Content Strategy

How to Use Blogging to Outrank Your Competition

Jeremy Moser
April 17, 2024

How to Use Blogging to Outrank Your Competition

Blogging isn’t dead. Far from it. But how do you make sure your efforts aren’t all for nothing with Google constantly changing its algorithms and favoring giant websites?

In this blog, I’ll show you how to use quality content creation, savvy link building tactics, and more, to get ahead of your competition. 

That means more traffic to your site, which can translate to more sales and, ultimately, more revenue.

Accelerating your blogging strategy to rank in the SERPs

As the CEO of uSERP, I’ve worked with 350+ brands. And what I’ve found during this time is that ranking in the SERPs depends on just a few key factors. 

Contrary to “content is king” statements, It’s more than just producing high-quality content…

When optimizing your content for search, you want to consider: 

  • The type of content that’s relevant to your niche
  • The number of years you’ve been in business
  • The level of competition in your industry
  • The types of customers you’re targeting
  • Your domain authority (DR, DA, AS, etc)
  • Your relative SEO strength compared to competition 
  • Payback Period: timeframe you need to see ROI from SEO

1. Content velocity vs. specificity

“Content is king” isn’t a great statement. Yes, you need content to rank and drive leads/sales. But just publishing doesn’t guarantee results.

Not when publishing is as commoditized and crowded as it is today. 

The key in content production in a modern, competitive SEO world is content velocity vs specificity, and knowing when to pull each of those two levers. 

We’re first going to focus on content velocity. Think of velocity in terms of physics. It represents how quickly and in which direction an object is moving.

Now, think of it in terms of content. Content velocity is how often and how quickly you create blog posts related to your business, industry, niche, or product. It represents how many pieces of content you’re publishing on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. 

Depending on the stage your business is at within SEO, what lever you pull changes.

For example, if you’re a new site, publishing very little content and getting hyper specific is not a good idea. 


You are publishing too slow. You don’t know what Google is going to rank you for. You need to move fast to move slow. 

Posting a lot of content quickly is great for new sites. It allows them to test out what works and what doesn’t work. It’s like throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks. This method will help you determine your content strategy going forward. 

Now, let’s look at specificity. This is the type of content you’re sharing and how deep you tackle a given niche. It might be tempting to go out there and start creating content for every topic related to your industry. But if you’re a business that’s already established in your niche, it’s best to focus on a few topics where you already know you have good traction.

Here’s the framework we use at uSERP with 350+ clients: 

Velocity-specificity cycle a codeless/uSERP content framework

Custom image provided by the author

Stage 1

Stage one is perfect for new sites (to SEO) or established sites looking to break into other niches they have not written about yet.

In this stage, identify multiple topic niches you want to tackle. 

For example, maybe you’re a CRM company with target markets in construction, plumbing, and roofing. 

Take those three “niches,” write them down, and move to step two.

Stage 2

Next, prioritize velocity for the topical niches in your space. 

Here you want to publish multiple content clusters in each of those niches you just identified in step one.

You don’t know what will rank, and what won’t. That’s why velocity and diversity early is key. 

Publish those clusters as fast as you can. Then, analyze that data to understand which content clusters within that publishing framework are performing best. 

Which are ranking for the most keywords? The most traffic? Best early signals of rankings? 

Now, double down on the niches that are ranking fast, and cut the others asap. 

Let’s take a look at an example client we did this for, For this content strategy, we looked at the different niches that they serve and their different ideal customer profiles‌ — ‌marketing, CRM and sales, project management, creative, and more.

We looked at different key terms and the type of content they could create specifically for those teams.

Screenshot of blog and target audience

Custom image provided by the author

Project management is a pretty broad topic. Monday serves different companies, styles, types, use cases, departments, etc.

So, we picked a few at the start as our sort of “bread and butter” ones that have historically converted best or resulted in the highest return on investment or customer lifetime value (CLV).

Based on that, we began creating specific content for those specific niches. The unique thing about Monday is that it’s pretty scalable. 

If you’re talking about one specific product‌ — ‌the project management tool, for instance‌ — ‌you can expand that based on the use cases of each specific team.

So, you can scale the content velocity within a specific niche.

Let’s say the three verticals Monday chooses are marketing, CRM and sales, and project management. So, we focus on creating a high volume of content for those verticals. 

But maybe they discovered that marketing and creative teams are ranking well. So, instead, we choose to put the other topics on the back burner and focus on marketing and creative teams.

Stage 3

At stage three, analyze the data after 1-2 months. How long you wait will depend on your competition, keyword difficulty, and existing site authority.

Stage 4

Stage four involves finding the winning niches that align with your business goals and intent. Start those winning niches with velocity. Then, go a bit deeper with those specific niches that are doing well. 

When looking at the data within your keyword research tool, keep in mind that search volume metrics aren’t always accurate. 

For instance, a keyword with a search volume of 1,000 may potentially have two to three times that amount.

That means if you’re seeing keywords with really low search volume, it’s generally a good sign that it has more volume than it says.

Screenshot of keyword with low volume in Semrush

Screenshot provided by the author

Stage 5

When you reach stage five, you’re looking at specificity production, which is how you go deep with a winning niche! Those are the ones you should have identified during that multi-month period of analyzing data.

You’ll have a good understanding of those niches that perform well for your business regarding search engine rankings and movement toward your goals, whether that’s leads, sales, or conversions. 

This stage is where you start to ramp up content production within that specific niche and where you dial in without getting shiny object syndrome across different spaces.

Take StudioSuits, for instance, renowned for their impeccable tuxedo suits. By crafting insightful articles on men's clothing styles, preferences, and trends, they attract over 65K monthly visitors solely through their blog…that’s massive for sales.

Ahrefs for StudioSuits

Custom image provided by the author

This targeted approach not only boosts their online visibility but also ensures they engage with an audience predisposed to investing in quality menswear.

When you look at their keywords, they are applying the velocity specificity framework to key niches that perform well, and they ignore the rest (shiny objects). 

Stage 6

Once you get to stage six, you want to increase velocity only within the spaces that have done well. Then, put a major focus on content rejuvenation cycles.

What does that mean? Something you’ll notice over time is that too much velocity can lead to a lot of content decay, even for large brands. 

It speaks to the quality-over-quantity dilemma where if you see low-quality content, whether it’s outdated or inaccurate, it tends to bring the entire site down.

You hear it all the time. Just publish more content. Then, you’ll start to see traffic. This mantra can be good advice in some cases, but it could also set you up for failure if you don’t have the processes in place to properly refresh and update content over time. 

Graphic showing content decay from Nerdwallet

Custom image provided by the author

Don’t just set it and forget it. If you do, you could be creating an opening for another company to take your spot in the SERPs. 

2. Topic prioritization

When you look at different topics, how do you prioritize‌ them? And why? 

After figuring out the type of content you want to create (“I need to rank for X”). The next step is to get into the specifics (“I know I can rank for Z in X time-frame, resulting in Y ROI”).

Look at some of the metrics for certain keywords and determine your ability to rank for those topics over time.

Below are key factors to consider:

  • Payback period (How long will it take to recoup the investment front targeting the specific pages?)
  • What does success look like to you?
  • Time-frame to goals ratio
  • KPIs
  • SERP competition, which impacts time to rank
  • CTR: is it even worth ranking top 3, or is CTR very low? 

To help answer these questions, we use a framework called Planning Predictor.

Planning Predictor a Codeless/uSERP content framework

Custom image provided by the author

Harvest demand 

At the base of the pyramid is harvest demand.

There are several ways to create demand, but the focus here is on harvesting that demand. This process involves harvesting existing searches and determining what content your target audience is searching for.

Start by creating a target keyword list that’s relevant to your business. 

Plug initial keyword ideas into a keyword tool like Semrush or Ahrefs and look at things like:

  • Respective relevance
  • Cost-per-click (CPC)
  • Longtail variations
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Volume

Custom image provided by the author

These metrics help you understand the intent of a piece of content, how long it should be, and how much money you may need to pay per click (Note: Generally speaking, the higher the CPC, the higher the quality of leads coming to your site).

So, in a nutshell, harvesting demand is building different keywords at a scale that you can compare side-by-side and understand which ones you can go after or that you’re going to see results from in a given time frame. 

SERP competitiveness

SERP competitiveness measures how realistically you can compete based on the average domain authority and quantity/quality of content. 

You can look at keyword difficulty metrics or scores to help determine SERP competitiveness as a starting point. But they’re not the best indicators of the ease or difficulty of ranking for a specific keyword.

For example, in this screenshot, the keyword difficulty for the keyword “construction planner” is 4.

Custom image provided by the author

However, what determines this score is the number of sites linking to that page. Therefore, it’s looking at it from a page level instead of a domain level.

So, if Forbes, a site with a DR of 94, according to Ahrefs, created blog content using that keyword with zero quality links coming to that page, it’s likely they’ll rank for that keyword pretty quickly, regardless.

Screenshot of Forbes DR

Screenshot provided by the author

On the flip side, if you have a new site that’s still gaining its footing in terms of domain authority, it probably won’t rank easily for a certain keyword, even if you did have a lot of backlinks.

A good tip to follow is to look at what’s working for companies that are your size or potentially smaller. Model after them instead of the larger brands. 

Just because a well-established business is ranking higher doesn’t necessarily mean they have better content. The smaller business’ ranking in the SERPs is likely there because of specificity within a given topical area.

Topical authority

Topical authority involves organizing topics around specific customer industries and then using a hierarchy to help reinforce that topical authority.

Take Cruise America, for example, a renowned provider of used RVs. Operating in the bustling travel and leisure industry, they understand the significance of crafting engaging content that resonates with their audience. 

Through their blog, they offer a treasure trove of trip inspirations, travel tips, insights into the RV lifestyle, and coverage of events.

By strategically targeting relevant keywords in their blog posts, they not only bolster their search engine rankings but also organically promote their offerings to a captivated audience. 

This seamless integration of content marketing and product promotion not only helps them outrank competitors for thousands of keywords but also cultivates a loyal readership base that eventually translates into paying customers.

screenshot of Cruise America's blog

Image Source

If you’ve been blogging for a while and have created a good amount of content where you can measure performance in search, you can identify generalized areas where you rank well and which ones aren’t as impressive. This insight gives you a clear idea of your expansion opportunities or pruning.

So, you can either create more content like the topics you rank well for. Or, you can remove, prune, or redirect content that’s not doing well.

Use tools like the MarketMuse Inventory feature to predict how certain content or keywords will perform based on your own topical authority in a given space. Think of it as a more personalized approach instead of relying on vague, general aggregated scores.

Organic click-through rates (CTR) is a cost-benefit analysis that analyzes the potential volume, traffic, keyword difficulty, number of links to rank, and CPC.

Payback period

Your payback period and risk tolerance determine whether you go after a particular keyword or topic. 

The best-converting keywords‌ — ‌even for the web’s biggest brands‌ — ‌might take years to rank in the SERPs.

Screenshot provided by the author

So, figure out what keywords are worth the time and risk. Determine if the potential ROI will make up the investment of time, money, and resources. 

Can you wait that long to see a payoff?

If yes, target velocity. Publish lots of content targeting that keyword and topic as much as you can. Be aggressive.

Not sure? Go for specificity. Double-down on specific topics and verticals.

If you absolutely can’t wait too long to see results, update, refresh, or repurpose your existing content that’s already ranking.

3. Distribution and link building

Once you’ve got good content output going, how do you distribute that content? Nearly 68% of SEOs say that link building has a big impact on search engine rankings.

And how do you build links at scale so that you can start to outrank the competition?

Creating good content is a great start, but you must figure out how you’re going to promote that content and how you’ll get good-quality websites to link back to you. That way, your content will last a long time in the search results without competitors coming in.

Again, back to the old, “Just publish better content.” But high-quality content isn’t just on-page. It’s about getting other websites to link to or refer to the content.

Aim to optimize for mixed-content SERPs, which will give you more opportunities to appear more than once in the search results.

Adopt the mindset that ranking number one isn’t enough. You can rank more than one time.

Example 1: 

Screenshot of mixed content SERPS

Screenshot provided by the author

Example 2:

Screenshot of mixed content SERPS for blog post and video

Screenshot provided by the author

After doing that, look for non-direct competitors to reach out to for more backlinks. When you pitch potential sites, make sure you offer value and suggest opportunities to collaborate. It’s all about building relationships and not transactions.

Blogger outreach example and template

Custom image provided by the author

That’s why you should skip ‌PBNs and paid guest posts. And avoid buying $200 backlinks from a LinkedIn DM.

Wrapping up

And there you have it. Everything you need to know about how to use blogging to outrank your competition. 

We’ll leave you with these key takeaways:

  • When creating content, work on striking the perfect balance between specificity and velocity. Think about your individual business goals, level of competition, and ICPs.
  • Consider the payback period of your content efforts and use that to determine the risks (money and time) you’re willing to take in order to rank.
  • Then, use the right distribution and link-building tactics to build your topical authority.

Follow this blueprint for blogging success, and you’ll be able to outmaneuver the competition in your niche and drive more organic traffic to your site.

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