What is Cornerstone Content and How to Use it

Cornerstone Content is a term you may have seen mentioned in SEO. However, many people don’t know what it is, how it works, or how it can aid your website. Here at Rank Movers, we decided to put together a little guide on Cornerstone Content. Hopefully, it will assist with your understanding of the topic, as well as provide you with the knowledge needed on how to begin implementing it. Keep in mind though, like any proper SEO technique; it will take time and lots of work to implement correctly and start seeing the results.

Cornerstone Content Guide

What is Cornerstone Content?

So, let’s begin with going through exactly what the term ‘Cornerstone Content’ refers to. This is used to describe the main foundation pages of your site. These pages are the most important articles on your website, besides your homepage of course. Normally you will find that Cornerstone pages are longer than your average page and very well written.

The purposes of these pages are to perfectly explain your business or the purpose of your website. Normally you will find that most websites will have between three and five pages that they designate as their Cornerstone content. It doesn’t matter whether these articles are created as Pages or Posts, but the authors will need to regularly update them to make sure they remain as relevant as possible.

Why is Cornerstone Content Important?

When it comes to creating an SEO strategy for your website, the use of Cornerstone Content can play a big role in a successful strategy. As anyone who has worked in SEO before will know, when your site is small, it is very difficult to compete for the most desirable keywords out there. This makes life very difficult for smaller and newer sites.

However, correctly incorporating Cornerstone Content into your SEO strategy can definitely help with this. It is not magic and will not instantly rocket your website to the top of Google, but it can help.

In addition to this, as your site grows, you will write more and more pages. Inevitably, many of these pages will cover a similar topic to others. This can then lead to your own pages working against each other and cannibalising your own rankings. No one wants that. Once again, this is where Cornerstone Content comes in to play. If used correctly, it will be able to indicate to Google, or other search engines, which pages are the most important.

Basic Rules for Creating Cornerstone Content

Now, before we go deeper and begin looking at how you choose what pages to designate, there are a few other basic rules we quickly want to cover. The first is that your Cornerstone Content needs to be towards the top of your website’s content pyramid. In other words, the pages you decide to make cornerstone pages should be accessible directly from your homepage.

Secondly, in order for this to work, your linking needs to be done correctly. We need to be able to tell Google that the pages you want to be Cornerstone Content are more important than any other pages that cover a similar topic. How do we do this? With links of course. You need to make sure that all related pages link back to the main page in order to make sure Google understands which one it must give priority to.

How to use Cornerstone content in SEO

Choosing Your Cornerstones

So now that you should have a decent idea behind Cornerstone Content and how it works, it’s time to start implementing it. First things first, though, you’re going to need to identify which pages you want to designate as the cornerstones of your website. As we mentioned earlier, typically you will aim to have between three and five cornerstone pages. However, you can have more, or less, depending on the size of your website.

In order to identify the content, you are going to use; we recommend asking yourself the following questions.

  • Which pages do you consider to be most important to your website?
  • Which pages best meet your visitor’s needs?
  • Which pages best explain what you do?
  • Which pages are the most complete and carry the most authority?
  • If I had to explain my website to someone at a party, what would be the main topics I’d mention?

Once you have answered these questions, you should have a good idea of what pages you want to be your Cornerstone Content. These pages may already exist, or you may still need to write them.

Creating Your Cornerstone Content

Now that you know what pages are going to be your cornerstones, it’s time to start getting to work. Now, as mentioned earlier, what makes Cornerstone Content work is linking from related pages back to your primary page. So, it doesn’t matter what CMS you use, or what plugins you have available to you. As long as you do that, it will eventually begin to show positive results.

There are tools to assist you though, like Yoast. When it comes to Yoast, it has several features that will help you improve your Cornerstone Content. For starters, you can tell Yoast which pages you want to designate as Cornerstones. However, that alone won’t accomplish anything. It’s simply there to allow Yoast to assist you.

Once you’ve checked the box on the appropriate pages, you will be able to see the list of cornerstone content in your Pages and Posts overview. Yoast will also give these pages priority and remind you to link back to them whenever. This allows you to very quickly monitor how many outlinks the page has, as well as how many inlinks. Finally, because these pages are so important, Yoast will also be far stricter when it comes to readability and the SEO score. This should all come together to assist you with creating good Cornerstone Content.

Cornerstone Content – Step by Step Guide

Before we wrap up, here is a quick five-step guide on creating an effective Cornerstone Content strategy. Following this quick guide should put you and your website on the right track.

  • Step 1 – Choose your Keywords: The first step is choosing what keywords you want to target with your Cornerstone Content. You should select the most important keywords to your site, the keywords with the highest competition.
  • Step 2 – Finding your Pages: Next up is finding which pages or posts you are going to designate as Cornerstone Content. If your site is very new, you may still need to write the content.
  • Step 3 – Rewriting: If you’ve chosen an existing page to become one of your Cornerstone, you will probably need to do some rewrites. You need to make the page as SEO friendly as you can. We recommend you pay special attention to the readability and make use of numerous headings. As these pages can be quite long, you may also wish to include some form of index at the beginning of the page, to improve the user’s experience.
  • Step 4 – Work on Related Pages: Once you are satisfied with your main page, you will also need to work on improving all the pages you have written that are related to that topic. This will involve optimising them for long tail keyword variations related to the keyword your Cornerstone Content is targeting.
  • Step 5 – Linking: This is the most important part. Without the final step, everything else you have done will be in vain. You have to remember to link from your related pages back to the Cornerstone Content.

That’s a Wrap on Cornerstone Content

Cornerstone Content takes dedication and effort, but what in SEO doesn’t? You should now have a pretty good idea on how to select your cornerstones, optimise them, and make sure everything works as intended. We hope you found this blog helpful and we hope you will see the fruits of your labour soon.

Download our presentation on Cornerstone Content here.