Content Marketing | SEO

Content Marketing: Which Content Generates the Most Links and Social Shares?

Backlinks and social shares are both relevant SEO ranking factors. In order to get your content linked to from other websites and shared in social networks, you need to create relevant content. This makes content marketing an important instrument for search engine optimization.

But what kind of content generates links and social shares? BuzzSumo and Moz teamed up to do a study based on over a million articles to find out what kind of content gets the most links and social shares. Below you will find the most important results of the study and recommendations for your content marketing.

Results of the Study

  • A lot of content does not get shared: Many articles hardly generate any links and shares. This means that there is a lot of content that has either a low quality or is simply not interesting for the users.
  • More social shares than links: It is easier to acquire social shares than backlinks. Users share content via social media instead of linking to it from other websites.
  • No correlation between links and social shares: The study does not show any correlation between the number of backlinks and the number of social shares. Thus if an article gets a lot of shares in social media, this does not necessarily mean that it will acquire a lot of links, and vice versa. The study only found a correlation between links and shares for particular content of major news websites like for example The New York Times.
  • Longer posts get more shares: Longer posts (over 1000 words) typically acquire more links and social shares than shorter articles. This does not apply to videos and quizzes.
  • Formats with more social shares than links: Entertaining content like entertainment videos and quizzes typically generate many social shares, but hardly any links.
  • Formats with the most links: List posts and why posts acquire more backlinks than the other analyzed content formats, according to the study.
  • Formats with the most social shares: List posts and videos on average achieve a higher number of social shares than other formats.
Performance of different content types

Recommendations for Your Content Marketing

In order to acquire links and shares, you need to do systematic content marketing. Only content that the users perceive as relevant and helpful gets linked and shared on social media.

According to the study, you are more likely to gain links and shares with longer articles (over 1000 words) and the following formats:

  • List posts
  • Why posts
  • Videos

In addition to generating links and shares, there are more reasons why you should use content marketing to improve your ranking positions:

  • In order to achieve high SEO rankings, you need content that is aligned with your keywords that the search engines will perceive as relevant results.
  • Websites that regularly provide fresh content are often rated as more relevant.

Which content will work best for you depends on your business model and target market. You can use different SEO tools to analyze which content has the most potential for your website.


Title image attribution: mkhmarketing via Flickr