Everyone says to create better content than your competitors. And it is sound advice. Great content can lead to more backlinks, higher Google rankings, more social shares, and audience growth. But what does better even mean? It’s a subjective word. And in the digital marketing world, better content has just become a cliché.
Now while there’s no way to objectively measure content quality. There are four things you can look at to assess your competitors’ content with a clear lens. And in this article, we’ll talk about these four attributes that make content great, and go through some examples of good and bad pages to really drill in on the creative aspects of creating content that’s better than your competitors.
So first, let’s talk about the word better. The word implies that a comparison needs to be made. For example, apples are better than bananas. Michael Jordan was better than LeBron James. But these are just opinions that really hold no weight. And you can see the same thing. When people create content, they look at their competitors’ content, and decide whether it’s good or bad, based on personal opinion.
So to solve this, we need to create some kind of framework that will allow us to compare content more objectively, something that allows us to judge pages in a similar way and remove personal biases.
Not only will this help us create better content, but also achieve a desired outcome. For example, if you’re sending emails to ask for backlinks or social shares, you need to justify why someone should share or link to your page, saying that your page is just better, isn’t going to cut, you need to explain how your page objectively Trump’s your competitors, and why they should care.
Content Quality Criteria
Four criteria we’ll be using to assess content quality. The first category is;
Clarity is about getting your points through in a clear and succinct way. And in my opinion, this is one of the most underrated attributes that makes content great and encompasses the format of your content, readability, and your ability to explain sometimes complex concepts and easy to digest weights.
The next category is content depth. While you want to create content that’s clear and concise, you want to make sure that you go deep into your topic. And by deep, I’m referring to answering the questions a visitor might have. For example, if you were to create a post on how to get your driver’s license, you could simply say register online for a driving test and pass.
But people will probably want to know things like age requirements, the types of different licenses, the differences between them, how to apply for that, what to expect when you get to the driving center, documents you’ll have to bring, and so on and so forth. Now while it’s important to create deep content, I wouldn’t recommend going so deep that it compromises clarity. After all, if people don’t understand what you’re talking about, or if you’re just rambling on about things that only 1% of your audience might care about, then it’s better to exclude them.
Alright, the next category is usefulness. Useful content is when you solve the user’s reason for visiting your page. And the best way to understand what visitors want is to look at the top three to five pages in Google for your topic, and follow suit. For example, the query best garden hose clearly shows that people want to see a list of garden hoses. So in order to make it useful, your aim should be to help visitors make an informed purchasing decision. Now just because you create a list, it doesn’t mean it’s useful. The actual content itself is what will make it truly useful or useless. This is where your expertise and creativity really need to shine.
Finally is the presentation of the content. Now people say not to judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to websites, we immediately make assumptions based on first impressions. Too many ads, probably spamming wall of text, probably boring, typical affiliate table with stock photos, probably not trustworthy. This is why it’s important to present your content in a way that’s visually appealing, and user friendly.
Content Presentation Tips
A few basic presentation tips will be to add a table of contents, ensure your fonts are readable, use swimmable headlines and use media that enhances your content, like screenshots, custom illustrations and videos.
Now one commonality between all of these categories is that they’re centered on user experience rather than benefiting one’s bottom line. And while there’s nothing wrong with mentioning your products, if you want to create content that’s better than your competitors, then you’re going to have to keep the user’s best interest at the forefront of your content creation efforts. Alright, so at this point, we know what we’re looking for when we look at a competitor’s page. Now we can use that criteria to judge competing pages in brainstorm ideas and angles to create content. That’s better.
The more things you can do to enhance user experience, the higher your chances of creating something that’s significantly better. Now because this will vary case by case, let’s go through some examples of top ranking content, and talk about how we might create a competing page. The first example is for a typical affiliate best stuff post. This post currently ranks in position two for the quarry best golf clothes. And according to the Site Explorer, the page gets an estimated 1400 monthly search visits based on my overall feelings, it looks like a typical affiliate site that’s just churning out content.
On top of that, they’re using personas with stock photos, which to me kills any kind of credibility. But that’s why we have the criteria to eliminate personal biases. So personas aside, let’s look into the strengths and weaknesses of this post. The first thing I noticed is that the post is completely about conversion. Rather than user experience. It’s nice that they provide a quick summary for people who don’t want to actually read the post, and immediately try to earn their trust with the effort that was put into it.
But then they try to sell you again on the same lows, scroll down further. You’ll see affiliate links to all the gloves in their post, then the meat of their content includes a stock photo of the glove. which shows that they didn’t actually purchase and test them as they suggested. Then there’s a few bullet points which were taken and reworded from Amazon’s product pages. So in terms of our four categories, clarity is fine.
Content depth is lacking, usefulness is weak in the presentation looks haphazard. Now again, in order to create great content. you need to put yourself in the driver’s seat, just like with any clothing, or sporting equipment, fit and feel our personal. So what I want to see are sections on what a well fitted Glove should feel like. How sizes are different from brand to brand, and a comparison of what these gloves actually look like on someone’s hand.
Also, if they’re claiming they’ve spent 57 hours reviewing golf gloves. I’d at least want to see them back that up with real world testing. And that leads to another content enhancement include a video that shows how they tested these golf clubs. This proves that they’ve actually held and tested the products. Which builds trust with the user and also helps them come to a more informed decision without having to visit a store. Not only that, but creating a video on a popular topic like this would help you attract new audiences from YouTube and Google Video search. To help you visualize what a good post would look like.
This page from bodybuilding.com has well over 300 referring domains and ranks for over 5500 keywords. Now if you look at the actual content itself, it’s underwhelming to say the least they have a short intro which is good. But then the recipes have boring names, boring stock photos, and the recipe itself isn’t even on that page. Depth, usefulness and presentation are all severely lacking.
Learn From Case Studies
Now if you put yourself in the shoes of someone who wants to learn about protein shake recipes. There’s a clear desire that they want to make a smoothie. But if you think about why they want to consume protein shakes. Then you’ll quickly realize that writing a great post on best protein shakes isn’t all that easy. For example, someone who wants to build mass might use a different type of protein than someone who wants to slim down.
Some people will care more about taste, while others would care more about accomplishing their health and fitness goals. So a few things I do to create content that’s better than this page will be to take great photos of the shakes. Talk about the different types of protein and who each one is for and also include a section on the types of ingredients. You should use to achieve your unique goals. And because this topic is about health and fitness I’d also include.
A Nutrition Facts table that shows things like calories;
the number of grams of protein, sugar, and so on for each recipe. And if the list of recipes was super long. I’d even consider creating a filterable list so visitors can see the shakes that will actually help them get the results they want. This page from fit foodie finds does a decent job of this, they understand that some people just want to cut to the chase and see the recipes. So they include a junk recipe button at the top of the page. Something all recipe pages should do.
The images make me want to actually make the shakes because they look delicious. Scrolling down further, they talk about the types of protein and they even provide groups of ingredients where they outline the grams of protein for each type. Now the fact that there are hundreds of websites linking to bodybuilding.com page. This to me looks like an opportunity to create significantly better content and do outreach to get backlinks. More commonly known as the skyscraper technique. We have a full video on how to use this link building tactic. So I’ll link that up in the description. Alright, the final example is for the query how to make money online.
Competition Analysis Execution
According to the Site Explorer, the top ranking page for this query gets around 120,000 monthly search visits and continues to get a steady stream of backlinks to the page. Now let’s take a look at the content. This is a typical listicle posts within this 28 ways to earn money online. They’ve done a good job with the intro, and its very skim able with headings and images. Now while it looks like it might be tough to significantly outdo this page, based on the four categories we discussed, this is where putting yourself in the driver’s seat will help you come up with new and better angles.
Let me explain the topic of how to make money online has historically been somewhat of a slimy topic. Now it’s not because of the topic itself. Because making money online is fine and completely legit. But it’s the way a lot of food crews have preyed on people’s desire for wealth. And since money can be an emotional topic, they’re able to sell people, these get rich quick schemes, even worse, and people are buying them. Now this tells me two things.
Number one, a visitor is likely skeptical before they even land on your page. So it’s critical that you do everything you can to legitimately build trust with your readers, and our viewers. And number two, someone who’s consuming content on this topic probably has no clue where to begin. Otherwise, they went to search for how to start an Amazon FBA business, how to sell SEO consulting services, or whatever.
If you’ve ever tried to start and grow an e commerce business, it’s not as easy as people make it seem, they spend some time explaining the potential of a drop shipping business. And they finish off this point with a link to their free course, which should help you get started. This is pretty good, in my opinion, since the course should help you actually put this into action. But this is the only additional resource that I think would be actionable to a visitor, pretty much all of their other points.
Just talk about stats rather than guiding visitors to a resource to actually get started. I mean, point five is to become an influencer? Do you really think that someone will read this and be like, That’s it, I’m going to become an influencer, then somehow start making tons of money through sponsorships. And as the list goes on, it becomes less and less actionable and relevant.
For example, point 26 is to get a part time job, which has nothing to do with making money online. So here’s what I think a better piece of content would look like. Yes, it would be important to create a listicle post, because that’s what users want to see. But instead of talking about tons of ways to make money online, I focus on just the methods that I’ve actually had some kind of success with.
For example, in 2014, I became a platinum power seller on eBay by selling all sorts of consumer electronics. And in nine months, I did over $300,000 in sales with a budget of $20,000. So one of my points might be to buy products by the pallet and sell them on eBay. I could briefly share about my experience, the basic steps that I took to get there and then linked to a full case study on how to do it, trust in guidance or both there.
Then I talked about e commerce stores, affiliate blogs, AdSense sites, being a freelancer running a marketing agency, etc. And I show proof of my results, good or bad, and link to detailed case studies that people can read and or watch and it wouldn’t have to stop here for new and interesting online money making methods. I try them out for three to 12 months and then just update
My content with new case studies whether I was successful or not. This in my eyes brings honesty and transparency to a traditionally slimy topic, which helps build trust and authority. And the fact that no one else has done or is willing to put this much effort into it tells me that there’s an opportunity here.
Now, creating the best content you can, is about the single greatest advantage. You can give yourself in competitive niches, especially if you’re a small creator. Because when you do, you’re not afraid to promote it, because you actually have something unique to offer.
So sending an outreach pitch for a link actually becomes kind of fun. Pitching it to social influencers, who you might even look up to is exciting. Because if you have truly delivered on the content side. You’ll start a conversation with someone who might have valuable feedback, and may be happy to amplify your work. So don’t settle for status quo because you can go and create content that’s better than your competitors. And be proud to share it with others in your industry. Now, if you enjoyed this video, make sure to Like share, and subscribe for more actionable SEO and marketing tutorials. And I’d love to hear from you if you agreed or disagreed with anything I’ve shared.