either…
    Thanks Bro, keep up the good work.

        1. I’m not sure how the BuzzSumo algorithm counts those hybrid posts. It could be as a list post or why post or both. I’ll have to look into that.

  46. I must be honest, the data that shown that there is no correlation between a piece of content that is shared a lot on social media, does not equal to increase backlinks was surprising. This is something that I thought would happen but as that article mentioned Brian, we link to content for different reasons. The social realm is a different demographic with a different agenda. Different mindset too. “You’re in front of your friends” for example.

    Love this article Brian and Buzzsumo. Best article of 2019 hands down!

    1. Thanks Andrew. I think there are a lot of reasons that shares and links don’t correlate. One is the simple fact that everyone has a Facebook account but few run websites. The other, as you pointed out, is that the social media world has a different mindset than publishers that link.

  47. How are you measuring content length? Is it by the word count of the actual article someone reads, or are you scraping the page and counting all of the words on the page? Or, are you only counting words within paragraph tags? Just curious.

    1. Hi Kevin, I’m actually not sure how BuzzSumo’s algorithm does that. I believe it’s words on the page but that’s just a guess.

  48. Just fascinating. I had so many takeaways, but my biggest was just a complete reframe on my blogs. I constantly thought I could do better, but the truth is that the real key is good, detailed, content consistently published–and even then, it might still be ignored. It’s not necessarily an indication that my content sucks, it’s just life. It really gave me quite the wakeup call to realize that .01% of posts go viral… and only around 6% are shared. I need to stop being so focused on the results of one post and focus on many high quality posts over time. I also love that long titles get more shares. I’d always felt the 60 character limit thing had been just for Google, and not reader focused at all. And it’s good to know I should be shooting for 1000-2000 words, not 3000-4000.

    1. Hey Frater, exactly. It really depends on your goal. If your #1 goal is to get links, then certain content formats and lengths work best. But if you want shares, that requires a different approach. Actually, that was my #1 takeaway from this study.

  49. What a great piece of content Brian, thanks for sharing. Is there any possibility that you tell us HOW you crawl all this information?

    Btw, I’ve another question (that we can continue on email): Is there any possibility to replicate some information in our company’s blog? (in spanish). Of course I would traslate it by myself.

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Jose, I partnered with BuzzSumo for this study. They have the data in their database and were kind enough to put it all together.

  50. Really great data Brian. It’s staggering how List Posts get hardly any backlinks. I’ve probably leaned more towards How Posts but will definitely shoot more for What and Why now.
    Would be interested in:
    1. How this data breaks down by certain niches, and…
    2. If there’s any correlation between amount of multimedia per post and backlinks.

    1. Thanks Clay.

      1. I’m actually not sure. But I’d be willing to bet that every niche is a bit different.
      2. That would be cool to look at. Maybe for the next study!

  51. Hi Brian – this is an excellent post (as always :)).
    My 2 biggest takeaways was : 1) How Social shares don’t guarantee backlinks?
    2) 93% of B2B content does not get any backlinks.

    These are mind-boggling stats.
    Thanks for putting this together.

  52. Great article. I had already worked most of that out anecdotally but seeing the numbers makes my assumptions valid. Sucks to be writing long-form then (as I can’t help but do)

    1. Thanks Benedict. I’m still a fan of long form. For me, links are my main goal. And for that long form seems to be the way to go.

  53. Hey, Brian
    Great Research conducted. Really helpful data and information. I have a question? How to ask people to promote your content via email outreach? Should I ask directly for share or provide some value to them before asking for a social share..

  54. Another great case study Brian. From among the 11 points, I like the no correlation between backlinks and social shares point. It’s a great takeaway point for me to how to align content goal for links and share. Keep posting such case study.

  55. Hi Brain, thanks for this awesome article but I’ve a quick question:
    In my niche (country name food) I discover that short titles like “food recipe” performs better in search engine than an average long title. And I’m a fan of long titles I just have to follow the trend to get a cut of the organic traffic.
    How can I in this case use long titles and still rank perfectly in google.

    1. Great question. We found that long titles are best for social shares. But as you found, short titles are sometimes best for SEO. So it depends on your goal.

  56. Your detailed research analysed blog posts – yet all the conclusions being drawn refer to ‘content’. Surely not all content is blog posts? Right below this comment box is an offer to get ‘exclusive strategies not found on the blog’ – and just how many blog posts does Wikipedia publish…?
    Has anyone tried to establish what % of “content” blog posts make up? After all your research does seem to suggest they are not an effective way of obtaining either links or social shares.

    1. Hey Jeremy, good point there. If you check out the PDF methods you’ll see how we found the pages included in our analysis. Basically: any page published between October 2017-October 2018 that was in BuzzSumo’s database.

  57. Thanks for data analysis and curating the results. Clearly helped me a lot in finalising what I should focus on. For Google (organic search) the kind of posts required is very clear now.
    Again thanks 🙂

  58. Our traffic has hit rock bottom this year. We never really spent our efforts on SEO or Content marketing. Though we release blogs on a regular basis we did not do it for Google. We realized we need to do SEO (might sound silly) and we started following a lot of your methods. Thank you so much for all the work. I will keep you posted on our improvements.

  59. Hi, Brian,
    Excellent work, with very useful information. One thing that would be good to analyze and not mentioned in the study, is the relationship between the content and authority of the domain, or the authority of the author.

    1. You’re welcome, Yunier. That would be interesting. I’d be willing to guess that author/site popularity would definitely help with shares and links.

  60. How much can we trust Buzzsumo’s findings on backlinks though. From past experience with some articles I’d worked on, they don’t always trace all the links back to them. For example, I’ve found links by using Ahrefs or Google Analytics while Buzzsumo returned 0.

    Great article though, Brian. It’s a pleasure reading your updates.

  61. Google : I like Listicle type Large Content
    Blogger : Let’s Produce More Listicles
    Google : Let’s Show more listicle content in SERPs

    You never disappoint your readers. Listicles attract more people and day by day google SERPs are being filled by list type of results.

  62. Interesting but you don’t ever explore if the content ranked in Google. If a piece of content ranked well on Google for a good term it’s much more likely to get loads of visits and thus increase the probability of share and links.

  63. Amazing data!

    Have you found a content format that appears to work best for Google SERP? I’ve seen a couple of post ranks well without having shares and backlinks.

  64. Brian,
    This was really awesome research for us all. Thank you! I was shocked that Sunday may be the best day to publish. I was also surprised about no linking out on many posts. I always link out a few times. The other shock was how little blogs get backlinks. I knew it was hard but didn’t realize that HARD for many.
    Wow, you really gave us a lot to work with going forward. Thank you!

  65. This is simple yet brilliant study. Confirming some points (medium to long content rocks) but most importantly putting into the light that we should have a different strategy for blog posts and social media stuff. Also the fact that it is very hard to get backlinks is the confirmation that it is the holy grail for trafic and that we should put a lot of effort into it despite minor returns. Thanks again for this content Brian !

  66. Thanks Brian for the great study. I was surprised to read that long headlines have more social shares. I was under the impression that 10 words was already too long. Thanks for that! I can right away apply this and make some changes to my headlines 🙂

  67. Amazing work, Brian! As always.

    My main takeaway from your research was that we must take into consideration the goal of our content before creating it – are we looking to get lots of shares on social or lots of back links from authority sites? Based on your findings, it would be silly to try to go for both in a single piece of content.

    I know personally it’s disheartening when the businesses I work with don’t get much traction on their wel thoughtout blog and social strategy, so it’s nice to hear that both B2C and B2B publishers are experiencing similar challenges. It’s motivating, actually. B2B might get less shares overall but it isn’t really at any more disadvantage than any B2C content in terms of earning points in Google.

    I’ll be pondering these findings and how to work with them in my work.. thank you so much for this!

    1. Thanks Amanda. Absolutely. That’s the main takeaway for me as well. Most people see links and shares as one and the same. But as the data showed, they’re totally different. Please keep me posted on how things go.

  68. Brian,
    As older guy, I’m not as tech savvy as most of your followers. My question my seem elementary and I apologize. I work on a WordPress platform and I don’t how to make infographic charts. Can you recommend any wordpress plugins? I also found your charts very appealing, may I be so bold to ask what platforms you are using to create those charts.

    Last comment, in your study you mention longer worded blog post do better. I’m finding the opposite to be true. I do 3-5 blog posts per day about 300 – 500 words and I’m beating some top names in my industry for key terms on Google. Do you think I should continue this practice? I know with SEO things change quickly, but an old dog like me doesn’t like changes.

    1. Hi John, to your first question: I recommend working with a pro designer. That’s what I do. Re: word count, I honestly wouldn’t change anything. There are exceptions to every rule, and it could be that 300-500 words work best for your site, audience etc.

  69. Thank you so much Brian, I only recently found your site and I love it. I have a question on content length. I usually write very long posts, my last one was 18k words but with a clickable index to facilitate the reading experience. Do you think it’s still too much and I should split it into shorter different posts? (it’s a travel-related site) thanks a lot for your reply.

    1. Hi Isabella, it’s hard to say without seeing the content. But in general, I do tend to think that 18k might be too much content on one page. I’d consider splitting it up into 2-3 different guides unless the 18k is already performing really well.

  70. Oh, great article with lots of useful information. I came here from a Twitter post. So, it’s positive that this long-form content gets good social share signal.

  71. I genuinely don’t understand this conclusion “It appears that, due to the sharp rise in content produced, that building links from content is harder than ever.” Firstly, are you suggesting that building links ‘from’ that new content is getting harder, or are you suggesting that building links ‘to’ that content is harder. Irrespective of which it is, I still understand why that should be.

    1. Hi Robb, I guess I could have phrased it “building links using content”. The idea is that more content=more competition=harder to get links. Especially when you combine that with our other finding that sharing is skewed towards a small % of posts.

  72. This study is quite interesting! Did you also looked at the to the relation between industry, content length and referring domains? My assumption is that the industry matters a lot for the amount of referring domains. For example: in the automotive industry, there are less relevant websites/blogs than in the marketing industry.

    I think it’s also a good thing to mention that you have to gain authority on a specific subject (for example linkbuilding) and that you can build this authority by writing useful and detailed blogs about that (where you answer specific questions). That’s also a trend in content marketing (in my opinion).

    1. Thanks Jarik. We lumped the data together so we didn’t look at particular industries. And your point is 100% valid: outsourcing content to the nearest freelance writer doesn’t work anymore. It’s important to work with content creators who are also practitioners.

  73. First I like to thank you Brain for this awesome study 🙂 I agree that today is harder to get BL. also about the content length, it’s important that people need to understand that not all the time need a long content to rank high if you have good content about 500 words and it’s good for your niche it’s OK and you not need to add words if there is nothing to add. sometimes more is less 🙂 Thanks!

  74. Awesome post Brian. Do you think your conclusions reinforce the idea of writing for your niche, followers and close-by audience (especially for local businesses) — versus expecting back-links?

    1. Hey Kirk, Thank you. I’d still write and publish content with backlinks in mind. It’s not easy, but without links, it’s pretty much impossible to rank.

  75. Great information. Love watching the YouTube stuff but also like this so I can quickly refer to it and show others. Also, glad to know that we are doing some of this stuff on our own blog.

  76. Wow, what an eye opening article! It’s blowing my mind that the most shared content has virtually no backlinks. I think having many different kinds of content will help with the shares, but if backlinks are what you’re after then it’s obviously an uphill battle. Great read Brian!

  77. Thanks for that great info Brian, it has helped a lot! It seems that podcasts are having a resurgence. I would love to know of any data you have, or any useful tips you know for this area. Many thanks again.

    1. You’re welcome, Emily. I actually haven’t looked much into podcasting. But you’re right: they’re really blowing up right now.

  78. Wow – what a huge study and you are sending it out here for all of us. Thank you so much – lots of great info to guide us in our blogging. Right,now to write a list post!:)

  79. Excellent case study! The longer headline and question headline are my takeaway points. You are providing well researched and in-depth articles. Thank you!

  80. Blogs bring traffic, not links? This makes explaining things to a client a bit easier, especially when they have tunnel vision. Interesting report Brian, always appreciate your insights.

    1. LOL! Maybe I should have made the title: “We Analyzed 912 Million Blog Posts. What Did We Learn About Content Marketing?”

  81. Hey Brian,

    Your post makes me think of the phrase, “Watch what people do, not what they say.” People say they don’t like listicles, but both your data and my personal experience flies in the face of that. I’d be curious to see if there is a magic number. I like to use 7, personally.

    Anyway, off to share! I also linked to you from our company blog because this is an awesome resource.

  82. Great study! Especially the article length takeaways struck with me. Although satisfying user intent remains the first focus, balancing the optimal length for user intent, backlinks and shareability seems like the ultimate challenge for the future.

    It might be an interesting follow-up study to look at the difference between the 6% with backlinks, and the 94% without? The first group appears to do something much better!

    Anyway, thanks a lot for sharing!

    1. Hi Tom, you’re welcome. And you’re right: it would be cool to drill down into that 6% to see what they’re doing that the other 94% aren’t!

  83. Seems to me, I have to exert a lot, lot more of effort in doing content marketing to drive traffic to my site. As always another masterpiece from the expert. Thank you so much for this Brian. Keep on rocking dude.

    1. You’re welcome, Josh. Exactly: “effort” is usually the missing link between content that gets shared and content that gets ignored.

  84. If so few site have backlinks then doesn’t that mean it is possible to get number one on Google without them?
    I would like to see a comparison with sites that have these few backlinks with sites that don’t to see the difference.
    If having backlinks gets you into the top five. Then there is a huge opportunity there.
    If there is little weight to it. Then it is a waste of time. right?

  85. Hello Brian

    This is another boom aha post! I have followed your blog for 2 years. Thanks for your kind effort for these valuable information.

    As a Chinese, I find that it is really takes me at least 3 hours or longer to write a post longer than 2000 words.

    Can you give me some good suggestions on copywriting?

  86. Hey Brian, thanks a lot for crunching all those numbers!

    I was wondering if you also looked further into the WHY of your findings? One can surely take action on some of these insights but it’s without knowing why they actually work.

    Why is there no correlation between social shares and backlinks, for example? Is it because there are two different audiences involved? Or maybe technical aspects on the websites included in the research that prevent or the other? And would it be even worth trying to pursue both of these metrics with the same piece of content? Why or why not?

    Honestly, this research seems huge, but I see even greater potential in digging deeper to understand the underlying whys of all this. So thanks for providing the input for additional research hypotheses! It’s now up to all of us, I suppose. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Robert. The numbers are relatively easy. The “why” is a lot harder. That’s because there’s no way to absolutely positively say why there’s no correlation. Only guesses. I shared some of my theories in the post but I’m open to other ideas of why we found what we found.

  87. I think these results confirm what we’ve know all along, that there is too much content for contents sake. It’s the ‘we’ve got to get some content on our site’ scenario with little thought to intent and suitability. I’d be interested to know what percentage of analysed content is about ‘content’ and how much is about something relative to consumers needs. Great research by the way…

    1. Well said, Nick. There’s more content than people can possibly consume. Content needs to be something special to stand out.

  88. Thank you Brian – as always brilliant and to the point! Longer headlines – how they correlate with recommended certain number of characters you shouldn’t exceed with SEO titles? Or should we provide keywords in the beginning of the headline (to pick up by search engines) and then make it as long as we want?

    1. Good question, Yuri. That’s one of the reasons that social sharing and backlinks doesn’t always correlate. What’s good for one isn’t always good for the other.

  89. Hi Brian,

    As Usual the post was awesome. But i felt two things.
    1) You said long form content, i think it should be quality long form content.
    2) About external links.U mean 94% sites dont have a single external link atleast from a bookmarking or directory submission site?

    Please correct me if I asked wrong questions

  90. Lots of insight… I already heard 2000 words article is optimum from you. But this helped a lot in getting natural backlinks like the infographics topic which I never tapped till date

  91. I read EVERY word of this study.

    My biggest takeaway?

    “So it’s important to create content that caters to your goals”

    Thanks Brain, the above statement got me thinking hard!

    Ojo Iszy

  92. What a super useful article, thanks Brian, you’re my man!

    There were some real nuggets in there, like the longer headlines and the ones starting with why… so useful 🙂

  93. Great read!

    I’ve been touting this for some time after reading your blogs.

    It’s been a tough battle for me trying to get people on board with long form content at my agency even though the numbers back it up.

    I guess I’ll just send them this article!

  94. Brian, great stuff as always! What do you think will happen first; content publishing will slow down, or, content that gets zero links will increase? 94% would indicate we’re above and beyond breaking point so something probably has to give soon, right? Either people will realize all this production isn’t worth it or we’ll get even better at finding the content that really matters, but importantly cut all the crap more efficiently. Either way is it hard to imagine a reality of that 94% going to 99%?

    1. Hi Anthony, thank you. My guess is that content that gets zero links will increase. But I’d say people will start to realize that content isn’t working for them in the next 2-3 years.

  95. Like always Brian: this research is top notch. I suspected on my own blog that larger headlines attract more visitors from Google and get more social shares; and this incredible research confirms it. Well done

  96. Great article as always – thanks!

    On the point around why longer titles work better on social media, I think it’s because people like to share things with headlines that reflect the persona they have on social media.

    For example, an article with the title ‘Vegan Cookie Recipe’ will get shared less than one with a title like ‘This amazing cookie recipe is 100% vegan people can’t even tell the difference!’. The reason is that the second title puts out the message that you are an enthusiastic vegan baker, rather than just sharing a recipe.

    An interesting way to test this with data is to look at how many times something is shared vs how many times people have actually clicked the link to read it. I have found (with small anecdotal data!) that more people share things than read them – often by a big margin. I.e. people share based on the headline even when they don’t read the article. A longer headline is therefore more likely to make a statement that people want to be associated with and be willing to share on their social media profiles.

    1. Hi Anthony, really good point there. I do think it comes down to the fact that, as you said, long headlines contain more information. Great insightful comment!

  97. Very insightful. I was most surprised by the findings about long titles. I tend to use short ones on my projects, it seems to me they actually work well for the evergreen content.

    A short title kind of sets the vibe “this is the all-in-one resource” while a long one is more like “this is the interesting distraction you click on Twitter when you’re procrastinating” 🙂

    So I am definitely going to look into implementing a different ‘page headline’ and ‘social media headline’, perhaps with some anchor links, to try to leverage both.

    Thanks a lot for this great piece of research, Brian!

    1. You’re welcome, J. Good idea there! I actually do that myself sometimes: use a short title tag that’s more SEO focused. And a blog post title that’s a little longer.

  98. Brian,
    This was really awesome research for us all. Thank you! I was shocked that Sunday may be the best day to publish.
    It is indeed a very useful article to read. I love your writing style and I am the biggest fan of your content marketing strategy.

    Thank you!

  99. Thank you Brian. Another great piece.
    I have a question and it’s probably a dumb one. Still gonna ask: how do you take the screenshot highlighting the part you want and grey out the rest? And by the way how do you make such amazing graphs? Which tool do you use? Any recommendations? Thanks.

    1. Hi Desmond, that’s not a dumb question at all. We take the shots with Greesnhot and professionally edit them using photoshop.

  100. Hi Brian! Thanks so much for another great article!

    This “The Vast Majority of Content Gets Zero Links” resonated with me quite a bit.

    Clients on our side always want to create “viral” content, however, they don’t always understand that there are so many boxes to tick in order to get someone to share a link from a blog post.

    Crazy that most posts generate zero links but also makes sense with so much content out there, it’s becoming more and more difficult to create content that stands out.

    Very in-depth article!

    Loved it. Keep up the good work.

  101. The reason why vast majority of content gets zero link is that bloggers focus on quantity over quality. Like they would write useless content that is repeated on the web tons of times and would market that. What i prefer is writing content that is unique and marketing that content for a long time makes you win the race.

  102. Thanks for this glorious analysis, Brian. I feel B2C posts would truly get additional back links than B2B ones. The Content promoting primarily includes online promotions within the variety of company brochures, statistics sheets, reports, white papers, e-books, and mailers, newsletters and social media promotions. What I like that writes the content in a very distinctive that helps alternative to additional readability.

  103. This is incredibly valuable data! I never would have thought that articles that get more social shares aren’t as highly linked, and vise versa.

    I also love how there’s data about longer headlines too. I tend to write long headlines but a lot of the search engine plugins I’ve used tell you to keep ’em short.

    My biggest takeaway is to get clear on what the purpose is for each of your blog posts – social or links! (Beyond being helpful for readers, of course!)

  104. Impresive content!
    However, I do think that the number of social shares is more influenced by the producers of that content, because they do invest more to promote it.
    I know I do it with my own long content.

  105. Wow, I always thought more dialog or longer blog posts didn’t get read. Peoples attention span is nil, the same with long headliners- I’m so happy to know this. Thank you

  106. People think that just longer content will help you in getting links while that is their mistake, it’s not about writing it’s about how you keep engage them with your words, images, dividers and that all i can learn from backlinko…each article is so long but still i never feel bored reading because the way you put article is quite engaging and sometimes i have to save to pocket for later read as i can’t just read this gold in hurry…:)

    Kudos and keep it up.

  107. This is fantastic! Sent it to several clients today. I think we need to get better at marketing our content and guide our customers/prospects to information they find valuable.

    Nothing more disheartening than working hard on an eBook or blog post and no-one sees it.

  108. Very nice case study and report!

    It’s interesting that only 6% of the content analyzed even has a single link, but it’s still getting enough traction on BuzzSumo to get pulled into this study.

    Thank-you for putting this together.

  109. Hey Brian, great article and thanks for sharing. One question: how would you approach someone (journalist/blogger) to share this stuff? Especially for a new website, it can be hard to be heard (excuse me the joke).

  110. The length of headlines is a surprising statistic. I’m not surprised by the list though. Those are essentially how Buzzfeed became a company. Read this list about what kind of goldfish you would be!

    Is there any metric that you would measure differently if you were doing this project again?

    1. Hi Hamilton, if I could do this again I’d look more into publisher size and what effect that has on how content does.

  111. I’m addicted to studies and figures. Thanks Brian for all these valuable information. Do you think that using images inside that long articles help to increase shares and engagements?

  112. This is great info, thanks. That said, I’d be more interested to see how content length and content type impact revenue. Backlinks and social shares are fine interim measures, but in the end, most of us are looking for sales. Conceivably, longer posts are inversely related to sales, but I’m not sure. Do you have any data on that? Thanks!

  113. Wow! Great content and thanks a lot for the study! I’m surprised that 3,000-10,000 word content length gets more links than 1,000-3,000 word content! I definitely downloaded the pdf for future references!

  114. Hopefully people see the value in this post.

    Research like this takes a LONG time, you did an awesome job with this Brian, and thank you for sharing it.

    “List” content is my #1 content choice, it’s good to see that this is the most shared content. Interesting to see “why” is second and I’ll implement that more in my content probably.

  115. A lot of positives here, amazing as always Brian. We have just started our own ab tests about longer content vs shorter content, longer titles vs shorter titles, will gladly share the results here.

  116. Hey Brian, thanks for the valuable content.
    One of my key takeaway would be the Question Titles, will imply it check how it goes. Hope to see the expected results ;P

  117. Hi Brain,

    For me publishing on Thursday evening (India Time) worked best. Software employees are in relax mode on Friday and like to Surf internet as compared to Monday.

  118. Hi Brain,
    I have add about 75 character headline in my blog then the google search engine show only 60 character and then … show, so I think they depend pixel of word and more social shares

  119. Long content makes sense in a blog that already has multiple articles. I always see how people optimise for the few long posts, and how they say that they make 90% of their revenues on 10% of the blog posts, but I don’t see analysis on how the smaller blog posts help ranking. What would happen if a blog has only one exceptionally good long post, a kind of one pager website, would it still be ranked well enough (not considering that it would have obviously 0 user retention since there is nowhere else to go to except get out).

  120. Very interesting and inspiring article. Thanks for taking the time to do the research and inform all of us.

    I’m curious though, so couldn’t we potentially include Infographics in our list posts to get the best of both worlds? Link bait and formatted for social sharing. What do you think?

  121. I love to read your content, so inspiring and informational.

    Usually, I’m writing my blog posts around 3000 words. Is there any benefit to write for say 10k words compared to 3000 you think?

    Some posts I see in the SERP are like an E-book, but as far as I know, people are often looking for short and fast answers to their questions.

  122. Wow, really thorough research and a lot of takeaways. An eye-opener for the next social media strategy meeting. Thanks Brian! Always a pleasure reading your posts.

  123. The length of headlines is a surprising statistic. I’m not surprised by the list though. Those are essentially how Buzzfeed became a company.

  124. Hey Brian,

    Great deep overview and love the stats. It proves native content for platforms differ. List posts are the least to get linked to on a blog but get the highest shares on social.

    I guess we really need to create specific content where it will perform.

    Great insights and case study.

  125. Brian,

    Your analysis and thoroughness continue to blow me away. It’s these types of posts that help independent publishers find success in a competitive market.


  126. From time to time I research my old blog posts and add two or three paragraphs, but sometimes I write and add more than 500 words. After a few weeks, I usually noticed an increase in SERP without any linking or off-page seo. So, the longest content will perform better on search engines, it’s definite.

  127. Brian,

    I remember learning the long content formula from you about two years ago, it takes a tremendous amount of effort.

    I did research that was required then started writing & often fell short because of life getting in the way…..Sad but true!

    From all that you talk about, it true to form.

    Every time I followed what you said, I was able to have much more success with little to no effort of the backside after writing the article.

    Plus it makes it super easy to get social shares.

    You always speak the truth, thank you again for the solid info.

    I wish I wasn’t so hard-headed….ha.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *