The Importance Of Differentiated Content

I puzzled over the title of this column for a bit. The initial title I wrote was “The Importance of Unique Content”, and I actually mean something different than that. Most of the time when we talk about unique content we mean not simply using copies of someone else’s text (whether it be plagiarized or licensed). What I am going to focus on today is the importance of covering different topics than other people do. Let me illustrate the problem using the mortgage marketplace as an example.

First of all, if we perform a search on “mortgage” in Google, we get the following results:

As you can see, I have highlighted the total number of results, which for this search term is 185 Million results. So I think we can stipulate that it is a very crowded marketplace.

Now let’s ask the next question, if you build a website that is about mortgages, how are you going to stand out? What can you do to get links? As a quick reminder, let’s take a look at the SEO ranking factors survey from SEOmoz:

If you look at this data carefully, 66% of the ranking weight (according to the survey) is directly related to links. An additional 6% goes to social ranking factors, and as with links, these are related to how people perceive your site. That gives us a whopping total of 72% or ranking weight.

So how are you going to attract attention? By being the 18,500,000-1st website to offer basic info on mortgages? By offering a mortgage calculator? Have to be millions of sites that already do that.

Offering content on the same topic matter as all these other sites is not going to cut it. You have to figure out how to differentiate. In the mortgage market, this is going to be particularly difficult. If you are going to try and break into a tough market, here are some ideas you could try:

  1. Use a highly distinctive business model.
  2. Add some new feature or function that is strong enough to attract attention (hard to do in the mortgage space, but it may work for you in yours).
  3. Make unique new tools available to people who visit your site.
  4. Be the first to produce a comprehensive Twitter stream on your topic.
  5. Be the first to produce a compelling Facebook fan page on the topic.
  6. Be the first to offer a great mobile experience for your space.
  7. Get some recognized industry spokesperson to use your site as their place to publish opinions – this will draw media attention to your site like a magnet, even if the material discussed is “me-too-ish”, because of the person discussing it.

The key thing is to figure out how to do something that is truly different. You might argue that the market you are in is not as competitive as the mortgage space. That may be true, but for fun, I sampled a bunch of other markets by conducting the following searches, including the “” to reduce the number of false positives:

  1. “machine shop parts” – 384,000 results
  2. “marine mammal care” – 101,000 results
  3. “furniture repair” – 333,000 results
  4. “wet bars” – 385,000 results
  5. “pharmaceutical testing” – 170,000 results

The point is that regardless of what market space you are in, there is likely to be plenty of competition. If there is money in it, the space is going to be crowded. The only exceptions to this occur when you are the first mover in a brand new space. Since that is not likely the case for you, you must differentiate, or you will get “me-too” results from your SEO campaign.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Industrial Strength


About The Author: is the president of Stone Temple Consulting, an SEO consultancy outside of Boston. Eric publishes a highly respected interview series and can be followed on Twitter at @stonetemple.

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  • F. Martin

    Yo soy el propietario de un sitio de hipotecas en español, mi contenido es todo original y fruto de mi experiencia en un banco mas de 30 años haciendo hipotecas. Mi contenido es diferente a todos, explico con detalle todos los pasos para pedir un préstamo hipotecario y como se puede negociar con los bancos para tener una buena hipoteca, pero llegan otras web con mas autoridad para Google copian mi contenido.
    Las web que me copian salen mejor posicionadas. Lo denuncio a Google y todo sigue igual.. ¿De que sirve tener buen contenido?
    Mejor hacer un sitio con autoridad comprando enlaces y luego copiar todo el contenido de web pequeñas.

    I am the owner of a mortgage site in Spanish, my content is all original and the result of my experience in a bank over 30 years doing mortgages. My content is different at all, explain in detail all the steps to apply for a mortgage and how they can negotiate with banks to get a good mortgage, but get other websites with much more authority Google copied my content.
    The site that I copied out the best position. I report to Google and as usual .. What good is having good content?
    Better make a purchasing authority site links and then copy the entire contents of small web.

  • Tyler Ellison

    ‘Unique’ content nowadays is also a synonym for ‘spun’ content. We really do need to look beyond changing up 50% of the words to creating something that is actually different/uniuqe/worthwhile.


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