Content with a word count of 1,000 or less earns the most backlinks and is more likely to be shared by people across the web, according to a new study by Fractl.
The PR company analysed more than 5,000 articles to find out what content is the most shared and linked to, and to mine insights about the value of evergreen blogs versus timely news and articles.
Various studies have claimed that longer, more in-depth content is better for SEO as Google values pages that can cover a certain topic comprehensively, but the latest study suggests that there is also value in shorter materials.
Overall, the most linked-to articles have an average of 695 words, and content with 1,000 words or less generally sees the highest share counts.
However, the study noted that there were outliers and that marketers should consider the needs of the reader first and foremost.
Fractl said: “When it comes to word count, this just emphasizes that it depends on the topic and why you’re creating the content; the length should correspond to the reader’s intent. Do they want a quick answer or a conceptual deep-dive?”
In terms of specific content formats, how-to articles are the best for driving a greater number of shares.
The average how-to delivered 14,475 shares compared to 10,251 for a list-based video, 8,623 for a how-to article with a video and 7,260 for a list-based infographic.
The most shared article did differ by vertical though.
For example, infographics are the most shareable for tech topics, while ‘why’ posts came out on top in finance and fitness.
How-tos are also the most linked-to format ahead of general articles, newsletters and videos.
Fractl concluded that to earn the most links and shares, brands should aim to match user intent and then produce succinct and usable content.