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The Paradox of Great Content

Why do some pieces of "10X" content make the leap while others languish in obscurity? Rand examines the common elements that make for success vs. failure in this analysis of 99 unique pieces of extremely high quality content pieces.

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The Paradox of Great Content

  1. Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com The Paradox of “Great Content” Why Some Pieces Make the Leap While Others Languish in Obscurity
  2. A Tale of Two “10X” Content Investments
  3. Source
  4. Yikes. #10. Behind many far lower-quality, less-investment- heavy results 
  5. Source
  6. #1 for this and dozens of other keywords
  7. For 2.5 years, I’ve maintained a list of remarkable content from across the web…
  8. Analysis of 99 10X Pieces
  9. Links, Shares, & Ranking KWsAnalyzed
  10. Avg. Linking RDs: Avg. Ranking KWs: Avg. Facebook Shares: 919 2,834 77,990
  11. Correlation Shares->KWs: Correlation Shares->Links: Correlation Links->KWs: -0.014 0.069 0.386
  12. What Separates 10X Pieces That Perform vs. Those That Don’t?
  13. Keyword Research & Targeting#1
  14. Google made an immense investment in this resource.
  15. If only they’d done any SEO at all… Not blocking your own crawler might be a start 
  16. This piece may not look like much…
  17. But, sweet Christmas, does it rank…
  18. AStrong Investment in KW Research Clearly Paid Off IFixIt knows what searchers want, and delivers
  19. WhatYou Call Your 10X Content MattersALOT! Sadly, Polygraph titled their excellent analysis unwisely, & missed out on lots of extra search traffic
  20. Failure to Optimize for SERP CTR#2
  21. The Economist’s college rankings (which are, IMO, vastly better & more scientific than others) can’t compete in featured snippets b/c of the chart embed 
  22. FiveThirtyEight made the same type of mistake w/ their piece on gun deaths.
  23. Domain/URL Segmentation#3
  24. Many folks shoot themselves in the foot, creating unique domains or subdomains for their 10X content 
  25. Building on Another’s Platform#4
  26. Why Put a Phenomenal,Traffic & Link-GeneratingArticle on Medium & Not Your Own SiteToo?!
  27. Github seems like an even more peculiar choice as one’s only publishing platform…
  28. Some folks use 3rd-party platforms wisely – for distribution, not the primary home
  29. Accessibility #5
  30. 1,540 linking RDs 60K+ FB Shares Ranks for only 24 keywords 
  31. No, Frinkiac, you really don’t deserve this shabby lack of an internal link structure.
  32. Delightful, But Not Useful#6
  33. It’s hard to justify 10X investments that don’t provide ongoing value… unless you’re an ad agency 
  34. Ignores the Searcher’s Intent#7
  35. Content that fails to answer searchers’ goals can have a brief ranking “pop,” but usually falls thereafter
  36. We observe this w/ time- sensitive content, too. E.g. This amazing NYTimes graphic was a snapshot in Curry’s 3-point history, and thus, didn’t rank for long.
  37. Creates No Incentive to Link#8
  38. Made Reddit’s Front Page w/ 6568 upvotes 600+ Facebook Shares in a Week 42 Links
  39. IcelandAir made a big investment w/ this piece on the Northern Lights, but got only 5 links…
  40. A Few Additional Patterns & Observations
  41. There’s Subtle Evidence that Social VisitsAre Connected to Google’s Rankings Source
  42. I Observed This Same Phenomenon: Source
  43. In 10X Content, Data >Almost Everything Else Source
  44. Interactivity isAlso Powerful Source
  45. Media Companies Dominate FiveThirtyEight New York Times Bloomberg Other Media 7 7 7 19
  46. Brand ROI Can Be Outstanding, & Isn’t Just About Links or Rankings Source 515 Linking RDs Ranks for 92 KWs Worth it just for the positioning
  47. Source 248 Linking RDs Ranks for 47 KWs Shows off the UVP brilliantly
  48. Source 225 Linking RDs Ranks for 465 KWs Worth it for the brand awareness
  49. The Three Most Successful* Pieces *from an SEO perspective
  50. #3: Timelines of Geeky Fiction Source 96 Linking RDs Ranks for 9,616 KWs! 585 FB Shares
  51. #2: US Election Odds Source 7,180 Linking RDs Ranks for 22,723 KWs! 344 FB Shares
  52. #1: Zillow’s “Digs” Source 834 Linking RDs Ranks for 2,630 Insanely High Value KWs 8570 FB Shares
  53. Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com bit.ly/contentparadox