We get it. We're always preaching about how you should write for your audience. What we have yet to do is really break down how our tips have helped us.
So we asked our passionate Data Analyst Jessica for help. In using her expertise we found out what factors contribute to our blog and social media successes.
Some questions we answer in this study are:
- Why a particular blog post got shared so much?
- Why was there so much social engagement or traffic?
- What aspects of the blog post makes a difference when shared on social media?
We were surprised at our results and before we get started, here's a little bit of background on the criteria of this study:
1. We extracted each of the URLs of every blog post that we were able to get our data-seeking hands on. Over 200 of the Atomic Reach blog posts were analyzed.
2. From each of the URLs, we extracted the effects of:
- Word count and its effects on page views and unique views
- Word count in the titles and social media posts
- Title length and its effects on page views and unique views
- Title length and social media interactions
- The effects of keywords on page views
- The impact of sharing blog posts to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
It's important to keep in mind that our results do not provide absolute answers to what causes traffic, links, or social share increases. What our analysis did give us was a confirmation of what's working, and what might need some work.
Now that you know the background, it's time to reveal our blog's hidden treasures!
The Anatomy of a Blog Post (using Atomic Reach Blog)
How Word Count Effects Pageviews and Social Interactions
Here's the average of page views versus unique pageviews based on word count.
From this data, we can see that if a blog post hit this sweet spot of 601-800 words, both our pageviews and uniques outperform the rest. Confirming the current trend that longer posts achieve higher results.
How Sentence Length Effects Pageviews and Social Interactions
Sentence length is important because you don't want to have run-on sentences - they're not fun to read. A great sentence is short, clearly identifies and supports the topic, and is embedded with the writer's tone of voice.
Unlike word count, our data shows that by having more sentences is definitely better. With regards to average (unique) pageviews, blog posts that have 60 or more sentences positively impacts readership.
The Effect of Word Count on Social Media
To combat the tl;dr (too-long-didn't-read) syndrome, a great title in itself encourages social media interactions.
Word Count and Facebook Interactions
From what we can see from our data, Facebook users prefer to:
- Reshare articles that have 201-400 words, or articles with more than 800 words
- Like articles that had around 200 words
- Comment on posts that are more than 600 words
Word Count and Twitter Interactions
Twitter is our main avenue for social media channel of choice and we saw that our audiences prefer to retweet blog posts that had 400 to 800+ words.
We also noticed an increase in people favouriting our tweets when a 400-word article was published.
Word Count and LinkedIn Interactions
As Twitter is where most of our audience resides, our LinkedIn audience and engagement data is lacking and shows very little interactions.
But from the data we do have, posts between 600 - 800 words tend to receive the most likes.
The Effect of Title Length On Page Views and Social Interactions
Title length and average page views and unique page views
We surprisingly found that titles between 5-12 words will perform better for both unique and average page views.
Since this is very general, we wanted to look into the characteristics of our titles and find out what exactly contributed to its clickability.
Our title breakdown
- The "How To" Title: Generates on average 77% more page views than those that don't.
- Numbered Titles: definitely outperform those without numbers by 79%.
- Include Superlatives. You are helping the reader feel like they are personally being addressed.
- Avoid asking a question within your title. Your reader wants to trust the information you are giving them. Questions might be read as a query instead of a statement about your topic
- Use pronouns in your title. Second-person pronouns had the highest average page views, but after running secondary statistical tests we found that this might not be true.
- First Person pronouns impacted social interactions by 40%
- Second Person impacted social interactions by 59%
- Third Person impacted social interactions by 48%
Average Pageview and Unique Pageview Performance Based on Number of Keywords
As Google's algorithm continues to challenge how we should be writing our titles and crafting content, overloading your title with keywords might actually hurt the chances of your blog post will be read. It might look spammy.
Contrary to this, our data tells us that including more keywords within our title, our results should be more page views.
From this, we think that having a title that balances both a human tone and keywords, is what we should be aiming for.
Title Length and Facebook Interactions
We gauged how the length of your title performs when someone shares your content on Facebook and we've found a sweet spot!
In this case, the shortest title doesn't necessarily mean more engagement. Instead, titles within 13-16 words performed better in the instance of likes and comments, but not reshares.
If we choose to pivot our strategy to focus on reshares, we'd aim to have a title within 5-8 words.
Title Length and Twitter Interactions
If we were aiming for more favourites and retweets, like Facebook, the same amount of words within your title is recommended for Twitter.
Interestingly, with the increased amount of commenting we saw with titles more than 16 words long, we can now assume (as one of the contributing factors) that the reason is because readers would get more context about that article.
Title Length and LinkedIn Interactions
As previously mentioned, our LinkedIn sample size is pretty small.
A great goal to have after looking at this data would be to boost engagement through our shared articles by testing out how titles within 10-16 characters will actually continue to perform on LinkedIn.
If this small amount of data is true, we should see an increase in likes, but should continue to test for reshares and comments.
The Effects Of Our Top Keywords On Page Views
Every company with a website should have a list of keywords that helps Google identify which category/ industry they should be labelled under, and which businesses they should show up in search with.
We've discovered that our top 5 keywords that garner the most page views are:
As we continue to mature as a company, these keywords might need to change.
Social Media Interactions and Responses to Shares
By examining the 3 social media networks where our blog posts are continuously shared, we were able to solidify best practices for sharing our blog posts on social.
The table below shows that if a post gets more:
- Reshares it will be shared more
- Likes it will be shared 3 times or over 5 times
- Comments it will be shared around 3 times
Essentially, the more you publish and share, the more your numbers all-around should increase.
We were able to be more precise with the feedback we received from diving into our Twitter's engagement data. We determined that a post will get more:
- Retweets if it is tweeted more
- Favourites if it is tweeted around 9-15 times
- Comments if it is tweeted around 5-16 times
Since we have less follower numbers aren't as hight as Twitter or Facebook, this data might not be accurate. It does however, provide insight into how we could increase our engagement on LinkedIn through sharing posts.
With the social interactions we do have on LinkedIn, the data were able to obtain showed that a post will get more likes if it is shared at least 5 times overall.
It's always important to remind ourselves that our findings don't necessarily give us the exact rules of when to write and share a blog post. Our studies and resulting correlations don't prove that 100% of x will get you to the front page of Google search.
But by doing this kind of analysis, we had access to information that has helped us determine the direction of what could be contributing to our content success.
There are other data and human factors that have contributed to our blog's success. Knowing that, I really wanted to publish a post that showed you the importance of a data-backed content marketing strategy.
With a strong brand, and a data-backed plan you are amplifying your impact in organic traffic, search rank, links, and social shares.
If you'd like to find out how your blog performs, sign up here to get your very own blog health report.
This analysis was brought to you by the Atomic Reach platform. If you'd like to see how you can extract key insights about your blog and social media networks, request a demo here.