The Anatomy of Top Performing Articles: Successful vs. Invisible Content [Semrush Study] - Deepstash

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The Anatomy of Top Performing Articles: Successful vs. Invisible Content [Semrush Study]

semrush.com

Key Findings of the Research

  • Longreads (7,000+ word articles) lead in terms of content performance — they drive almost 4X more traffic than articles of avg length (900-1,200 words).
  • > 1/2 of the posts with a complex structure (h2+h3+h4) are high-performing in terms of traffic & engagement. 44% of posts with a si...

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Key Findings (contd.)

  • Posts containing at least 1 list per 500 words of plain text get 70% more traffic than those without.
  • 10-13 word headlines drive 2X as much traffic & X1.5 more shares than shorter ones (< 7 words).
  • Posts with at least 1 image get 2X as much traffic as posts containing text on...

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Content Length

  • 7k+ word articles drive almost 4X more traffic & 43% more shares than articles of average length (0.9-1.2k words). Short posts (300-900 words) gain 21% less traffic & 75% less backlinks than articles of average length (0.9-1.2k words).
  • < 1/2 of articles of 300-900 words are shared, >...

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Headline Type

  • Lists get 80% more traffic than other types of articles.

Such headlines stand out in a stream of content as they usually contain numbers. The subject is placed within a category or classification system. The information looks trustworthy and well organized.

Listicles are cl...

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Headline Length

  • 10-13 word headlines drive 2X as much traffic & X1.5 more shares than shorter ones (< 7 words).
  • >1/2 of the posts with a complex structure (h2+h3+h4) are high-performing in terms of traffic & engagement. 44% of posts with a simple structure (h2+h3) are also high-performing. 39% of te...

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Analyzing Heading Depths

Three-level text structure (H2, H3, & H4) is enough to break down any article (even longer ones) into meaningful pieces, & improve readability & visual appeal. 

This approach is recommended by Google, which advises against condensing large blocks of text on a page without proper schema. Hea...

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The Use of Lists

  • Posts containing at least 1 list per 500 words of plain text get 70% more traffic than those without.

Neuroscientist W. Kintsch found that people process information in a list format more easily than in bulk pieces of text & data. Lists are compatible with short attention spans o...

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The Use of Images

  • Posts with at least 1 image get 2X as much traffic as posts containing text only. These also get 30% more shares & 25% more backlinks.

Images help you to enhance and clarify your messaging, make your content more memorable, and keep short attention spans interested. Importantly, ...

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The Use of Videos

  • Posts that don’t contain a video get 92% less traffic & 24% less shares than posts with at least 1 video.

Video is perfect for cross-channel distribution, allowing you to share it across platforms. You can use it to address different user needs. Video can be used for converting l...

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