Absolutely everything you need to know about 10x content

Absolutely Everything You Need to Know About 10x Content

NOW UPDATED! This post was expanded for 2017 with new tactics for writing 10x content. Enjoy!

Ever since Google’s first “Panda update” was released, good content has become more important than ever before. 

By now you know that you need to step up your game to create a successful content marketing strategy.

You may still think that as long as your content is better than average, you stand a chance of hitting the first page of Google. Unfortunately, that’s probably not the case. Rand Fishkin, CEO and founder of Moz, has gone on record to state that creating good content won’t do you much good anymore. If you plan to outrank the competition, then you need to write content that’s ten times better than anything you’ll find on Google.

What Is 10x Content?

Fishkin is noted for having recently coined the term “10x content” after noticing that, while many people were focusing on improving the quality of their content, most were still setting the bar too low. That’s where the idea of 10x content comes in.

Factors for 10x Content

Changes in Google’s algorithm spurred the need for top-tier content. In addition, Fishkin argues that the following factors have forced content marketers to embrace 10x content:

  • Google has begun taking user experience into consideration as a ranking factor. Anemic content is less engaging and leads to high bounce rates and rankings. Some experts claim that the quality of your content can easily make the difference between a 35% and 60% bounce rate.
    The author in that article grades what bounce rate is good/bad for you. For example, the average bounce rate for, say, a services business might be around 30-50%. 50%-60% is above average, but not necessarily cause for concern. 70%+ would mean that something’s wrong. 
  • Links have been a key part of the search engine algorithm since the beginning of Google. But after many black hat SEOs found that they could boost their Pagerank by purchasing links and spamming the Internet, Google became more adept at distinguishing between link spam and earned links. For example, guest blogging for the sole purpose of growing SEO is frowned upon by Google, and many sites have gotten penalized for it.  

    Shrewd SEOs realized that creating high-quality content was key to earning the backlinks they needed to boost their rankings.

    Here is another article ‘The Real Truth About Google and Guest Blogging’ from Kissmetrics that clarifies Google’s penalizing policies and more. The author articulates all the dos and dont’s to keep in mind to grow your blog organically and how to avoid Google penalties.

  • Content marketing has become much more popular as a promotional strategy in recent years. As online competition has increased, brands have, consequently, needed to increase the quality of the content they produce in order to stand out.
  • As brands have invested more effort in creating higher-quality content, user expectations have increased as well. Brands that used to be able to stand out with subpar content have found that it’s no longer effective, resulting in the need to improve quality to win back customers.


The need for high-quality content won’t be going away anytime soon. Fishkin’s concept of 10x content has helped marketers recognize the importance of improving quality to boost their rankings and earn a more loyal audience.

Is 10x Content Really Worth the Effort?

Fishkin isn’t the only content marketing expert who has discussed the benefits of 10x content. Larry Kim, the founder and chief technology officer of WordStream, recently hosted a webinar with Buzzsumo, during which he pointed out that WordStream’s best articles drive substantially more traffic than the rest. To put it in perspective, he says that nearly half of all the site’s traffic comes from the top 50 articles. The other 1,200 posts each contribute only a sliver of the monthly traffic.

Stop and let that sink in for a moment. WordStream receives nearly a million visitors every month, and half a million of those visits are driven by the top 50 articles alone. This means that each of the company’s top articles drives an average of 10,000 visits to the site every month. How incredible is that?

Of course, you shouldn’t be focusing purely on traffic volume. The purpose of ranking in the SERPs is to generate high-quality traffic that’s likely to convert. Still, these statistics from WordStream present a compelling case for how you can use 10x content to meet your conversion goals. Assuming you’re competing for a high-converting keyword, 10x content can help you stand out.

[su_note]Free Bonus Download: Use this guide to help you create content that is 10x better than your competitors! Click here to download it free.[/su_note]

What Constitutes 10x Content?

As everybody in the space knows, Google has been consistently raising the bar for SEO over the past ten years. Before the company became the web’s dominant search engine, anyone could stuff a webpage full of keywords and expect to gain traffic. Google tried to address that problem by rolling out the Pagerank algorithm, which rewarded websites that earned links from other sources and created more relevant content.

Google’s algorithm was a marked improvement over other search engines, but it didn’t completely eliminate the webspam problem. Some brands were still able to rank on the first page by writing low-quality content and using black hat link-building strategies. Eventually, the Google Panda updates helped remove a lot of this spammy content, forcing brands to reassess their content marketing strategy.

Fishkin argues that things have gone a step further in recent years and that content has become a critical part of the SERP algorithms. In this new environment, the only way that brands can reasonably expect to outrank their competitors is by producing content that’s much more valuable than what’s currently being displayed on the first page.

Now that you understand the importance of creating exceptional content, you should know that actually creating it is much more difficult. Here are a few ways to approach the problem:

Research the Content on the First Page of Google

Websites that rank on the first page of Google receive 89.71% of all organic search traffic. Since there’s so much riding on getting on the first page of search results, marketers invest a significant amount of time and money optimizing their sites for higher rankings. Reviewing the content that’s currently ranking well can help you determine the quality level that your content needs to meet (or exceed) to get on the first page as well.

You can’t create content that’s ten times better than your competitors’ without knowing what they’re putting out. Take a look at all the results on the first page for your target keyword phrases and make a plan for how you’re going to outperform them. While you’re reviewing their content, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What solution is the website trying to provide to the reader?
  • How does their content stand out from their peers?
  • What could they have done to provide more value to their readers?
  • What is the overall value of the content? Did these brands actually create exceptional content or are they simply the best-known brands and coasting along on minimal investment?


Your competitive analysis is an essential first step in the content development process. Aim to spend at least a few hours studying the results on the first page in order to come up with a game plan that will help you deliver better work.

Provide a Unique User Experience

No matter what you think, your users are the ultimate judges of the quality of your content.  They tend to view more unique content as higher quality, so you’ll want to find different ways to differentiate your content from your competitors. You can do so by using unique fonts, layouts, and visuals to make your articles and web copy more memorable and engaging.

As you can see from the following stats, incorporating compelling visual content pieces (such as images and videos) into your website is an essential part of improving the user experience:

Visuals play a key role in the user experience, which can ultimately lift your SERPs performance as well. If you’re trying to create exceptional content, then you will need to choose high-quality images and videos, and split test them to see which perform the best.

Use Multiple Metrics to Define Quality

What defines great content? There isn’t any single metric to determine this because there are a number of ways that users measure content value. You’ll want to satisfy all of the following to ensure that your viewers’ high standards are met:

  • Does your content provide answers to the questions that your viewers are asking themselves while conducting their search?
  • Does your content go into the detail that your readers are looking for?
  • Do you have sufficient data to support your claims?
  • Do you use visuals effectively?


You need to hit on every one of these points if you want to live up to your promise to deliver high-quality content.

Integrate Your Content With the Rest of Your Site

Dwell time (the time users remain on your site) and bounce rates have become increasingly important ranking variables that you need to pay attention to. Not only must you engage your readers with your content, you also need to use it to make visitors feel connected to the rest of your site.

Neil Patel recently wrote a post in Search Engine Journal that emphasizes the importance of reducing your website bounce rate and improving dwell time. He said that there is no hard data to show the ideal time spent on a site because it varies across industries. However, his research clearly shows that sites with bounce rates under 40% tend to rank better than sites with higher bounce rates.

So how do you use your 10x content to reduce your bounce rate? The best place to start is by adding valuable, internal links above the fold in your content. Placement is very important, because users are more likely to click links that are higher up on the page.

In this article, Jay Lane elaborates on what type of links you must track and the tools/plugins used to track them.

These tools help you determine a pattern in user behavior when it comes to what links they click. This way you get a better picture of how well a user is engaging with your post or website. Do they click on the right links? Do they take the right actions to progress down your funnel?

If you notice that your links aren’t helping to improve your bounce rate, you may need to make them more enticing. Too many content marketers use internal links solely to improve their SEO. The real purpose of 10x content should be providing value to the reader. Your internal backlinking strategy should be secondary, so make sure that every link serves a clear purpose and has a strong call to action.

As an example, one compelling way to reduce your bounce rate and increase your dwell time is to create an internal link to a high-value white paper you’ve published. Include a sentence or two describing the resource within your 10x content piece to call attention to it and increase the chance that it’ll be clicked.

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Forget About Scalability

Before the Panda update was launched, plenty of companies focused on mass producing large volumes of content. Content mills like Suite 101 and eHow employed vast teams of writers to constantly generate articles—all at the expense of quality. Clearly, that didn’t go so well for them, as Suite 101 was forced to shut down and eHow had to drastically improve its quality guidelines in order to stay afloat.

Fishkin argues that the focus so many companies have on the scalability of their content production methods is drastically overrated. In fact, if you find a way to scale your campaign, that probably means that your content isn’t good enough to be considered 10x content.

“This is a super power,” Fishkin says. “When your competitors or other folks in the field look and say, ‘Hey, there’s no way that we can scale content quality like this. It’s just too much effort. We can’t keep producing it at this level,’ well, now you have a competitive advantage. You have something that puts you in a category by yourself and that’s very hard for competitors to catch up to. It’s a huge advantage in search, in social, on the Web as a whole.”

Quality should always be your barometer for gauging the value of your content. Focus on consistently producing quality content that reflects well on your brand, rather than pumping out mediocre content every day.

How Can You Generate 10x Content?

It sounds excessive, but you have to focus on hitting the 10x mark every time you create a piece of content. This means that you need to have reliable content developers on hand and enough time and money to invest in creating it.

Outsourcing your content writing to contractors on Fiverr may have helped you rank in 2008, but you probably already know that the quality of the work you generated in this way was never very good. The articles weren’t engaging, so the conversions were probably dismal. Using these kinds of articles today will probably hurt you more than help you.

Developing content that can rank on the front page will be an investment. You can’t expect a writer on Fiverr or one of your interns to produce the content that can compete with the pages at the top of the SERPs. In addition, creating articles of this caliber can take days, or even weeks, so you can’t guarantee to your followers that you’re going to put out such valuable content every day. Fortunately, you won’t need to.

Writing 10x content gives you the chance to rank on the first page of Google—an opportunity that might not otherwise be available to you. And if this higher ranking helps increase your website traffic and on-site conversions, you’ll see far better results overall from a handful of 10x content pieces than you will by writing dozens of low-value articles just to meet an arbitrary publishing calendar.

So if Fiverr and other low-quality freelance sites are out, who do you turn to in order to create 10x content? Your best bet is to develop it on your own. You understand your brand better than anyone else, so you’ll be able to better engage with your followers than someone who doesn’t know your company. You can also consider outsourcing your content to a professional writer or hiring someone in-house, but you’ll need to make 100% certain that they have a track record for producing quality material and can do so successfully within your industry.

Some Great Examples of 10x Content

It’s easy to conceptualize the need to create content that’s ten times better than your best-ranking competitors. Knowing what content to write is quite different. How long should it be? How many visuals does it need? How much data is necessary to stand out? All of these are important barometers of content quality, but it’s not always clear how much detail you need to be ten times better than any result on Google’s front page.

Let’s study some examples based on the principles we discussed till now. 

To get you inspired, here are some examples of 10x content that have worked well for their creators:

Educational articles

If the aim of educational articles is to educate your audience on a topic. Here’s a post that talks about coding with amazing illustrations that any beginner cannot get enough of:

What is Code? – Computer coding is a very broad and complicated topic, so it would, understandably, take a very long and detailed post to do it justice.

This article from Bloomberg is one of the longest and most informative pieces of content I’ve ever come across. It also has a unique background and many static and animated images to illustrate its points. All told, the post is over 30,000 words long (which, realistically, is probably necessary to sufficiently give an overview of the history and current state of computer code).

Product based posts

If you aim to inform your audience on different products you’ve got to offer, don’t bombard them with all the products at once. Provide them with interactive interface to select from, since they don’t need to consume and comprehend the features of more than 100 types of products available in the market.  

Whichphone – As a smartphone manufacturer, Google has a vested interest in making sure its customers are matched with the right Android device. But since there are so many Androids on the market, it can be difficult for users to know which device is best for them.

This interactive page asks a number of questions to learn more about the user and match them to the right Android phone. It’s much more engaging than a simple blog post with an overview of different phones and the customers they’re geared towards, as it encourages users to actively participate in the content piece and take ownership of their results.

Informational posts

Informational posts are step-by-step tutorials that your audience can use to complete a particular task. Include photos, infographics, and visuals to accompany your tutorial so your readers can follow along.

Repair Guides – Many DIYers would rather fix damaged hardware themselves than take it to an expert. This 10x webpage offers a number of guides to help readers figure out how to handle specific DIY projects on their own. Whether you’re trying to fix your car, Mac or smartphone, the tutorials on this page have the information that you need.

ISideWith – Many people believe they already know who they should be voting for in the upcoming presidential election. However, if they don’t fully understand the candidates’ positions on various issues, they may wind up unintentionally voting for someone who doesn’t align with their views.

This helpful content piece offers tons of information on the topics that are at the forefront of many voters’ minds, as well as where the different presidential candidates stand on them. This can be both an entertaining way to learn more about politics and a good way to educate yourself about your political options before the upcoming election.

Robbie Maddison surfs Tahiti on a dirt bike – Recently, motorbike stunt racer Robert Maddison became the first person to ever ride a dirt bike across a wave. This article discusses his stunt in great detail, along with several quotes, compelling images, and a video. In fact, this article was so detailed and engaging that it received over 15,000 shares on social media.

War and Peace Before 1945 – This article serves to educate people about the reduction in violence over the last century. It provides a lot of data to show that the world has become a much more peaceful place—which may be a surprising read for anyone who’s been listening to the news these days—and it offers six rich charts to make its point.

World Poverty – This is another data-driven, 10x content post that focuses specifically on the perception of poverty. It offers multiple graphs depicting the prevalence of poverty around the world and the way that the global population feels about it, creating a visually-stunning, compelling resource.

9 Basic Principles of Responsive Web Design – Responsive web design has become a major topic of interest in recent years, and this post from FROONT gives a great overview of the science behind responsive design and the basic principles designers need to follow. The post is both concise and thorough, while the supporting images go a long towards driving the point home.

[su_note]Free Bonus Download: Use this guide to help you create content that is 10x better than your competitors! Click here to download it free.[/su_note]

Basic Principles of Responsive Web Design – Responsive web design has become a major topic of interest in recent years. This post from ResponsiveDesigns.ca gives a great overview of differences in responsive design and adaptive designs. The post is both concise and thorough, while the supporting graphics go a long towards driving the point home.

Don’t Create Good Content, Create GREAT Content – 10x Content Is the New Standard

It seems like everyone in the content marketing game has spent the last several years emphasizing the importance of creating good content. Unfortunately, anyone who followed their advice was setting themselves up for failure. The truth is that “good” content is no longer good enough to rank well in the SERPs.

If you want to stand a chance of ranking and engaging your visitors, then you need to create content that’s much better than anything found on the first page. Study the SERPs carefully and use them as inspiration to drive content that delivers ten times more value than anything your target customers have ever seen before.

[su_note]Free Bonus Download: Use this guide to help you create content that is 10x better than your competitors! Click here to download it free.[/su_note]

Have any other tips for creating 10x content? Feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments section below:   

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