What is Cornerstone Content
According to Google, they don’t use word count as a ranking factor. However, it’s recommended to use long-form content for your cornerstone content.
This post explains everything you need to know about cornerstone content, the meaning, its importance, and how to write it.
What is Cornerstone Content?
Cornerstone content is the type of content you want your website to rank for in the search engines. The content is often lengthy and contains the essential information and pages on your website.
Usually, the pillar content contains all vital information regarding a specific topic. The content also covers different aspects related to similar blog posts. Within this content, the aim isn’t to sell any products or services but rather to offer insights into your business.
Cornerstone content is what can help businesses drive traffic to their website. Simply put, the foundational content helps brands build authority in their field.
The foundational content shouldn’t force your visitors to buy a product or service. Instead, it should make the readers feel confident about interacting and spending their hard earnt money with your company.
Importance of Cornerstone Content
By now, you’re most probably wondering why cornerstone content is important.
Cornerstone content serves the purpose of guiding new visitors to your site. If you’ve visited a website that lacks structure, then you will understand the importance of getting this right.
You should be able to give readers an overview of what your niche is about. It helps you create an introduction to all the topics you will discuss within the rest of the pages. Your regular visitors may already know what your website is about, but new visitors don’t. The content acts as a compass to guide them.
Cornerstone content is important for SEO. Let’s admit it; it can be challenging to rank for specific keywords. If you create many related articles, all linking to the main article, it notifies Google, which is vital for the readers. This way, it’s possible to rank for some of the keywords that seem almost impossible to tackle.
Here are some other reasons why you need this type of content.
- Drive traffic to your website
- Establish authority in your field
- It helps you in building natural links
- You can repurpose the content into other formats
- Enhances brand awareness
Types of Cornerstone Content
Any content can work well and of course, the exact type will depend on your business and your strategy. I would suggest firstly building great text copy for your webpages but then perhaps also think about:
How to Create Cornerstone Content
Follow these tips if you want to succeed in ranking some of those seemingly difficult keywords in your niche.
Topic and format
The first step when creating cornerstone content is determining the topic and format. You need to understand your audience well so that you give them the information they need. It implies that you have to go over and beyond to understand what your audience is looking for.
You also have to go ahead and do your due diligence to see if your competitors answer the queries. It can be extremely difficult to penetrate a competitive market unless you have something unique to help you outrank the others.
Upon understanding the topic to cover, think about the most searched queries but aren’t well answered. You also need to conduct thorough research so that you have something new to offer your readers. Competitor research is also crucial at this point so that you fill in the gaps they have left. This falls in as part of my SEO Services.
Finally, determine which format you want to deliver the content to your audience. You can decide to create a how-to guide, a video, a podcast, or even a free application to help your readers.
The first step if you want to optimize your cornerstone content is extensive keyword research. You also need to place the keywords naturally throughout the content. The best practice is to have the main keywords on the title tags and the referring URLs. This way, Google can determine which keywords you are implying to be ranked for. It’s also important to have the keywords placed naturally all through the content.
Notably, it would be best if you targeted your website’s primary keywords within the cornerstone content. Remember, foundational content is long and takes a lot of time to produce. It’s therefore important to add value to your site using this content.
Title tags and headlines
Title tags are HTML elements that specify the title of any web page. When you search a page on the web, the title tags appear as the clickable headlines on the SERPs. Search engines only want to show the audience relevant searches. With this knowledge, you need to create content that contains well-optimized title tags. In other words, the title tags for your cornerstone content should contain phrases that readers search for online.
Headlines within the content should be so that the reader feels you will answer their query exhaustively. Optimize the headlines such that they contain keyword phrases that readers will actually search for when looking for information.
Site navigation and internal linking
Visitors should see the content immediately after clicking through your homepage. You should also cross-reference the content to create authority. This means that you should link the main article to other related content on the website. You also need to link back the related articles to the pillar content.
Creating the cornerstone content is one thing but having content that is easy to navigate and link to is another. You need to ensure that the website is easily navigable, especially when readers want to click on other related content.
The cornerstone content should appear on the navigation menu such that it’s easy for the visitors to locate it within a few clicks. The easier it is to navigate through the most relevant content, the more clicks it gets and the easier it is to rank.
Instead of using the main website menu, you can also have a different navigation menu for the cornerstone content. Below the content, you can then have the rest of the related posts.
It also means that you cannot use naked links for internal linking. It would be best if you used descriptive anchor texts such that the reader can already tell what to expect from the next page.
Google favours this type of content as it makes it easier for the crawl bots to determine the most important information. It also makes it easier for the readers as they know where to click to find detailed information regarding a certain topic.
Make the content evergreen
Cornerstone content should remain evergreen. Simply put, this type of content ought to remain fresh at all times. Some content becomes outdated after some time, such as political news. You don’t want your foundational content to become obsolete as it’s the pillar of your website.
You can easily create evergreen content by answering frequently asked questions. These are questions relevant to your readers at all times. Another way to create content that remains relevant is to explain technical stuff typical in your niche. Technical explanations can remain evergreen compared to other types of content. Common technical explanations are usually in the form of how-to guides.
Create supporting content
A cornerstone type of content is incomplete without the supporting content. You see, the foundational content acts as an overview of all the pages. You now need to go ahead and create deeper content on each subtopic to support the leading articles.
While the cornerstone content often takes the long-form format, you can write the sub-topics in fewer words. For example, if the cornerstone content is about 2,000 words, the related content can range between 800 – 1000 words.
Use the content to get shares, backlinks, and leads
Write the content in such a way that it attracts more visitors to your site. To generate quality leads, you can place a contact form at the bottom of the cornerstone content. The leads you acquire from such an endeavour can become potential customers in the future.
Always ensure that you have the social icons on every page on your website. If your pillar pages are resourceful, your readers will find the need to share with their friends and family on social media. It’s also worth noting that Google uses social signals to rank pages.
You can also boost your SEO using the cornerstone content. In your search for backlinks, you may write guest posts. Linking your main pages to the guest posts can boost your SEO a great deal. Besides, having well-written long-form content answering most of the queries by customers can help you acquire backlinks. Yes, you heard that right! Other authoritative pages will link to your pillar content if it relates to their content.
Maintain your pages with regular updates so that they remain fresh for the targeted audience. If you already have evergreen content, you don’t have to update the content, but you can improve the user experience. This implies constantly changing the style, fonts, colours, and layout of the page.
Create the content as a page and not a post
If you use WordPress like most bloggers, then you know that you can post content as a page or as a post. You see, when you format content as a post, it tends to become outdated, and readers may assume it. The more you update your website with posts, the more, the older ones tend to become forgotten.
On the other hand, pages tend to remain static and relevant as long as the website exists. If you had already posted your cornerstone content as a post, it’s not too late to convert it into a page. Many free plugins can help you do this seamlessly.
There should also be a hierarchy of posts and pages on your website. The cornerstone content should appear top of the order, followed by the other related pages. This strategy not only acts as a compass for your readers but also Google. The crawl bots can tell what pages to give priority and those to give the least importance.
Add images to the cornerstone content
Images not only make your content appealing, but they also help in ranking your content. Images also help your reader understand the content better. When adding images, it’s essential to also alt texts: HTML snippets that describe the image.
The presence of well-optimized images within your cornerstone content helps Google rank your pages and also allows readers to decode the message better.
In a Nutshell
Cornerstone content acts as the foundational stones used when constructing a house. The content helps create brand awareness, convey important information, and lays a foundation for other related content. When producing cornerstone content, it’s essential to ensure you choose evergreen topics, add appropriate links to related pages, optimize images, and format the content as a page instead of a post.