Warning; what you’re about to read will challenge what you’ve long thought correct about content. Only continue reading if you’d like to see your work on the first page of the search results.
It’s become something of a certainty, hasn’t it? All you need to do is write content that’s of benefit to your reader, answer the questions they’re seeking answers to, and you’ve cracked it.
Content, or inbound marketing summed up simply by focusing on these two crucial points.
Only recently, I came across a revealing piece on Moz.com that threw all that out of the window.
And it’s got real relevance if you think that this simple formula will help your content rise above the pack.
The major problem with this thinking (and I came across a piece only the other day again trotting out the “relevant – quality – content” mantra yet again), is that it’s fundamentally flawed.
So what’s that flaw?
Basically, it’s not that difficult to come up with what we’d all call “quality content.” So, therefore, the bar is raised higher. “Quality” – that’s no longer good enough.
Moz’s Rand Fishkin has his own way of looking at it. If you can’t write something that’s 10 x better than anything else out there, then forget it.
It’s a horse that’s been well-flogged to a point where your efforts aren’t going to make the slightest bit of difference.
In a piece (now two years old), he pointed out this theory, and it’s well worth reading.
You need to go not just the extra mile, but to create content that’s 10 x better than anything else out there. Then you just might have a chance of achieving a decent search engine ranking for that term.
Depressing isn’t it? But isn’t it also, paradoxically, enlightening? If you really know your subject, shouldn’t you be able to put stuff out there that’s at least 10 x better than your competitors?
If not, perhaps you should be looking at alternative ways of promoting your business.
The point with good, unique content is, as Rand says:
almost everyone can get here. They really can. It’s not a high bar, a high barrier to entry to say you need good, unique content. In fact, it can scale.
You need to be certain your content is at least 10 times better than anything else out there. If not, then don’t waste your time. Focus on areas where you can be 10 x better. Anything less is pointless.
Why? He puts it down to four reasons:
- User experience plays a much bigger factor in ranking. If you’re not out there as a leader, people will pogo-stick back from your content.
- Earned links rather than built links became a much bigger factor. Who’s going to link to your stuff if it’s not better than others?
- Content marketing as an industry has blossomed to the point where there’s so much being posted, daily, if you’re not the go-to source, you’re nobody.
- User expectations have risen tremendously over the past few years. The speed of your site, looking great, answering queries almost straight away – it’s expected, no allowances allowed.
I’ll save the “how to create 10x content” for you to research yourselves (start by reading Moz’s more recent look at it here).
Suffice to say, try putting your aimed-for search terms into Google (and BuzzSumo) and see what comes up.
Do you think what you’ve got to say adds to the debate? Or does it simply re-hash what’s gone before? Is it likely to encourage readers to your site as an authority, or is it just as likely to be consigned to the lower rankings?
If you were a reader who’d never heard of you before, would what you’ve got to say brighten your day, or lead to a prompt click on the back button?
Good, quality content is dead. It’s everywhere. Which means only the standout, exceptional, 10 x content is worth posting, sharing, reading, and digesting.
If you’re not in this ballpark, you’re out of the game. So don’t bother trying to join in.
Tough love perhaps, but it could save you a lot of time and effort knowing where you really stand in the bigger picture before pitching in.