The internet is a crowded space, and as content marketing continues to saturate the internet with more information, it will become increasingly difficult to create content that ranks. With that said, is there a way to cut through all the noise?If every brand in your niche is competing for page one, and the major players are churning out content at a dizzying rate to maintain rankings, do you even stand a chance? The simple answer is “yes” — but it’s a little more complicated than that. As you may have guessed, it takes lots of hard work and diligence to compete. And if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort to create meaningful content, then you’ll simply never catch up to the competition.So, assuming you are willing to give what it takes to create next-level content, what do you need to know? Well, it boils down to creating an effective content development strategythat focuses on quality over quantity. With that said, there are some key steps you should be aware of to make your content the best in its class.Here are the five steps to creating exceptional content to outrank your competitors:
What types of content are my competitors producing? In other words, what works for your competition? Are they producing videos, long-form guides, listicles, roundups, podcasts, or infographics? How often do they produce content? Are they producing new content on a weekly or monthly basis? Or are they touching up evergreen content every so often? What keywords are they ranking for? They may rank for more than one keyword with a given piece of content. Find these longtail opportunities to see all the organic opportunities for your content. The answers to these questions will give you a pretty good idea of what kind of content resonates with your audience. The easiest way to gather these kinds of insights is with tried and true SEO tools. Here are the three types of tools you need: Backlink checker: This will allow you to mine your competitors’ backlinks, and to see how many backlinks a given piece of content has earned. A great tool for this is Ahrefs , but there are other options as well, like MonitorBacklinks (a free tool) or Majestic . Keyword research: Keyword research is essential for you to determine what keywords to aim for. Without knowing search volumes and keyword difficulty, your content efforts will be a shot in the dark. The top tool for keyword research is SEMrush . Content research: Content research tools allow you to see what types of content are performing the best across major social media platforms. The best tool is Buzzsumo . Quick tip: One great place to start is by looking at a competitor map on SEMrush. This will present your organic competition in an easy-to-read graph that highlights their strengths and weaknesses.Now that we’ve discussed how to measure up your competition, the next step is discuss how to outperform them.Related: What Does Google Know About You? Find relevant content with lots of links Improve upon that content in some way Promote it This strategy is effective and looks simple from the outset, but it is time consuming and difficult. It’s also worth mentioning that links are not always the main KPI for success. For example, some pieces are built draw traffic, while others are intended to convert.Either way, the point here is that you need to determine what success is for your content. It’s usually one of these: traffic, links, or higher conversions. Once you’ve figured that out, you need to make content that adds more value than that of your competitors. Here are some ways to do just that: Outdo them: Is your competition offering 13 ways to earn money as a freelancer? Then you should offer 15. Does their content lack visual assets? Hire a designer so your content stands out. Find whatever it is they lack, and improve upon it. Create compelling titles: There is a bit of copywriting at play here. You need to create compelling headers that will make your content more appealing. This will improve CTR and traffic. If you’re not confident in your copywriting abilities, then you should consult a content writing service to help you craft sterling copy that resonates with your audience. Link to credible sources: Link out in your content. If you make a claim or reference someone, be sure to link out to them (and do follow it). It’s a common courtesy online, and it shows that you know what you’re talking about.Once you’ve found the best way to enhance your content, you should look for some ways to rank for other search queries, which leads to step three. Use AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are Google’s answer to a seamless and fast user experience for mobile users. AMP pages are denoted by a bolt emblem next to their title tag on the SERPs. AMP pages load faster, which improves retention and CTR . Improve readability: You’ll want to use bold, sans-serif typeface to make your content easier to read on mobile. Place prominent CTAs: You also want to make sure that CTAs are conspicuously placed so that they are easy to click, but not so much they hinder content consumption. Streamline navigation: Navigating your site on mobile should be intuitive. A positive user experience increases dwell time and reduces bounce rate. Avoid interstitials: Popup ads frustrate the user because they block content temporarily — more than enough time to convince a user to bounce back to the SERP.By making your content mobile friendly, you increase the chances of it ranking. It’s time consuming, but definitely worth looking into.