10x content is vital to search performance in the new landscape of content marketing and natural link profiles. It is defined as “content that is 10 times better than the best result that can currently be found in the search results for a given keyword phrase or topic.” This means that is requires the most effort to create, offers a new perspective on an existing topic, or provides insight into a new or emerging industry.
10x content is difficult to produce, which is why it is valuable as the concept of SEO shifts. It focuses more on the idea of earned links rather than link building, with user experience at the heart of it. Google, and other search engines, have become remarkable at recognising content that is vital and engaging, using a whole range of metrics to assess the level of effort and work put into its creation. Content that is churned out in high volume isn’t going to see the same level of engagement, which includes social shares, linking, and time on site (TOS), which in turn gives Google a good idea about its level of quality.
How to create 10x content
The emergence of content marketing has raised the bar for modern SEO content, and it will continue to do so as 2015 becomes 2016, and beyond. User expectations have ballooned and it is important for Google to place the most relevant and authoritative sites on the first page of search results. This means that the content on those sites needs to be more than simply “keyword rich.” The increased expectations for the product means an increase in the work required to produce it. Something that can be typed out in an hour isn’t going to be 10x content. 10x content has a complete process of research behind it, one that includes:
Competitor analysis – To be able to create content that is 10x better than the existing, you need to understand what is out there. Read everything you can find on the topic and use a tool such as BuzzSumo to discover what is trending and getting the most shares. This will help inform your direction and establish what people want to know.
Identify your unique value – Establish what you can bring to the information that doesn’t already exist. Your competitor research will define the baseline; your unique value will elevate it above the standard content into 10x territory.
Recognise the time investment – Your readers are required to use their time, an increasingly rare commodity, so your focus needs to be on their experience, not the search engine’s. Any hints of overt keyword optimisation will diminish your credibility as a legitimate source and certainly won’t convince the reader or a search engine that your content is the best around.
Optimise for mobile and social consumption – Ensuring your content can be easily consumed on mobile devices is essential for visibility. With more users browsing on mobile devices than desktops, ensuring that your site enables easy reading is vital. Simple sharing functionality is also important – If a user can’t easily share your content, they won’t. It’s as simple as that.
Use your in-depth industry knowledge to educate your readers
Great content isn’t simply a selling tool, not in the traditional sense anyway. The usability of your content is where its value lies. This means giving your readers something they can use beyond your brand and products, and while this may seem counter intuitive, it is important in establishing your website as an authority.
It makes more sense if you think of it in terms of retail customer service. The best experiences are where a salesperson is invested in giving you genuine, honest advice and information to make an informed decision. This builds a brand’s image as knowledgeable and customer-centric, invested in treating customers well and understanding that building a reputation is as important as high sales figures.
The same is true for content marketing. By providing high-quality information to users without strings attached, your investment in effort will be rewarded through sharing, linking and TOS statistics, all of which Google considers vital to providing its users with the best possible experience. This long-term approach is where the future of SEO lies.