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Why Authority & Content Are Sustainable Competitive Advantage Builders – Here’s Why #93

If you want to gain a sustainable competitive advantage in your marketplace, you’ve got to build authority and back it up with trustworthy yet interesting content. Want to know why? Here’s why!

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Mark: Eric, in our last episode you explained the value of what you call a sustainable competitive advantage. Before we get into some ways we can build that, recap for us briefly what that is.
Eric: A sustainable competitive advantage is anything that is so unique and hard to accomplish that your competitors will be hard pressed to replicate it, and even if they do, they will be playing catch up. It’s also an advantage that you can continue to reap benefits from over time, rather than a one-off, quick win.
[Tweet “A sustainable competitive advantage is anything so unique and hard to accomplish, competitors can not replicate it.”]
Mark: What are some strategies that we can use to build a sustainable competitive advantage?
Eric: One is to become a respected, leading authority in your space, what some call a thought leader or influencer. If you play that right, authoritative sources and respected influencers will begin to quote you, refer to you, and link to your content.
Mark: That last one, getting authoritative links to your content is especially powerful, given the continued power of links that you showed in your big study on the real ranking power of links.
Eric: Becoming known as the go-to authority in your market is one of the best and most sustainable ways to keep earning that kind of organic, deserved links that search engines love so much.
Mark: What’s another path to building a sustainable competitive advantage?
Eric: Creating superior content. Now that’s one we hear a lot these days, but let me give you some different twists to it. One is getting massive amounts of user-generated content, or UGC, such as reviews on product pages. Such content goes a long way toward making your site’s pages unique and valuable to search engines, but the trick here is getting UGC at scale while maintaining high quality at the same time.
Mark: Perficient Digital is working on an amazing, game-changing solution to that problem…but Eric won’t let me tell you about it yet!
Speaking of product pages, one of the big dilemmas for eCommerce SEO is creating product pages that are unique and worthwhile enough for search engines to rank them, especially if there are other sites that sell the same product. Just rewriting the product description often isn’t enough. So a better strategy is to get content from experts explaining how to use the product, or the same from users of the product. The idea is to make the page worth visiting for more than just the product itself.
Mark: I’m sure many of our viewers are thinking the same thing I am right now.
Eric: And that is?
Mark: Just how much does Perficient Digital spend on Eric’s hairstyling for these videos?
Eric: Seriously?
Mark: No, what we’re really thinking about is, well, that the strategies you’ve been talking about are….HARD! They all would take a lot of time, effort, and even money investment, to pull off.
Eric: Yes, there’s no denying that. Successful competitive advantage campaigns always take a lot more effort and investment. But, that’s exactly why they are worth doing. Remember what I said earlier, one of the thing that makes them so rewarding and long-lasting in their benefits is that because they are HARD, it’s a lot less likely that your competition will be able or willing to replicate them. Thus, the payoff isn’t just yours alone, it can be yours alone again and again and again over a long period of time.
Mark: Thanks, Eric. In this episode we’ve given you several tips on how to build a sustainable competitive advantage in your marketing. Eric has even more to share in his Search Engine Land column, which you can read it here – Sustainable Competitive Advantages in Digital Marketing.
Eric: Actually, almost every episode of these Here’s Why videos provides great sustainable competitive advantage ideas. That’s not an accident. We built Perficient Digital into an Inc. 5000 company serving some of the top brands in the world through aggressively pursuing sustainable competitive advantages, and we teach our clients how to do exactly the same thing.
Mark: So be sure to subscribe to this series so you’ll never miss one of those tips or ideas!
Wait a minute!
Eric: So going back, you might remember that Mark told you there’s a great thing we’re working on that I wasn’t willing to tell you about. I know Mark said I wasn’t going to tell you, but now I am going to tell you!
We’ve been working on something called the UGC Accelerator. It’s a machine learning-based solution, which actually dramatically lowers the cost of processing user-generated content for putting on your site. We call it the Accelerator because if it’s dramatically cheaper to moderate user-generated content, then you can do more of it. We’re very excited about this, and it’s potential for driving SEO for our clients.
Don’t miss a single episode of Here’s Why. Click the subscribe button below to be notified via email each time a new video is published.

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Thoughts on “Why Authority & Content Are Sustainable Competitive Advantage Builders – Here’s Why #93”

  1. I give all of this advice to my attorney clients almost on a daily basis, but so few of them follow it. We do backlink research on the competitors that are outranking them, only to find that they’re all spamming comments or running link farms. It’s hard to convince them not to do the same when it’s paying off so well for the guy down the street…

  2. Frank, unfortunately there are some verticals, such as parts of legal, that are such rats nests of spam and black hat it’s been hard for Google to clean them up. But what happened with locksmiths should serve as a warning. Once Google decides to put time and attention on a spam-filled vertical, all those benefits will go away overnight.

  3. Most companies don’t think about creating sustainable competitive advantage. I think because it does require work and patience that most marketing teams are focused on winning in the short term. But you are absolutely correct that by creating a hurdle for competitors you establish your authority in the space and the work you put into the efforts has long-term dividends.
    Great presentation and information.

  4. Hi Mark,
    Very good episode!
    Good articles are a fantastic advantage over competitors but, what happens when your site or blog is almost unknown?
    Good content in this case is something like having a very good cheap hotel in the middle of the forest without roads for getting it.
    What could you do in that case?
    Thank you!

  5. Mark Traphagen

    Thanks for your question, Abel. Notice we said that great content is a sustainable advantage, but not a guaranteed win in and of itself. Obviously it is no advantage at all if no one sees it! So creating great content that is helpful to your users is just the start, the “price of admission” if you will, albeit a necessary piece. You also need to work hard to build a loyal and favorable audience (that’s where things like social and brand building come into play), and also promote your content to get it in front of the right eyeballs. These days, a paid social promotion strategy with the right targeting on the right channels can accelerate the latter.

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Mark Traphagen

Mark Traphagen was our Content Strategy Director for Perficient Digital until February of 2019. He has been named one of the most influential content and social media authors in numerous industry listings.

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