If you aren’t yet using comparison articles on your site to improve your search engine optimization (SEO), and earn more conversions while you’re at it, now’s the perfect time to get started.
If you aren’t familiar with comparison articles, the basic premise is this: introduce two or more similar, competing products, and compare them in a detailed analysis, eventually settling on one that’s superior or concluding that each has strengths and weaknesses that balance each other out.
It’s helpful to start with some examples if you’re unfamiliar with the format. Resurgence Behavioral Health has an excellent guide comparing Valium and Xanax, while if you’re looking for something more abstract, you might review Medicare Interactive’s guide explaining the differences between Medicare and Medicaid. There are even entire sites dedicated almost exclusively to comparing products and services, like Diffen—you can check out their comparison of Android and iOS here.
So why are comparison articles so valuable, and how can you make the most of them?
Let’s take a look at some of the unique advantages this type of content has to offer:
- Product-specific keywords. You’ll get the chance to optimize your article for product-specific keywords, including branded keywords. This will help you capitalize on your best-known products, or may present you with a viable opportunity to leech traffic from your competitors.
- Audience targeting. Comparison articles, by nature, target consumers who are researching products in advance of a purchasing decision. This makes it a perfect opportunity to attract consumers in the later stages of your sales funnel.
- Conversion opportunities. Because most comparison articles will have a conclusion that favors one product or solution over the others, it presents a natural and perfect chance to include a call-to-action, increasing your total conversions.
- Unlimited development potential. If there are many competing products in a given niche, you can match them up however you’d like for virtually unlimited combinations—and virtually unlimited content options. Obviously, you’ll want to diversify your content offerings beyond just comparison articles, but it’s a good content archetype to have on standby if you’re low on ideas.
Key Strategies for Success
So what strategies can you use to maximize the value of each article?
- Review from a consumer’s perspective. Keep your audience in mind when writing. If you’re reviewing technically complex products, you may be tempted to write from an engineer or designer’s perspective, but ultimately, you’ll need to write from the consumer’s perspective. This will make it more appealing, more effective, and ultimately more persuasive if conversions are one of your most important goals.
- Understand what your customers are searching for. Do all your keyword research in advance, and learn what product-specific terms your customers are searching for. This is especially important for products with different names. You may also find that your consumers are inclined to use specific phrases, such as “what’s the difference between _____” or “which is better, ______.”
- Remain unbiased. If you’re comparing one of your own products to a product belonging to one of your competitors, you’ll be tempted to give the edge to your own product. However, it’s much more effective to remain unbiased during your descriptions. If you lean too heavily to favor one side throughout the article, your readers may disregard your opinion and move on to a more informative piece.
- Link similar articles. You can improve the trustworthiness and authoritativeness of your article by linking out to similar articles, which fortify your positions. Choose neutral, reliable sources for the best results here.
- Provide lots of detail. As with all your content, you’ll want to remain concise, but be sure to include lots of details. Break each product down in each of several different categories, and dig up numbers and objective metrics whenever possible.
- Use images and video. Visual content has a much more powerful effect on your readers than written content. If you can include visuals, whether it’s a video of the products in action, or photos that highlight the differences between them, your piece is going to see better results. Visuals are especially helpful when you’re promoting and syndicating your work on social media; visual elements are better at catching the eye.
- Look for inspiration. Finally, spend some time reading comparison articles both in and out of your industry. You might be surprised to learn some of the most effective tactics used by content marketers, and you’ll definitely walk away with more experience you can use to make your own work better.
When used appropriately, comparison articles can be a powerful addition to your content lineup. Make sure you research all your topics ahead of time and monitor their performance once they’re live; only by learning from your past efforts and improving will you be able to see better results over time.