My overall take on them is that they're actually a good thing for the internet at large. Here's why.
Mature sites with high domain authority already clog the SERPs. The cookie-cutter, skyscraper content out there has only made it worse. It's difficult to get your content ranking in that sea of sameness.
Things like the Perspectives filter and Google's information gain patent from 2020 offer you a chance to start ranking again. Google is getting smarter. It's getting better at understanding your pages and wiping spammy, repetitive content off the top pages.
It pays to be different.Here's my guide on what will get you ranking in 2024 and beyond.
SEO is Changing — So What's Going To Get You to Rank?
It would be lame and ironic if, in an article that's telling you how to stand out in the crowd, I told you to do what everyone is doing or advising you to do for content in the first place: follow EEAT and answer search intent to rank. You're probably doing that already.
What you need beyond that is a competitive edge. A way to stand out from the copycat content out there.
You need two things:
Information gain. Answer search intent by saying what nobody else on the SERP is saying. That's how to feature in Google's SGE snapshot.
Perspectives. Google wants to prioritize opinions from real people from sites like YouTube and Reddit. Get multiple people with first-hand experiences on a topic to share their opinion.
Google doesn't need you to repeat what's already out there. This hasn't worked for years; now it has AI for that.
You need to offer your unique take on something, which is why proprietary research can give you an edge for both information gain and perspectives.
How to Optimize for Information Gain
1. Conduct Research and Leverage Proprietary Data
Proprietary data sets you apart from competitors and the low-grade, AI-generated copycat content out there. You're offering something to readers that they can't find anywhere else and hitting that information gain checkbox.
But you shouldn't just share data for the sake of sharing data. There's no point putting hard-won information out there that nobody is searching for or cares about.
Here's how to approach using proprietary data in your content:
Before you spend time on research, you need to figure out what you want to rank for. Think about what keywords are valuable to your business and indicate that searchers are close to converting.
Conduct your research on these target areas. Suppose your prospects are searching "impact of mistakes on b2b sales." One avenue of research could be to analyze 300 of your sales calls and compare the effect of complete versus incomplete seller action items on win rates.
Aggregatethe data into shareable and easy-to-read formats like charts, tables, calculators, and interactive visualizations.
Examples of Companies Using Proprietary Data to Answer Search Intent
What was the search intent?: Searchers are looking to find out car insurance rates and how their age or gender may impact what they pay. They might use keywords like "does age affect car insurance rates."
How was data used?: NerdWallet looked at rates from the five biggest auto insurance companies in the US and averaged them according to age and gender.
What was the search intent?: Searchers are looking to figure out how web vitals affect SEO. Keywords would be something like "do web vitals affect SEO" and "what is core web vitals in SEO."
How was data used?: One of the sections in our article talked about the number of sites that don't optimize their web vitals. We couldn't find any stats online, so we analyzed sample marketing and blog pages from 231 Series-A companies ourselves.
What was the search intent?: Searchers are looking for Facebook ad strategies and insights to optimize new or existing ad campaigns. They're probably looking to increase CTR and lower CPC. Keywords might be "good CPC for Facebook ads" and "how to optimize Facebook ads."
How was data used?: Metadata used a sample size of 25,000 ads experiments from their customers to show the popularity and effectiveness of certain CTAs on Facebook. This provided context for additional data on what good CPM for Facebook looks like.
What was the search intent?: Searchers are looking to write cold emails that actually convert. Some keywords might be "how to close a deal via email," "how to write sales emails," and "how to close a sales email."
How was data used?: Gong analyzed the results of their own email campaigns and turned what they learned into actionable do's and don'ts for searchers. They followed up this data with examples of the tactics in action.
Data makes people trust advice more, so pages that offer original research also receive more backlinks from pages citing you.
Google has a reason to extract their content for searchers since original data both answers search intent and offers something new through information gain.
2. Interview Experts For Quotes And Industry Advice
Getting firsthand insights from the experts gives your content an edge that's difficult to copy.
You can approach industry leaders on platforms like LinkedIn or by networking with customers. A lot of the experts we talk to at Letterdrop are existing customers. Here's how to go about setting up a meeting:
Identify an expert whose specialty aligns with what you're looking to learn and apply to your business.
Communicate what you'd like from them, whether advice or supporting quotes for a how-to guide.
Offer them an incentive, like a discount, shoutout, or co-marketing opportunity.
Ask their permission to share recorded clips with your network.
Here's where interviewing experts comes in handy:
When you want to write how-to guides
When you want to run a podcast
When you want to create thought-leadership content
At Letterdrop, we worked on a guide to how to market to devs and were looking for a unique, experienced take on it. We interviewed Allie Beazell, Marketing Chief of Staff at Census, who also happens to be a Letterdrop customer. We got a bunch of video snippets and quotes to support our article.
How to Optimize for Perspectives
Get Quotes from Real Customers With Interviews and Reviews
Gather insights from customers by recording interviews and getting them to review your product online. Sites like Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube are great review platforms.
You get three things from this:
1. Multiple perspectives, which will help you rank better with Google's Perspectives.
2. You also benefit from information gain by leveraging unique insights that people can't copy.
3. In the case of recording interviews, you get video as an additional media format to boost your post and independently rank on YouTube.
How to Get Customers to Leave Quotes
Customers can give you plenty of unique product-related insights. Here's how to get quotes from them:
Identify a happy customer. Chat with your Customer Success team to find customers who have had a lot of success with your product and have a good relationship with your company. People are busy, so the more enthusiastic a customer is about your team and your product, the easier it will be to get them to meet your ask.
Clearly communicate what you want them to do for you. Whether you'd like them to participate in a case study or answer a product-related question on a Reddit forum, tell your customer exactly what you'd like from them. Direct them to specific forum questions you'd like them to answer or send through guiding interview questions.
3. Offer them an incentive. Give them something in return for their time, like a gift card or a discount on their next purchase. 4. Ask for sharing permissions. Ask whether sharing interview clips with your network is okay.
The Value of Customer Reviews
Why do so many people type "reddit" at the end of their searches? They're looking for opinions from real people. A whopping 93% of users say online reviews impact their buying decisions.
And if multiple customers review your company on various platforms, you're increasing your chances of featuring in Google's Perspectives and reaching more people.
Here's where chatting to customers comes in handy:
When you're writing case studies, as mentioned above. As a (hopefully satisfied) product end-user, they're in a great position to help boost your brand with supporting quotes and tangible KPIs you helped move.
When you're looking for long-form content ideas, like comparison pieces. Customers can give unique insights into what products they're looking into, what they have chosen over other alternatives, and why.
With your customer's permission, you can turn interview recordings into video snippets for YouTube, blog and social media posts using tools like Fathom and Descript. That way, you're ticking the boxes for both information gain and Google's Perspectives.
Make Sure What You're Ranking For Drives Business
Everything I've covered here may seem like a lot of work, and it is. Search is competitive, and you need to be willing to do challenging things that your competition isn't doing to stand out. Google rewards those who put in the work to curate great answers.
Long gone are the days of spray and pray, where you publish a huge volume of skyscraper copycat content to target every keyword. Instead, you want to reduce the quantity and focus on quality.
But with more investment per keyword, you're forced toprioritize keywords that drive revenue through conversions to justify your efforts (and marketing spend). You can't put this much effort into keywords that bring in unqualified traffic and don't move the needle for your company.
There are a lot of confounding factors here. Should you work on keywords that break the above rules to focus on topical authority? Or should you spend money on writing pieces that can get backlinks to build domain authority?
My take is that those are optimizations you can worry about later. Focus on really high-quality, media-rich, and unique content that brings something to the table that others can't easily replicate. Do it for keywords sourced directly from your customers where you're fairly certain they'll convert.
The Quality Bar for Search is Going Up — So Should Your Content
SEO is as important as ever. It's just different.
The quality bar for what shows on the top pages is going up. That means less spam on the SERPs (thank goodness) and an opportunity for you to rank excellent content that drives qualified leads.
All it takes is going the extra mile your competition isn't willing to make and nabbing insights that nobody on the internet has seen before.
We're actively thinking about the future of SEO at Letterdrop. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest industry insights in your inbox every second week, and feel free to reach out to us.
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