Why do some pieces of “10X” content make the leap while others languish in obscurity? Let’s find out.

This comes straight from the conference presentation by Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz.

For 2.5 years, he maintained a list of remarkable content across the web. What he considered “10X pieces of content”. He ended with 99 of them.

Then he analyzed all of them. Links, shares, ranking keywords, ranking position, etc.

On average, each of these 10X pieces has 900 links, 3k ranking keywords, and 80k Facebook shares.

So what separates these 10X pieces that perform vs. those that don’t?

Here are eight big learnings from his analysis.

1. Keyword research and targeting.

If you optimize the title and content for popular keywords, you’ll get way more search traffic.

2. Optimize for SERP (search engine result pages) click-through rates.

If you structure content in a certain way, like using tables instead of images of tables, that works much better in SERPs and can even get you a featured snippet on Google. You can get that snippet at the top of the page even if your page is no the top-ranked search result.

serp snippet

3. Domain/URL segmentation.

Regarding SEO, blog.website.com performs much worse than website.com/blog. Moving to a subfolder helps the blog, and also the whole domain which now benefits from the blog’s SEO juice.

4. Don’t build on someone else’s platform.

Don’t put incredible content on Medium and not your own website. It’s fine to put good content on Medium and your site but don’t only put it on Medium. One tip is to publish on your site and use Medium’s import tool. Medium will even give your post a rel=”canonical” link, which is very nice of them. “Use 3rd party platforms for distribution, not the primary home.”

5. Accessibility.

Your site content should have shareable internal links and be easy to crawl. Otherwise, Google won’t be able to find your content — and your ability to rank for keywords will suffer.

6. Delightful but not useful.

It’s hard to justify investments that don’t provide ongoing value… unless you’re an ad agency 😄

Users will link to things that are useful, but not as much to things that are fun but not useful. That means your content won’t rank highly for keywords. Make sure your content is useful.

7. Ignoring searchers’ intent.

If someone does a search to learn something and your page tries to get them to buy something, they will bounce quickly, and Google will learn from that and lower your search ranking.

8. Creates no incentive to link.

Rand gave the example of a tool that lets visitors compare data on two cities. The tool output was interesting but didn’t create an incentive to link to the content, so it had very few external links despite having thousands of upvotes on Reddit.

A few additional patterns and observations:

  • There’s subtle evidence that social visits are connected to Google’s rankings
  • In 10X content data > almost anything else
  • Interactivity is also powerful

Now you know everything 😆

It’s time to start creating an outstanding, interesting, linkable, interactive, delightful, and useful piece of 10X content.

The Paradox of Great Content


PS.
I’m working on one 10X piece myself. I’ll be sure to share it with you when it’s done. Stay tuned!