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Deep Relation Between Social Media Shares And Backlinks

Deep Relation Between Social Media Shares And Backlinks

Before I start the post do you think that there is a relation between social shares and backlinks?

To have an answer of this interesting question, Moz and BuzzSumo conducted a deep research. They found some interesting example of content shares and links. Their team researched and collected a lot of content samples and analyzed them. After the research they found:


1. Backlinks and shares don’t have an exact or equal ratio. Some post may get thousands of shares, whereas some of them may not have even a single share or link.

2. In a large sample of well shared 750,000 content posts, 50% of them had almost zero external links.

3. Often people don’t share and link the content for similar reasons. The relationship between links and shares highly depends on the content type and format.

4. In the total samples of around 1m post, they found no correlation between shares and links.

5. Some of the content type such as research post, opinion forming journalism was found to have a good correlation between shares and links.

6. In the total of 750,000 content samples, the correlation of shares and links was only 0.021.

7. Length of content greatly matters in sharing and linking. It was found that the content with less than 1000 words typically gets fewer shares as compared to content larger than 1000 words.

8. Content format such as videos, quizzes are hardly linked, but shared to a very high level compared to other content format.

The majority of posts on the Internet receives few numbers of links and shares

In the total sample of 757,000 content post, 100,000 posts were picked randomly. Surprisingly, in this random sample of 100,000 posts

“50% posts were only having 2 or less Facebook shares, 2 or less twitter shares, 1 or less Google+ shares and almost zero Linkedin interaction”

“75% of the posts was not having even a single external link“

The reason of sharing and linking the content differ for all the people

Not all the people share and link the content for the same reason. The team of Moz and Buzzsumo used the Pearson’s correlation coefficient to measure the overall correlation between shares and links. In their calculation, they found the correlation as:

• Total shares and referring domain links: 0.021
• Total shares and sub domain links: 0.020
• Total shares and External links: 0.011

They also researched on different social network to find “Is there any strong correlation for any particular social network?”. But, there was nothing like that. The overall interaction of all major social networks was as follows

• Facebook: 0.0220
• Google+: 0.0058
• LinkedIn: 0.0216
• Pinterest: 0.0065
• Twitter:0.0281

Content with positive correlation of shares and links

It was found that the content posted on popular sites comparatively get higher number of shares and links. Even though, the content is shared and linked for different reasons, still there is content that gets a good number of shares as well as links. This type of content include major publishers, news websites, research post and opinion forming journalism.
How content format is related to shares and links

In the total samples of 757,317 posts, they categorized the content depending on their formats and analyzed the shares and links. The report was as follows,

Content FormatTotal postAverage sharesAverage linksCorrelation of total shares and referring domain links
List Post99,93510,7346.190.092
How To Post99,9371,7824.410.025
Why Post99,8761,4435.660.125

The above table is clearly depicting that

• The average number of shares and links to list post and videos is very high compared to other type of content.
• Infographic relatively had less number of shares and links
• Quizzes had a very low average of referring links.
• In the overall correlation of total shares and referring domain links, the “why posts” has outperformed.

Content that people love to share, but are less likely to be linked

Entertaining videos, quizzes can easily acquire a high number of shares, but are very far away from being linked. Here are some example that got an extensive number of shares, but are linked only one or zero times.


ContentTotal SharesExternal LinksReferring domain links
Vine video https://vine.co/v/O0VvMWL5F2d347,82300
Vine video https://vine.co/v/O071IWJYEUi253,04101
Disney Dog Quiz http://goo.gl/O3ILcg259,00001
Brainfall Quiz http://goo.gl/ZG5stp282,05800

Longer content has relatively good chances of being shared and linked

After removing the videos and Quizzes, the remaining text content (489,128) samples were categorized based on their length.

Content lengthTotal postsPercentAverage SharesAverage Reffering domain links

According to the above table
• The majority of content posts (85%) were less than 1000 words.
• It can be said that the content with more than 1000 words has performed better in terms of both shares and links.

Bottom Line
Based on the above report, it is clear that a particular type of content can’t help you to get a higher number of shares and links. But, if the above factors such as content type, content length, site popularity, etc are combined together, then it is possible to have better results.

This has been just a little summary of their research. If you want to read the full research report, you can download it from here.