Ultimate Guides: What They Are, How They Work & How To Make One That Doesn’t Suck
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One of the main reasons folks look up stuff online is to get answers.
Businesses understand this, resulting in big and small businesses relying on content as a marketing strategy.
That is why you see so many ultimate guides when looking up questions.
Let’s look at what you can do to outshine many of these so-called ultimate guides and how you can get inspiration from them to be even better.
Table Of Contents
What Is an Ultimate Guide?
If you have ever needed a question answered online, you’ve probably come across a web page calling itself an ultimate guide for your answer.
These web pages are helpful resources meant to give more than just a quick answer to a question.
Ultimate guides provide massive value to the reader by covering details usually deemed unimportant compared to a straight and simple solution.
What Is the Purpose of an Ultimate Guide?
The purpose of an ultimate guide depends on if you’re the reader or the writer of the article.
For readers, ultimate guides are more than just a blog post or simple review.
Something calling itself an ultimate guide implies that the article covers details needed to help someone make a complex decision or build something more advanced than a simple blog post could cover.
Meanwhile, writers create ultimate guides to help their audience, build authority, and create content that a search engine will recommend to others.
These guides are great for content marketing, sharing on social media, and evergreen content on a website.
Why You Should Create an Ultimate Guide
If you love helping or teaching readers and have visitors coming to your website, an ultimate guide is great content to get up for others to see.
With how big these projects can be, having a desire to teach or explain advanced subjects helps with motivation.
A comprehensive guide does well in search engine results outside of personal satisfaction.
Ultimate guides tend to bring several high-traffic keywords that readers are likely to search for online to answer their questions.
Creating content that ranks high in one or more of these keywords helps a website or business show up more often to others.
Finally, an ultimate guide is a great resource to recommend a new visitor to your website.
By creating an ultimate guide, you can build authority on a topic and generate a resource you can link back to time and again for new visitors.
How To Pick a Topic for an Ultimate Guide
If you want to start writing a complete guide and don’t know where to start, here are some places you could get inspiration:
Choose a Topic You Know About
Teaching what you know is the best place to start for ultimate guides.
If you have a job that others are interested in, creating an ultimate guide about your job would give you a way to write something you know about without trouble.
Plus, it is easier to stay motivated for a project within your knowledge base.
Instead of learning about the subject, you can instead focus on creating a guide that is easy to read and understand.
Choose a Topic With High Search Traffic
If you want to increase the traffic coming onto your website, creating an ultimate guide around a high-traffic keyword will help your business.
High traffic keywords refer to words that show up in search queries more often, represented by the number of times that term is searched for in a day, week, or month.
Google Analytics and other traffic counters are powerful tools for finding these high-traffic keywords.
Seeing some of these with a low competition score in your field could be a great place to pick a topic for your ultimate guide.
Choose a Topic That’s Trending
A search result can show up in someone’s results for two reasons: because the content is relevant to the search query or because the item is trending on that keyword.
Taking advantage of a trend for an ultimate guide can create a burst of initial traffic while the trend is still happening.
During the design process for this kind of guide, you’ll want to look at trends on analytic tools and social media sites.
These places analyze trends and provide information about what people currently find interesting.
The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Ultimate Guide
Once you have a topic you want to cover, the next part is to create the ultimate guide.
Without going into the different styles an ultimate guide can come in, we have some tips on how to make the most ultimate of ultimate guides out there.
Have a Purpose (Beyond Ranking)
Even if the initial reason you wanted to make an ultimate guide is to have your website show up more in search results, don’t treat the writing process like that.
Search engines reward content that people enjoy and respond well to regardless of keyword stuffing or any other tactic some sites use to draw in search traffic.
When writing the guide, have some other purpose other than showing up in Google results.
Show readers that you want to answer their questions.
Building authority takes something more genuine than just slapping keywords together into a jumble of words to satisfy a search engine optimization (SEO) tool.
Choose Your Keyword
When you find your topic, check what keywords are related to that topic you can include within the guide.
Not every keyword you come across will work well within the guide, but seeing what options you have will give you another way to figure out how to structure your guide.
This tidbit is why keyword research is essential for building larger content pieces.
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is research done to find relevant and high-traffic keywords for a topic.
Conducting keyword research involves several tactics, including using SEO tools, reviewing trending topics on analytic sites and social media, and reviewing the search intent behind those keywords.
Why Is Keyword Research Important?
Valuable content for readers involves taking the keywords found during keyword research and putting them into a helpful guide.
When you blend keywords with an understanding of search intent, you can craft your guide to answer the questions readers have in mind when looking up their questions.
Answering questions for search queries builds authority, making it more likely that first-time visitors become repeat visitors or customers for businesses.
Scope Out the Not-So-Ultimate Guides
You will not be the first person to try and write a guide for your topic.
That’s not a bad thing, though! You can review these guides to see where they are lacking and try to fill in the gaps for your content.
You see, content online is an evolving process.
As more people contribute to the conversation around a topic, the more refined new content can get by improving on what came before.
You have a chance to be one of those providers of fresh and better guides by taking what folks did before and improving on it.
How you improve things depends on where the gaps are.
Providing more straightforward explanations, referencing new data, or covering more details can improve the content that came before you and help make your guide the new ultimate guide on the subject.
Survey Your Audience
If you already have an audience or customer base, you might have one of the best resources available to figure out how to craft your ultimate guide.
Audiences love to give feedback to the businesses that cater to them since an audience only sticks around for what they like.
Use that audience to your advantage.
While polling your readers or customers about new ideas can work, predicting their needs is even better.
If you find that readers or customers in your niche talk about something often or mention that finding the answer to a question is tough, you can provide a guide that satisfies those answers without saying it beforehand!
Include Case Studies, Examples, and Statistics
While some people can be convinced with just words, data is better at showing readers how what you say is true.
Whenever you can, use case studies, data, or examples to show how following your advice gives the reader’s desired results.
You can find case studies for some extreme examples to include in your guide.
If you can find an example where someone’s outcome totally changes, you prove to the reader that your advice works well!
Make It Actionable
Once you provide all of these answers, case studies, and information to the reader, you’ll want to guide them to something they can do to start working with what you provide them.
Giving the reader an actionable step to take gives them the next step they need to take without being naggy.
For businesses, this probably means a call to action involving your services or products, which is great! Ultimate guides are a good way to show your expertise and convince new customers without having to persuade them yourself.
For other websites, this is your chance to link to other, more specific guides you have created in the past and create an interlinked map on your website.
These links help keep readers on your website longer, an analytic that search engines highly value when deciding what websites get recommended to visitors.
Examples of Great Ultimate Guides
Are you looking for examples of excellent ultimate guides? Check out these resources on various topics.
The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Illustrating Your First Children’s Book – Eevi Jones
As one of the best resources for writing children’s books, this ultimate guide offers almost 60 pages of information from starting to finishing the process of making a children’s book.
Any question you might have is answered in this PDF, showing the power of what an ultimate guide can do to make a writer look like a pro.
The Ultimate Guide to Building A Profitable Community From Scratch – Diana Tower
This ultimate guide on building a profitable online community is an excellent example of creating a guide that directly answers questions a reader might have.
While some guides will use questions they find as keywords or headlines, Diana uses them as links in her table of contents so you can jump to the answer you want right away.
The Ultimate Guide to Meditation for Programmers – Coding Mindfully
As coding becomes more necessary for businesses to function, more and more coders find they need a way to relax.
This guide gives computer coders a resource they can use to meditate and destress to better tackle the problems they solve.
This guide blends all of the tactics we tackled earlier to create a welcoming guide that doesn’t try to overwhelm the reader with info.
Instead, it explains the whys and hows of meditation and how programmers can benefit from what the blog offers.
Ultimate Guide FAQ
In case you need them, here are some answers to the common questions folks tend to have about creating an ultimate guide:
How long should my ultimate guide be?
An ultimate guide should be large enough to cover several in-depth details surrounding a question or keyword.
The most popular ultimate guides online tend to be thousands of words long with chapters or links to other web pages on the website as a reference.
How do I distribute my ultimate guide to my target audience?
Organic search results are the best traffic source for ultimate guides, meaning you’ll have to spend time on keyword research and work with an SEO tool to ensure your ultimate guide shows up on Google.
Otherwise, email lists for readers or customers can be a great way to let your audience know you have something big out for them!
Should I create more than one ultimate guide for my website?
Ultimate guides can take a lot of work and tend to be all-encompassing.
Unless you work in a broad field, you might find that more than one of your ultimate guides competes with traffic for the others.
At what part of the funnel are ultimate guides most useful?
Ultimate guides are a great way to build your business or website awareness.
Using an ultimate guide to guide new readers or customers to your services is a great way to build up your clientele and generate revenue.
Ultimate guides exist to cover a topic in-depth and give as many answers as possible.
For readers, these guides are displays of knowledge and authority.
For websites, these guides are a great way to build website traffic.
If you want to craft an ultimate guide for yourself, review the tips we laid out here and keep them in mind as you draft up some ideas.
With some patience and hard work, you could have your ultimate guide showing up in search results everywhere!