First it was, “You need to create lots and lots of content! The more the better!”
People flocked to their computers to crank out as many articles as they could, utilizing keyword stuffing and other tactics to trick Google along the way. As you can imagine that didn’t turn out so well.
Next was, “You need to create good, unique content.”
For a while now entrepreneurs, marketers, and small business owners have been following that trend. However, that’s not the case anymore. A new bar has been set.
Enter 10x Content
Coined by SEO and content marketing wizard Rand Fishkin, 10x content, in simplest terms, is content that is 10 times better than any other page on a given search result.
“Really, where I want folks to go is 10x. 10 times better than anything I can find in the search results today. If I don’t think I can do that, then I’m not going to try and rank for those keywords. I’m just not going to pursue it. I’m going to pursue content in areas where I believe I can create something 10 times better than the best result out there.”
For example, say you run a nutrition blog and you want to write a successful 10x piece of content about the “best superfoods.” Your post would need to be at least 10 times better than all of the search results produced for that keyword, as you can see in the example below.
Why do you need to create content that’s 10 times better than each of those results?
Each one of those results are your competition. It’s your content vs. theirs, in terms of where searchers click.
So on your nutrition blog, say you want to rank for a commonly searched and competitive, longtail keyword like “best superfoods,” in hopes of attracting visitors and then converting them once they land on your website. In order to do that, your content needs to stand out as one of the top search results. Period.
A 2014 study by Advanced Web Ranking confirmed the importance of ranking in the top search rankings of Google, finding that 67% of clicks go to the top five results.
So making sure your web pages have high search rankings is undoubtedly the most important factor.
But how do you make your content stand out to both Google and visitors?
That’s where 10x content comes into play.
Before we get into this next part, let’s do a quick recap:
10x Content → Higher Search Rankings → More Clicks to your Website
In addition to the SEO (and conversion) benefits of utilizing 10x content, there are a few more amazing reasons to create 10x content:
- Provides Real Value to the Reader: The number one goal for your content is to provide an insane amount of value to your readers — that’s the most important thing here. Your readers will thank you in droves, it’ll increase brand loyalty, and your piece of content will attract new visitors by way of its usefulness (more on this later).
- Creates a Competitive Advantage: According to Rand Fishkin, you want your piece of 10x content to be so amazing that when competitors see it, they’ll say, “Hey, there’s no way that we can scale content quality like this. It’s just too much effort. We can’t produce content at this level.” Creating 10x content will help you dominate search rankings and scare off competitors who don’t have the time, money, or resources to create a piece of content like yours. That’s a huge competitive advantage.
- Acts as a Great Place to Send Traffic: From email campaigns to pay-per-click ads, a 10x piece of content is an amazing place to send traffic. What better way to impress new contacts than a highly useful, extensive, and impressive resource like a 10x piece of content. An added bonus: they are great places to capture new leads or offer upsells to existing leads using carefully placed pop-up forms.
What Does 10x Content Look Like?
Luckily Rand Fishkin provides criteria for what constitutes 10x content. While not all pieces of content will follow this criteria, these points serve as a basic guideline when thinking about/creating 10x content.
- Provides a uniquely positive user experience through the user interface, visuals, layout, fonts, patterns, etc.
- Delivers content that is some substantive combination of high-quality, trustworthy, useful, interesting, and remarkable.
- Is considerably different in scope and detail from other works on similar topics.
- Loads quickly and is usable on any device or browser.
- Creates an emotional response of awe, surprise, joy, anticipation, and/or admiration.
- Has achieved an impressive quantity of amplification (through shares on social networks and/or links).
- Solves a problem or answers a question by providing comprehensive, accurate, exceptional information or resources.
Some Amazing Examples of 10x Content:
- What Is Code?
- Acquiring Customers with Email
- Elon Musk: The World’s Raddest Man
- Startups, This Is How Design Works
- How a Car Works
- The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- Which Phone
- How Search Works
- A Beginner’s Guide to Website Speed Optimization
- We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned
- 9 Basic Principles of Responsive Web Design
- This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop
- What is 10x Content and Why Does it Matter?
That last one is an example of 10x content written about 10x content — content inception! Is your heading spinning yet?
As you can see, the possibilities are endless when creating 10x content — your content doesn’t have to be a 15,000 word blog post to be 10x content. It just needs to be 10 times better than your top competitors’ content!
Creating Your Own 10x Content
Creating content on this kind of scale is obviously important to stand out in a highly competitive marketplace. Since the start of 2016, Ontraport has already released two 10x pieces of content: The Ultimate Blueprint to Building Your Business and The Ultimate Blueprint to Email Marketing.
We’ve seen fantastic results! While we’re still waiting on Google to fly up the search rankings (it usually takes a bit of time), we’ve seen a huge increase in social shares, inbound links, and leads. Our pages have also experienced great user engagement signals including time on page, bounce rates and scroll rates.
From something as complex as an interactive website to something as simple as a blog post, your 10x content isn’t limited to a certain medium. It just needs to be 10x better than everything else out there.
We’ve elected to use Ontraport Pages, our free Landing Page builder, to create our 10x content because of it’s easy to use, simple to create, and includes all the extra marketing tools we need to make the most out of our marketing dollars. The platform is mobile responsive, features in-depth analytics, and integrates with our Ontraport powered email lists, offers, forms, etc.
Here’s how we create 10x content using Ontraport Pages!
Step 1: Research
First things first. You need to pick a few keyword phrases for which you’d like to rank. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, KW Finder, SpyFu, and SEMrush to find keyword phrases relevant to your business. If we continue with the nutrition blog example from earlier, we could choose a popular keyword phrase such as “best superfoods” or “gluten-free recipes” and probably have great success.
Next you’ll want to enter your keyword phrase in both Google and Buzzsumo. Google provides the best content related to your search query, while Buzzsumo provides the most shared content related to your keyword phrase — it’s important to look at both.
Look at the results of your searches and scan over each piece of content that comes up within the first 10 search results (the first page). While scanning each piece of content, Rand Fishkin says it’s important to ask yourself a few questions. Here’s what he suggests:
- What questions are being asked and answered by these search results?
- What sort of user experience is provided? I look at this in terms of speed, mobile friendliness, rendering, layout and design quality, and what’s required from the user to be able to get the information? Is it all right there, or do I need to click? Am I having trouble finding things?
- What’s the detail and thoroughness of the information that’s actually provided? Is it lacking? Is it great?
- What about use of visuals? Visual content can often take best-in-class all the way up to 10x if it’s done right. So do they use visuals effectively?
- How’s the quality of the writing?
- Where are they pulling information and data from? What are their sources? What’s the quality of that stuff? What type of information is there? What type of information is missing?
He mentions that the phrase “what’s missing?” should be running through your head constantly while skimming through the content in the search results.
By answering those questions you can come to a variety of conclusions to see what’s working, what’s not, where there are gaps in knowledge, where the content can be improved, and how the user experience can be better.
Once you draw those conclusions, you’re ready to start writing.
Step 2: Create Content
Now that you have your keyword phrase and competitor research nailed down, you can start to create your content. However, because 10x content is usually much longer than a traditional blog post, it’s absolutely essential you create an extensive outline before writing your content. Otherwise you’ll find it can be insanely difficult to stay organized and on task.
We’re not going to go into the details of creating an effective outline, but it should look similar to this:
So after you’ve conducted research on your topic and completed your detailed outline, start writing.
It may sound difficult, but while you’re writing, be actively thinking of how you can make your content better. For example, would a bulleted checklist of high-quality links better serve the reader? Or maybe the other day you saw an amazing video on a related topic: include it! Utilizing visuals is an effective way to break up otherwise boring text and increase the user experience of your content. It’s important to always be thinking about how the content you include affects the reader experience.
Visuals to include:
- Ebook downloads
Note: You should only include these elements if they provide a better reader experience or serve to prove a point in your content.
Step 3: Design Your Page
As we mentioned earlier, we love using Ontraport Pages to build our 10x content because it’s so easy to design and edit web pages within the platform.
Here’s the process:
1. Decide how you want to design your Ontraport Page. If you find a template you like in our extensive template library, then use it! Or you can choose to start from scratch (as our designers do) and build your page block by block.
2. Pick your design elements (colors, fonts, and backgrounds) before you start designing. This is really easy to do in Ontraport Pages — we even have pre-loaded color palettes and font packs so you can get to work right away. However, in most cases you should make sure the design elements you pick align with your brand.
3. You’re ready to start designing! Now pick a block you want to use, copy and paste your content, design the block, and then move on to the next one. We like to use multiple blocks to break up the text, accommodate images and video, and increase the user experience. Avoid dumping all your text into one single block!
4. Once all your content is in designed blocks, you’re ready to publish your page!
Bonus Tip: Create an Ontraport Form and add it to your page! Ontraport Forms are simple to create, feature multiple pop-up options, and already exist in-app as templates. If your content provides visitors with significant value, most will happily fill out a form in exchange for more amazing content.
Moving Forward With 10x Content
As Google attempts to de-spam the Internet, the user experience has seen a prominent rise to power. Add in increasingly high user expectations and you can begin to see why it’s inevitable 10x content is here to stay. A lot of businesses are ignoring the 10x content movement and will ultimately regret not starting right away.
Decrease Quantity, Increase Quality
Create content that is different than anything else out there, and provide real value to your readers. Don’t try “hacking” or taking shortcuts around 10x content — it’s not going to work and you’ll likely be punished by Google for it. Besides, that’s not the purpose of creating this kind of content. 10x content is meant to provide readers with highly-valuable, useful content — so start there and you’ll see results.