Is There A Correlation Between Inbound Links And Social Shares?


The world of business marketing can be incredibly complex and confusing. And finding correlations between certain marketing efforts and the subsequent changes in business can be difficult to determine if you are not a specialist in the field of statistics, data analysis, and/or marketing. However, one of the best things that you can do is take note of the professionals in these fields that provide insight into these correlations to help you out.

One of the latest factors currently being studied is whether or not there is a strong correlation between ‘social sharing’ and ‘inbound links.’ This is an important issue for social media marketing as well as more general online marketing for businesses large and small alike.

Understanding Shares And Inbound Links

Many businesses seek both shares and inbound links for their online content. Some might argue that the majority of businesses believe shares and inbound links are one and the same. The truth of the matter is that there are slight differences. Shares occur when people see a post on their social media feed, whether it be a link to an article or blog, a video, image, meme, or a basic post, and they simply click the “share” or “retweet” button to post the content on their own page.

Inbound links, on the other hand, involve copying and pasting a link to certain content onto a social media page, in an email, or through text or other messaging services. The link must then be clicked on to access the content being sent.

The question, therefore, focuses on whether or not the prevalence of shares and inbound links are correlated in any way. If a piece of content is being shared widely, is there an equivalent number of inbound links (and vice versa)? Is this a positive or negative correlation? Why do people share the content? And does this reasoning matter?

What The Data Shows

Sharing Is More Common Than Inbound Links

One of the things the data reveals regarding inbound links and social shares is that social sharing is a great deal more prevalent than inbound linking. This is largely due to the fact that social media has become such an integral part of daily life for most people. It is far quicker to click ‘share’ on a post, image, or video than it is to copy and paste a link to add an external platform. This ease-of-use tips the scales in favor of social sharing.

Certain Types of Content Get Very Few Inbound Links

Furthermore, certain types of content naturally garner more attention than others. For example, people love to share entertainment stories, quizzes, and fun or playful news from the likes of Buzzfeed will almost never use an inbound link for that content. The reasoning behind this may be that quizzes encourage sharing, offering options to share the quiz results at the end of the process to many social media platforms. The fun and entertainment value of such stories and quizzes lend themselves more to the overall tone and idea of social media than the more serious nature of sending links.

Business to Business Content Results Depend On Content Type

Business-to-business content (aka B2B content) has the best chance of being shared and linked if it has evergreen appeal (meaning it stays relevant for extended periods of time). Content with short-lived relevance to business and business practices may go viral in the short-term, but it rarely amasses shares and links over time.

The Positive Correlation Between Inbound Links And Social Shares

Overall, there is a generally positive correlation between the practice of social sharing of content and inbound links. However, the degree to which that correlation is realized is largely dependent on the content type and the value that content has to the user. While social shares will likely continue to dominate the proliferation of online content, the usefulness and benefits of inbound links are still many and should not be overlooked in data analysis and marketing practices.

This information can act as a guide as you attempt to analyze your own business’s marketing practices. Ultimately, the results will help you to determine which type of content you should continue to generate and share online.


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