Ranking high in search results remains as vital an objective as ever in today's digital marketplace. A full 25% of all search engine users will click the first Google search result, and 75% won't look past the first page.
With that in mind, is there anything more frustrating than putting hard work and effort into a blog post or article, only to find that a search algorithm has ghosted you, and your latest piece is floating about somewhere on page 7?
It's not that your content is necessarily bad. On the contrary, it might be just as good as everything on Google's front page. It's just that, in today's oversaturated market, good enough often isn't good enough to get noticed anymore.
Today, as Steve Martin put it, you have to "be so good they can't ignore you."
And that's where the concept of 10x content can come into play and remedy your content marketing woes.
First coined by Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin, 10x content is the idea that marketers and content creators should aim to make their content 10 times better than anything else that appears in SERPs.
At first glance, the 10x content concept may sound both overly simplistic and ridiculously difficult. Yet not only is it a necessary mindset to have in today's market, but one that remains achievable if you have a process in place.
10x content comes in many shapes and forms, but it should meet each of the following criteria:
All good content solves a problem, and 10x content is no different. And while this won't lead to content that stands out by itself, it is a vital starting point.
10x content isn't just about making great content, but presenting it in a way that provides the best user experience. This entails everything from using a good web host to the fonts and visuals used to ensure quick web page loading times.
If an article, blog post, or other work is going to be considered 10 times better than everything else available online, the piece needs to be a combination of:
People remember emotions and stories better than they do facts and figures. And since users today are overloaded with content daily, they are liable to forget or ignore anything that doesn't evoke an emotional response. The response could be anything from surprise to joy or intrigue, but it must be authentic.
Generally speaking, most SERPs will feature several pages of similar-looking content, saying very similar things. But while big established brands can often get away with doing the same as everyone else, smaller brands will need to make themselves stand out to succeed. As a result, utilizing a unique angle or approach is crucial to creating 10x content.
No content can be considered better than much of anything if it doesn't back up any claims or ideas it presents without data and stats, either through quality links, references, or primary research.
Ultimately, the goal of 10x content is to outdo the competition on SERPS, and for that, it needs to be able to generate backlinks and shares naturally.
The content marketing climate has changed drastically over the years, as have the market's needs. And as a result, good or even great content is no longer enough to rank high in SERPs. There are several reasons why this is:
There was a time when a clunky user interface or lack of mobile optimization wasn't a huge hurdle for websites, so long as the actual content they contained was helpful or interesting. However, this is now nothing more than a distant memory.
Today, people will not put up with sites that aren't user-friendly. According to research, 40% of users will click off a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, and around three-quarters will not return to a site that isn't mobile-optimized.
Backlinks remain one of the critical components search engines consider when determining site rankings. But the criteria with which sites like Google judge these links have changed drastically over the last decade, with algorithms prioritizing the quality of links above quantity. As a result, practices such as buying or creating low-quality links are now mostly a thing of the past.
The problem this creates for less-established sites trying to earn a reputation online is that it's now more difficult to earn links through content alone because there's already so much other similar content available. After all, why would anyone link to just another article that is no different from hundreds of others? 10x content gives them a reason.
Content marketing has risen significantly over the last several decades as a cost-effective method of promoting products and services and raising brand awareness. And everyone from giant corporations to e-commerce sellers has taken to utilizing internet-based strategies to achieve their goals.
Unsurprisingly, this has increased competition between businesses vying to be heard and seen online. On the one hand, this competition has improved the quality of content online, but it's also resulted in information overload for users. As a result, only the most exceptional articles and blog posts are truly seen and remembered.
Now that we've identified what 10x content is and why it's necessary, let's look at how you can create it yourself with these five tips.
Before you write a single word of your latest case study or blog post, you must ensure your site is up to the task. That means ensuring it's mobile optimized, that the interface is user-friendly and that it loads fast.
There are many components to consider, from picking the right web host to using responsive images and compressing files. But the most important thing is to test your site regularly.
There are a plethora of tools that can help test everything from your site speed to mobile responsiveness. But don't forget to grab a smartphone and see for yourself how it looks and responds.
It only makes sense that if you want to outdo your competitors' content, you first need to know what that content looks like, which means running a competitive analysis.
The best place to start is simply by looking through the top SERPs for your keywords and topics. Of course, you'll want to take stock of what they're doing well and what techniques they're using effectively. But you'll also want to keep an eye for things you can do differently or better. Consider, for instance, how you could go more in-depth in answering the same question and what different approach you could take.
As mentioned before, uniqueness is the key to 10x content. And the best way to go about achieving this is to utilize a content tilt.
A content tilt is the thing that separates your content from everyone else's and helps you stand out. It could be anything from the unique voice of your copy, to the way you lay out your articles, to the platform or medium you choose to use.
Think back to what you noted during your competitive analyses and think about how you might approach your content from a different angle. For example, if everyone else is writing listicle tips, you might try writing a how-to guide.
You don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you make content, but any little thing you can do to stand out from the crowd will only aid your efforts.
There's a misconception online that internet users prefer short-form content. But in reality, this couldn't be further from the truth. According to research conducted by Backlinko, the average word count of an article on the first page of Google is 1,447 words.
Of course, this doesn't mean that consumers like big long articles for their own sake, and you should certainly never fluff up anything you put out there. But it shows that users and search engines appreciate long-form, comprehensive content. And this is where going the extra mile over your competitors can make your content shine.
Again, consider what your competitors aren't doing for your audience and go the extra step to ensure you are. Consider, for instance, if there are any extra resources or data you can provide them or whether there are any additional questions your competitors didn't answer or research that changes the picture.
Even if you're respected as an authority in your field, linking the latest and best research is essential to building trust in users. And nothing will raise suspicions in your audience more than a link that leads to a five-year-old outdated study.
In a perfect world, much of your research will be hot off the press or sourced internally. But ultimately, it's how you draw clear and convincing ideas and conclusions from research data that will make you a thought leader in the eyes of your audience—and Google.
Aiming for 10x content won't have your brand topping SERPs overnight, and not everything you write will be 10 times better than everything else just because you wish it so. It takes time to build an audience and reputation online, and it's unrealistic to think that everything you do will be a home run with users.
But if you keep the principles of 10x close to mind and work on constantly improving your brand's marketing, there's no reason you can't give more established brands a run for their money online.