What Is Cornerstone Content and Why Is It Important?

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What Is Cornerstone Content and Why Is It Important?
24 September 2021
For quite a long time now, Google has been appreciating websites with unique, quality content. However, it’s obvious that not all of your blog posts can be ranked first. After all, you probably don’t care about each piece of content the same way. To devise an appropriate strategy, you can benefit from cornerstone content that combines content marketing and SEO. What is it and why is it so crucial?

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Cornerstone Content - What Is It?

Cornerstone is simply a kind of foundation that makes it possible to build structures. Therefore, cornerstone content is a type of content typical of a given website. It can properly present its subject matter, advocated values, and meet the expectations of potential recipients. Does it mean that if you run a website (or even a blog) it automatically has cornerstone content? Not necessarily. Perhaps you’ll have to create it. Cornerstone content is high-quality, valuable and profound content that aims to drive traffic to your website or increase brand awareness by showing your audience what you actually have to offer. Thus, it’s about making sure that your key content is relevant to your business goals, builds your brand recognition, and attracts users who are potentially interested in your products or services.

What Can cornerstone Content Be Like?

Thanks to the fact that content doesn’t mean solely text, a quality report (if we're talking about industry-specific websites), an e-book guide, viral infographics, videos, or other PDF freebies encountered by people visiting your page can also be cornerstone content.

Cornerstone Content: What Can It Be?

It’s not It  can be
Website content you find interesting Content crucial for your website (maximally 4-5 articles, entries or PDFs)
The entire blog Selected blog posts
Table of contents/list of all articles Subpage with the most important entries
A ready strategy that doesn’t require further steps The basis of a strategy that will suggest which pieces of content are worthy of your attention and promotion
A simple recipe for Google traffic A tip telling you which subpages can help you generate the greatest traffic

Cornerstone Content - Why Is It So Important?

  • It’s a great strategic tool that will help you determine key activities,
  • Properly selected cornerstone content is a foundation based on which you can develop subsequent texts,
  • It helps to prioritize content marketing activities and mark texts that reflect the subject matter of your website,
  • It attracts a relevant target group potentially interested in offered services/products,
  • It’s SEO-friendly (we’ll discuss it in subsequent parts),
  • It improves brand recognition and customer trust,
  • It frequently supports other marketing activities. For example, it can be offered to those who decide to subscribe to your newsletter,
  • It indicates which internal linking strategy to follow and takes into account the interests of users.
Once your cornerstone content is determined, make sure that users can easily access it (benefit from link banners, CTAs, or proper navigation and place everything in visible locations so that users don’t have to click through various subpages). A positive first impression is of utmost importance in the case of cornerstone content. You should emphasize the professional approach of the company and show users that your website offers everything they’ve been looking for and it’s worth staying there for longer.

Cornerstone Content And SEO - One For All & All For One

It’s common knowledge that Google algorithms are fond of quality content and focus on aspects such as uniqueness, linguistic correctness, sources (understood as a kind of bibliography), lack of anonymity of the author, and relation of the content to user queries (to learn more about it, go to Ahrefs blog). Cornerstone content is the kind of content that has to meet all these criteria if you want it to rank high and be the business card of your site. Cornerstone content and SEO support each other. On the one hand, proper SEO optimization is essential if cornerstone content is supposed to generate traffic. Why should you need a business card if you don’t show it to anyone? On the other hand, profound, quality texts can decrease your bounce rate and keep users on the page for longer. Moreover, they’re in line with Google requirements and will translate into your satisfactory position in the search results. increase your visibility

Cornerstone Content In Three Simple Steps

1. Define what should be your cornerstone content

How to create cornerstone content for your website? No one knows your recipients as well as you do. Quality content should correspond to their needs. Therefore, ask yourself: what are the expectations of my recipients? How can I help them? What questions do they have and what answers do they need? Perhaps, you have solutions that could solve some of their problems? Find room for improvement and benefit from it. [caption id="attachment_43796" align="aligncenter" width="750"]cornerstone content in practice Search results page for the phrase "content marketing what is it”[/caption] As you can see, it’ll be hard to reach top positions for such a competitive, general phrase. However, you can always try to prepare a highly professional guide to content marketing that will make your website stand out from the crowd. What if recipients want to learn more or have specific questions? Dig deeper for greater results.

2. Analyze key phrases

Make sure that the selected cornerstone content attracts the attention of recipients. Check the volume of specific phrases and evaluate potential competitiveness. For keyword analysis, you can benefit from tools such as Senuto, Semstorm, Ahrefs or even Google Search Console. Nevertheless, GSC is the best if your website already has some valuable content but you want to check which phrases should be refined and optimized. Complement the research by looking for article topic ideas with the help of Semstorm and AnswerThePublic. This way, you can also check which aspects of a given topic have been already discussed. [caption id="attachment_43091" align="aligncenter" width="377"]cornerstone content keyword analysis SEMSTORM - a keyword analysis tool[/caption]

3. Optimize content for SEO and recipients

Cornerstone content is meant to generate traffic, and traffic (i.e. the number of website visits) is meant to improve interest in your products or services. This, in turn, should ultimately increase your conversion rate. Therefore, each piece of content marked as a cornerstone has to be refined in every possible way. When it comes to recipients, follow all good content marketing practices (identify your target group and user personas, select communication channels), Titles should be catchy and related to the text, complement the content with appropriate images (preferably not stock photos, but interesting infographics or screenshots). Once you analyze keywords, incorporate them naturally into the text, without disturbing its reception. As far as SEO is concerned, conduct appropriate keyword analysis, optimize content and ensure correct linking to cornerstone content. It has to be visible in the site architecture, therefore, it needs to be the basis of internal linking (both on the landing page and other thematically related subpages). Optimize the title, headers, or alt texts. Remember about external linking and all elements that help to create SEO-friendly content. Make your page as responsive and adjusted to mobile devices as possible (it’s a real must-have in the era of the Mobile-First Index).

Examples Of The Finest Cornerstone Content

Now you know what cornerstone content is and why it’s so important. It’s time to see it in real life. Let’s assume that you run an online store with furniture for children's rooms. Your blog (apart from guides or top product rankings) abounds in news and lifestyle posts. You can probably guess that the people who came to your site attracted by individual industry-specific posts aren't particularly interested in making a purchase or don’t even have children. Therefore, your cornerstone content should comprise profound guides that can be displayed as a featured snippet and texts that guide users on how to furnish a child’s room. [caption id="attachment_43798" align="aligncenter" width="750"]cornerstone content in featured snippet example Search results for the phrase "what furniture to choose for the kid room"[/caption] Take analogous steps if you run a content marketing company. In this case, key content marketing terms, dictionaries, or guides such as “how to write..” should be a real smash hit. [caption id="attachment_43803" align="aligncenter" width="750"]cornerstone content example glossary SEO/SEM Glossary by Delante[/caption]

What Should Proper Cornerstone Content Be Like? A 9 Point Checklist

  • Top-quality - it presents your brand as an expert that can be trusted.
  • Valuable - without duplicate content, plagiarism, or pointless cliches. It should answer questions asked by users. Avoid hundreds of advertisements and unnatural keywords.
  • Accessible - it's supposed to reach users at the very top of the sales funnel, so it has to be free, accessible, and visible. Don't place it on the tenth subpage or in the link separated from the site architecture.
  • Optimized - SEO is the basis when it comes to cornerstone content. Remember about both on-site and off-site activities.
  • Based on key phrases - keyword analysis is a must if you want to create content that is valuable for both users and search engine robots.
  • Presentable - it should correspond to your business activity, improve your brand image and make a positive impression.
  • Comprehensive - it needs to be a real compendium of knowledge and a trustworthy source of information.
  • Competitive and innovative - make sure that it’s unique and one-of-a-kind. It should attract users and be ranked higher than existing texts.
  • Niche - if a given topic was thoroughly analyzed by everyone, find a niche and focus on it (or create a piece of content special enough to make you stand out from the crowd!).

The Takeaway

Finally, let’s note that creation (or selection - if your page already has content) of cornerstone content isn’t the end of the adventure! If you care about specific texts, promote them online (benefit from newsletters, social media, Google Ads campaigns, or link building). Once all of this is done, continuously nurture your cornerstone content: update it when necessary, don’t let recipients forget about it, and link to it whenever possible. Cornerstone content is meant to be the foundation of your content strategy - take care of it.
Author
Logo Delante
Author
Delante

Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

Author
Logo Delante
Author
Delante

Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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