Key takeaways:

  • People love comparing.
  • They also like to validate their reasons for buying something.
  • Don’t be afraid to mention your competitors or competing brands. This is because your audience is looking for this information.

People like to know that they’re getting the best solution and I can guarantee that your customers are carrying out compare-type searches before they commit to a booking, enquiry, or purchase.

In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to incorporate compare and versus search intent into your content marketing strategy.

Let’s get started!

Examples of brands who have done this well.

Hubspot, a marketing and sales platform knows its target audience and pair this knowledge with content marketing. It has the featured snippet for “youtube vs vimeo”.

Deciding between the Adobe suite or Canva? Capterra has researched and authored content that gives users helpful information.

And in the following screenshot, Pit Stop Arabia and Tyroola are businesses that sell tyres from different manufacturers. By having this tyre comparison information, they can earn the trust of their audience.

Why compare/vs search intent matters.

People who search for “vs” and “compare” are looking for validation. They have typically already done some informational searches (online and offline) and know in a broad sense what they want. What you need to offer them is a reason why they should make a commitment.

For example:

  • When someone wants a cordless vacuum, they will want to know the key benefits and disadvantages between 2-3 products.
  • When someone needs to reduce their lower back pain, they will want to know which remedy is best for them (e.g., buying a low-cost back brace vs seeing a physiotherapist or chiropractor).
  • When someone wants to buy coffee beans, they may want to know the difference dark roast and medium roast for making espresso at home.
  • When someone needs better internet speeds in their home, they may want to justify the cost of hiring an electrician to install CAT6 throughout the home versus (cheaper) ethernet-over-wire solutions.

In each of these scenarios, there is an underlying problem that they want to solve and comparing solutions, opinions, benefits and disadvantages is part of the decision-making process.

No matter what vertical you’re in and what type of business you’re in, people go through this process before committing.

Therefore, you will need to:

  1. Understand what the underlying problem is.
  2. Offer a service or product that solves this problem.
  3. Map out competing solutions.
  4. Author information that helps people make an informed decision.

Doing this will allow you to achieve topical relevance, communicate your expertise, and earn you trust.

How to find compare search intent keywords.

The easiest way is to use the autosuggest feature in the Google search bar.

If you don’t want to do this manually, you can extract Google autocomplete suggestions via python or Excel.

Alternatively, you can also use a keyword research tool such as:

Keywords Explorer in Ahrefs (paid tool)

Keyword Magic Tool in Semrush (paid tool)

SEO research in Serpstat (paid tool)

Keyword Surfer Chrome extension by SurferSEO (free)

With your list of “vs” keywords, the next step is to author the content!

For SaaS companies.

Your competitors are constantly adding new features. But what is the core problem your solution solves? And what are nice-to-have benefits that your solution offers?

How to publish content that captures compare search intent:

Step 1: Make a list of your direct and indirect competitors.

Step 2: Make a list of features, benefits, and pricing.

Step 3: Segment features into problems that they solve.

Step 4: Collect customer testimonials and segment them into the problem that your service solved.

Step 5: Compare features, benefits, and pricing. Visual aids are highly recommended.

Step 6: Highlight why your solution is better, include customer testimonials, name-drop recognizable brands that are your existing customers, and include a clear call to action for the user to try it out.

Step 7: Update the information as competitors bring new features to the market.

As a result, you will have a number of different pages that compare your solution with another solution.

For ecommerce sites.

You probably sell the same type of product category from competing brands. For example, ASOS stocks sneakers from Polo Ralph Lauren, CAT, Converse, Vans, Reebok, Adidas, Puma, Calvin Klein, Nike and many more.

What you can do is:

  • compare similar products within the same brand (e.g., Converse Chuck Taylor High-tops vs Converse Wide Fit Chuck Taylor)
  • compare similar products across multiple brands (e.g., Converse High-tops vs Vans Sk8-Hi).
How to publish content that captures compare search intent:

Step 1: Make a list of brands and corresponding products per product category.

For example: Smeg oven, Miele oven, Bosch oven etc.

Step 2: Make a list of indirect product category competitors.

For example: blender, juicer, food processor, stick blender etc.

Step 3: Make a list of features, benefits, and pricing for each product and product category.

Step 4: Recommend one product per feature, benefit and pricing class with a clear link to the product page.

For example: best for convenience, best bang-for-buck, most overall features, easiest to clean etc.

Step 5: Add new comparison pages with each new product release and go back and update older comparison pages with new models vs older models.

For example: iPhone SE vs iPhone 12, iPhone XR vs iPhone SE etc.

In some cases, you can compare low-cost products with premium products from the same brand (e.g., iPhone 8 vs iPhone 12 Max Pro). Doing so allows you to help customers who are looking to upgrade and wanting to justify the purchase.

For small businesses.

I have a soft spot for small businesses and I understand you may not have the time, expertise or resources to prioritize content marketing.

I implore you to make time and to make resources available to building out your topical authority.

How to publish content that captures compare search intent:

Step 1: Make a list the services or products that you offer.

For example: danishes, croissants, scones, muffins, gluten-free cakes etc.

Step 2: Make a list of reasons why people want the service/product.

For example, thank-you gift that wows, to solve an emergency, to remember their wedding day memories etc.

Step 3: Identify what makes one service/product better than the other service/product.

For example: brownies vs muffins, plumber vs hot water specialist, hiring a professional wedding photographer vs asking a family friend to take photos because they have a fancy camera etc.

Step 4: Recommend one service/product per reason and include a clear call to action by either linking to the product/service page or to an enquiry form.

For startups.

Keyword research for startups tends to be a little bit more difficult because startups tend to disrupt the market. But this doesn’t mean there are no opportunities to leverage comparison search intent – quite the exact opposite!

Key things to getting started:

  • Who are you disrupting against?
  • What are the problems you’re solving?
  • How are you making it better/easier/cheaper for customers?
How to publish content that captures compare search intent:

Step 1: Make a list of your direct and indirect competitors.

Step 2: Make a list of features, benefits, and pricing.

Step 3: Segment features into problems that they solve.

Step 4: Collect customer testimonials and segment them into the problem that your service solved.

Step 5: Compare features, benefits, and pricing. Visual aids are highly recommended.

Step 6: Highlight why your solution is better, include customer testimonials, and include a clear call to action for the user to try out your service.

Step 7: Update the information as competitors bring new features to the market.

Final words.

Every single word that you publish on your website must serve a purpose.

Many of your webpages need not be tied to a conversion value.

Yes, building out these pages will cost considerable time and money.

Yes, it may take a few iterations to get the content right.

And yes, some of these pages may flop!

But each page on your website should offer better value than the information your competitors produce.

This is how you can win at content marketing.

Want to learn how to apply SEO like this?

For years I have recommended clients to invest in customer education to showcase their expertise. So watch me practice what I preach by showing you the exact process I deploy for my clients.

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