Recently, a few of our geeks attended Pubcon, a search engine marketing conference in Las Vegas. This was a great opportunity for us to meet influencers in our industry, network, and learn how to better ourselves as a company. One of the biggest take-aways that came from Pubcon was the idea of 10x content. Rand Fishkin, founder of MOZ, has mentioned this in previous MOZ blogs. During both his and SEER Interactive founder Wil Reynold’s keynotes, each spoke about the importance of determining what your target audience is looking for and then over delivering.
What is 10x Content?
Make people feel like your product will let them do rad shit. - Wil Reynolds, Pubcon 2015
One of the biggest driving factors of our industry is producing content that pleases search engines, like Google, and allows websites to rank higher for desired keywords. Because of this, it’s very easy to only think about the search engine's needs when writing content and being less user driven. This is where 10x content comes in.
With 10x content, you are creating something that answers the user’s initial question while simultaneously giving them something to feel good about. The common example given during both keynotes was that of The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Grilled Steak on SeriousEats.com. With this recipe, not only does it teach you the methods for making this particular steak but it also gives you other potential information about steak that you might not have known would be helpful. From clarification on the difference between cuts, how to buy a good steak, and the best way to cook and serve the steak, the content on the page gives the reader all the information on steak they could ever need. This answers the user's initial search result (a good steak recipe) while simultaneously delivering them more useful information on the topic that they didn’t necessarily know they wanted to know.
The goal is to help fulfill the searcher’s initial task, not their initial search. You want to give your users answers to questions they didn’t even know they had. Essentially, you are creating a one-stop-shop for your audience and filling gaps in their knowledge. Then, hopefully, after your user implements their new knowledge in their everyday life, they will have a sense of accomplishment due to their new knowledge. From this accomplishment, they will be more inclined to share your brand with others, reference it again later, and even link out to it.
Making Your Content Stand Out
A big part of creating great 10x content is giving the viewer something eye-catching to latch on to. Along the same lines of an infographic, content with useful graphic elements can keep users reading your content and coming back for more. This kind of engagement is a great signal to search engines that your content is delivering exactly what your audience is looking for, and in turn, should show up higher in search results because it is getting better engagement than other content about the same topic. Useful graphic elements can include: icons, pull quotes, high quality images, and small infographics that sum up details of your content. This kind of content will take longer to create but will have a greater outcome in the end.
Make Everything 10x
Don't ask how many visitors you had to your site today. Ask how many visitors you helped today. - Gary Illyes, Pubcon 2015
10x isn’t just a way of thinking when it comes to writing, it’s a way to think of anything you put in front of your audience. It’s about thinking ahead of your audience and figuring out the best way to help them. You want to give your audience something exciting to look at and read so that when they have other related question, your site is their first stop when they are looking for answers. When developing a piece of content, Wil suggests asking yourself, “If your content was removed from the web, would anyone miss it?” If you do this with everything you put out into the world, you will naturally help your customers and dominate your competition.