Content marketing and SEO are still some of the best strategies for promoting your business online, increasing visibility, and generating more organic traffic. But there’s a big problem: competition.
Even if your business exists in a relatively narrow niche, you probably have dozens of major competitors. Among those competitors are at least a few who dedicate extensive time and resources to content marketing and SEO. Dethroning these competitors from the top ranks of the search engine results pages (SERPs) is quite the undertaking.
There are a few options for solving this problem, of course. You could simply avoid the competition by choosing a different target demographic or appealing to a different niche. But if you want to tackle your competitors head-on, you’ll have to produce content that’s somehow superior to theirs. After all, Google’s top priority is providing people with the best possible content for their queries.
So how do you cover the same or similar topics in a superior way?
One option is to provide more valuable depth to your readers.
- Meaningful length. A longer post isn’t necessarily a better post, but there’s value in covering a topic in greater detail – and sometimes, this requires more length. Let’s say you’re writing a piece about nutrition and your top competitor has written 1,000 words about how carbohydrates function in the body. You can write a piece that’s 5,000 words long, covering far more ground, including scientific studies and details that your competitor has left out. There’s only one caveat here; you can’t shoot for a word count alone, as meaningless fluff is going to make your content worse.
- Subtopics and related topics. You can also create more powerful “pillar” pieces by including subtopics and related topics. In general, large comprehensive pieces perform better than smaller, more fragmented pieces (though this isn’t always the case). If you can provide more context and secondary details, your content will be perceived as more valuable.
- Actionable advice. Modern content marketing and SEO benefits from being actionable. People are seeking your expertise for a reason; they need your help to make a decision or take a certain course of action. If your content is more targeted toward directing that action, it’s going to perform better.
- Citations. To demonstrate more authority and credibility, it’s also important to include more citations to reputable sources in your industry. This is especially important if you’re making factual claims or referencing specific numbers.
Search Intent and User Value
Search intent is the motivation behind a specific search. In other words, why are users searching for this specific piece? Google’s ultimate goal is catering to search intent, so if you can make your content more valuable for appealing to this intent, your content is ultimately going to win out. The key to effectiveness here is understanding the search intent that people have when searching for keywords and phrases rather than to your work. What do people want and how can you give it to them?
Images and Video
While written content is still highly valuable these days, the content that includes multimedia like images and videos is superior. Again, this isn’t an excuse to add superficial fluff to your article, but you should consider adding meaningful photos, infographics, and short videos in the body of your work. Charts, graphs, and shareable infographics are especially valuable.
Conciseness is valuable in any form of communication, including SEO content development. If you can find a way to say it in fewer words, you probably should. This increases the information density of your piece, improves its readability, and makes it more likely to be cited by others.
On a similar note, you should make sure your piece is highly scannable. That means using clear formatting to organize your piece, writing in short sentences, and using breaks in design to promote skimming.
Original Research and Findings
You can make your piece more valuable by including more original research and findings. Including numerical statistics in your work will greatly multiply the chances of other authors citing your research as a source. This makes it much easier to naturally attract organic links, which are going to boost the authority and visibility of your work.
If all else fails, double down on promotion. If your piece is comparable in quality and value to a competitor’s piece, but you spend more time and effort actively promoting it, it’s going to get more visibility, more links, and eventually, higher rankings.
Featured image provided Mikael Blomkvist; Pexels; Thanks!