Marketing 3 min read

Study Finds Positive Correlation Between Backlinks and Short Content

Arthimedes | Shutterstock.com

Arthimedes | Shutterstock.com

According to an analysis of thousands of articles by the marketing agency Fractl, short content with less than 700 words usually earn the most backlinks.

Several marketers measure their content’s success using engagement, and why not. When your audience share and comment on your writing, it implies that you’re doing something right.

However, a Florida-based marketing agency, Fractl, has explored a different perspective in their analysis. Rather than use the conventional engagement metric, they examined the number of backlinks.

For their study, the analysts examined the share count of over 5,000 pages with at least 25 backlinks.

“With both of these metrics together, we can get a fuller picture of what makes for well-rounded, successful content,” they wrote.

Fractl wanted to focus on content that isn’t on any major news site — from more relatable brands. So, it filtered some of the most prominent publications from the list using BuzzSumo.

The study reads:

“The goal was to identify qualities of content that has also managed to be deserving of links so we can reveal ways to optimize content for link building.”

Here are the major takeaways.

Three Key Insights from Fractl’s Content Analysis

1. Evergreen Content or Timely Content?

Evergreen content refers to articles that maintain relevance for an extended period.

However, BuzzSumo assigns an evergreen score to articles based on the number of social engagements and backlinks it receives within 30 days of being published. Higher engagement and social activity would mean a higher evergreen score.

According to Fractl, the overall score of all the articles in the study is 5.5 out of 30.

The number suggests that timely content can receive as many backlinks — if not more — as evergreen content. However, the post must be not only original but also engaging.

The analysis noted that “how-to” articles were the most evergreen of all content.

2. The Most Shared Content

Fractl analyzed various articles’ share count to identify the average number of shares by article type and verticals.

According to the analysis, more people tend to share posts with 1,000 words or less. However, several other articles with a higher word count also enjoyed a large number of shares.

The top five content types based on the number of shares include:

  • How-to article (14,475)
  • List/video (10,251)
  • How-to article w/ video (8,623)
  • List/infographic (7,260)
  • Newsletter (4,914)

While there’s a correlation between article length and shares, the study cautioned against aiming for a specific word count. Instead, the reader’s intent should determine the article’s length.

3. Most Linked-to Articles

Fractl analyzed articles with at least 50 backlinks to identify which articles types are attracting the most backlinks. As it turns out, the answer is “how-to articles.”

Here are the top five article types based on the number of backlinks.

  1. How-to article
  2. General article
  3. List/general article
  4. Newsletter
  5. Video

The analysts also noted that posts with 695 words earned more backlinks than the overall average of 727 words. Also, high linking content had an evergreen score of 7, compared to the general standard of 5.5.

Here’s the full study.

Read More: Study: Google Products Dominate the Search Engine’s First Page

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