Cornerstone content is not a new concept. It is an important SEO technique that is increasingly being used. Cornerstone content has a strong focus on the search terms that are most important to you – the cornerstones of your site – to strengthen the foundation of your online construction. It also offers a way for new and underperforming websites to get an SEO boost for google findability. Do you want to give your website an SEO boost? Then read our brief tutorial about cornerstone content.
Cornerstone content for a strong foundation and working towards an SEO momentum. Cornerstone content is a concept that new and existing websites need to stand out. We will look at what this type of content is exactly, how it differs from the regular content, why it is important and how it can be implemented in your content marketing strategy. Let’s start.
What is Cornerstone Content?
These are usually articles with a longer shape that look more like manuals than “Regular blog posts”. They should elaborate on key concepts of your niche and be able to highlight numerous sub-topics. Here is a brief overview of how cornerstone content is created.
You consider with which main search terms you want your site to score. Find 3 to 5 search terms that you want to target with your website. You then write one cornerstone article for each search term/topic you want to focus on. Do not use this search term prominently on other pages or blogs of your site.
All other content that you create for your site must be related to one of the cornerstone articles. It is also valuable to include a link in the “Secondary” content to the relevant cornerstone article so that Google knows that it is important and that your visitor can gain more depth in terms of information. Your main SEO goal for creating this type of content is to get higher rankings for the most important search terms and better overall performance.
A search term cloud for inspiration for your site. This example is about sea fishing (source: answer the public)
Examples of Cornerstone Content:
Let us use as an example a website about marine fishing, which wants to appeal to the niche and to inform you about the fishing discipline to the smallest detail. This site must rank on the following main search terms:
- where sea fishing from the shore
- what does sea fishing cost
- when sea fishing
- sea fishing what do you need
Here are a few examples of cornerstone content titles for these main search terms:
- What does a day of sea fishing cost?
- When can I fish?
- Where in the Netherlands can I fish from the shore?
- What equipment do I need to go to sea fishing?
These main topics can generate dozens of sub-topics, including:
- At which tide do you have to fish?
- Which braided line for sea fishing?
- Sea fishing with which bait?
And much more…
All of these underlying blog ideas must relate to at least one of the above cornerstone articles, so you can build a strong internal link structure quite easily. Again, none of these blogs should focus on key search terms from your cornerstones. In other words: there must only be one single page that is prominently devoted to marine fish equipment. Let us examine the reason why this strategy is important so that we can explain it a little better. We will then discuss how you can implement cornerstone content on your site.
Why is Cornerstone Content Important?
Content marketing and SEO are intertwined and domain authority has always been an important aspect of SEO. That is why many SEO experts advise producing more extensive and specialist content that goes beyond what other sites do. It makes your site stand out as an authoritative presence in the eyes of google.
The whole concept behind cornerstone content is intended to establish your site as an authority in your niche so that the rest of your content also gets higher and higher rankings. What you could do is spend more time, research and maybe even spend money on producing 3 to 5 cornerstone articles that have sufficient authoritarian power. This is how you “Apply” to the search engine for higher rankings for your competitive search terms.
The main purpose of Google is to lead users to the highest quality articles with every new update it releases for its algorithm. This is why short articles filled with generic, poorly written content filled with every available search term are no longer sufficient. Google wants real content written by real experts.
What is the Difference Between Cornerstone Content and “Normal Content”?
So if high-quality, well-written, long articles score better in Google, why not treat all articles as cornerstone content? The answer lies in the way Google crawls and indexes your site. In this article, Google himself explained how Google Search organizes information.
Google uses web crawler software to “crawl” your site. It opens every link that you insert on every page and processes every extra page to which these links lead. A good structure for cornerstone content looks like this:
Google takes note of certain signals when your website is crawled. These signals include the search terms used on each page, how relevant the content is to the most used keywords, how current the information is and more. When Google indexes a web page, it is added to various listings based on the keywords it contains. The better you comply with Google’s ranking signals and the more authority there is in your content, the higher your site will eventually be placed in the rankings for the search terms you want to target.
Let us discuss some tips on how you can implement this type of content on your site.
How Do You Create a Cornerstone Content Strategy?
Are you ready to apply a cornerstone content strategy to your site? Then the following issues come into play.
- 3-5 main search terms with which your site must rank.
- Main subject ideas for every search term.
- A well-written, long article for every subject. Note that quality must be paramount. An article of 100 words can sometimes tell more than an article of 10,000 words. Sometimes you are simply talking about a theme. Keep it knowledgeable and natural.
- Dozens of related messages.
- A link to a cornerstone article in every related blog.
This is a general cornerstone content strategy. The way you implement this strategy depends on how new your website is, but more importantly, how much content is already on it. Let us split this strategy into parts.
Choose the Most Important Search Terms:
For New Sites or Sites With Little Content:
If your site is new or if you have not created much content, you must first conduct an extensive search term search to determine which search terms your site should be classified. You can use a number of free tools, such as Ubersuggest. Some time ago everyone could use the Google Keyword Planner tool; nowadays you need to have a Google Ads account.
Remember that cornerstone content must be one of the top pages that you want to show your new visitors or according to your specific niche. This content must display the most important pieces of information. Think of your own niche and the most important concepts that new members may have to learn to get started. Write down each category and write down every keyword that you find relevant.
For Websites With a Lot of Existing Content:
If you have a lot of existing content that is already being indexed by Google, use an SEO tool such as Ahrefs, SEMRush or MOZ to see for which search terms you are already in the picture. Do you see the most important search terms that should be the cornerstones for your website? Then it makes sense to revise your current content situation. Is an existing page already found on an important search term? Then check whether the content in question is qualitative and provides adequate answers to all possible questions from the visitor.
Coming Up With Ideas & Writing Cornerstone Content:
This step also depends on how much content you have already written. If you have a new website that contains little to no content, you will have to come up with topics by brainstorming on the basis of your proposition and using an in-depth search term analysis. With certain content, you walk through it and see if your articles can be optimized and rewritten into cornerstone content. If this is not the case, you should also do some research into the search behavior of your potential visitors or customers.
You may have a format that you use for every blog that you publish, but we recommend that you do not (continue) to use that format for your cornerstone articles. Cornerstone publications are not blog posts. Ideally, you create “Static pages” for your cornerstones, instead of adding them to your blog.
Cornerstone articles form the foundation of your totality of content. Use pages instead of messages for this.
Are you inclined to use a strict number of words for your blog posts? Forget about that strategy. Consider quality, not quantity. Decide which topic or concept you are going to highlight and explain it in depth. No, you don’t have to write a novel about the subject, but you have to go further than you usually do, and more importantly, go further than your competitor.
If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, make sure you mark your cornerstone articles as cornerstone content, then Yoast will evaluate the cornerstone content in a different way.
If you have already installed and activated the Yoast SEO plugin, scroll down & mark the relevant page as cornerstone content.
Link Related Articles to Your Cornerstone Content:
This step depends on whether or not your site contains much existing content. Your primary goal should be to focus on writing content related to your cornerstone articles. Of course, you can also produce completely separate content, but by focusing on related themes, you can deploy your SEO and content marketing strategies much more efficiently.
If you have an existing website with a lot of content, it is difficult to manually trace all content that relates to your cornerstone articles. We now show you a handy method that you can use on google.
Track Related Existing Content on Your Site:
- Go to Google and enter “site: mijnsite.nl search term” in the search bar.
- Replace ‘mijnsite.nl’ with your domain (in our case wplounge.nl);
- and replace the ‘search term’ with one of your most important search terms.
Google now displays all URLs that are somewhat related to that specific search term. You can also use the internal link function of Yoast Premium (the paid version of the Yoast SEO plugin) for this.
Working on the Internal Link Structure of Your Site:
You must then link the related content to your cornerstone content so that Google crawlers are sent to your cornerstones. You will really have to invest time and creativity in working on the internal link structure of your site.
When you write a new related article for a cornerstone page, process a link to the relevant cornerstone content from that article. If you use Google’s list to find related content, add links to existing articles that Google displays in search results; if they are “really related”, not if the focus search term happens to be mentioned once.
Also, try to process links in your articles to your cornerstone content and other important elements of your website!
When you first plan to add targeted cornerstone content to your SEO strategy, it can be quite intimidating. After all, it takes a lot of time and effort and is anything but a quick win … We hope, however, that our tutorial has clarified this topic for you somewhat and helps you a bit with the implementation.
Timeless Valuable Content:
Ideally, the cornerstone page that you create should always provide useful information, so timeless. The information must be relevant whether you read it tomorrow or in two years. This means that you also have to schedule the necessary maintenance for your content. Check occasionally if the information in your cornerstone is still relevant.
Good luck and have fun with your online adventure and goals!