What makes an article stand out? There is no secret formula for creating highly engaging articles that will work for every blog or brand. However, repeated research has consistently demonstrated a strong correlation between certain content characteristics and a copy’s performance.

Having data at our disposal, an interest in research, and a desire to find the less obvious interconnections, we collected 700,000+ articles and analyzed them under different content metrics. We are excited to present the results of this study below, and we hope it will help you improve your content strategy for 2020.

The Key Findings

  1. Longreads of 3000+ words get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words).
  2. Shorter articles (300-900 words) have zero shares 4.5 times more often than long reads of 3000+ words.
  3. Articles with long headlines (14+ words) get 2x more traffic, 2x more shares, and 5x more backlinks than articles with short headlines (7-10 words).
  4. Articles with list headlines (those that start with a number like “N things…”, “N ways…”, etc.) get 2x more traffic and 2x more social shares than other types, followed by guides and “how-to” articles.
  5. 36% of articles with H2+H3 tags have higher performance in terms of traffic, shares, and backlinks.
  6. Articles with 5 lists per 500 words compared to articles with no lists get 4x more traffic and 2x more social shares.

An In-Depth Overview of Engaging Content: Findings

Let’s take a look at how these characteristics impact a copy’s performance in detail.

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