This Type Of Content Will Make You Irresistible To Google

Cornerstone content is just that, the cornerstones in which your content is structured.

Or to put it another way, if your basic blog is your foundation, Cornerstone content is the pillars that hold everything up/together.  Which is probably why it’s also called Pillar Content.

But what does that really mean?

Have you ever come across a really good site and got there because you found a huge article that had a ton of information?  An article that links off to other articles and keeps you wanting more and more?  That’s a cornerstone piece.  It’s a large article centered around a specific topic, the core of that topic.  They use that as a hub, to then link off to their other pieces of content that go into greater detail.

How genius is that?  I mean, you’re not only going to provide your readers with really great, meaty information, but you’re exposing them to other articles that you’ve written that they will most likely be interested in.

I can think of a few sites that do this really, really well.  I’ve spent 30 minutes just digging into different things because the content was so focused around my interest. Here are a few more reasons:

1. IT’S THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR BLOGS FOCUS.

2. IT HELPS YOU BECOME AN AUTHORITY.

3. IT HELPS YOUR PAGES RANK FOR KEYWORDS.

When I first started blogging, there was no such thing as cornerstone content.  Today is a totally different story.

Today, it is an essential part of your blog and one that I often see bloggers ignore.  It takes time to set up cornerstone content the right way, but when you do, it pays off big time.

 

What does Cornerstone Content Do?

It does a number of things for you including:

1. Brings new visitors to your site, and keeps them wanting more.

2. It’s a great way to generate inbound links.

3. It’s key to getting more sign up for your email list.

4. This type of content is an amazing way to highlight archived content.

5. Gives you so many ways to highlight products and/or services again and again.

Who should create Cornerstone Content?

You, you, and you! Cornerstone content isn’t just for a specific type of blog or niche.  Literally, every blogger should be creating this stuff.  It is one of the best things you can do for your blog and it’s so often overlooked.

Think about it.  You’re writing blog post after blog post and you’re getting nowhere.  You get readers sure, but they often leave and never come back.  It could be for a number of reasons, but if you give them a reason to come back in the first place, you never have to worry about the reasons they don’t come back again.

When should you create Cornerstone Content?

Now.  Whether you’ve been blogging for a while, or you’re just starting your blog.  It should be the FIRST thing you write.  That’s exactly how I started this blog.  While my Mommy Blogs It focuses on blogging as a whole, there are 5 main categories that I wanted to focus on: Starting a Blog, Blog Promotion, Blog Content, SEO for Bloggers and Blog Design & Functionality.

Keywords

Keywords are the biggest unseen reason that you’ll write cornerstone content.

You’re writing this content because you want it to rank in search engines because you WANT people to find you. (And love your stuff.)

So once you decide on the main focus areas of your blog You’re going to outline a piece of cornerstone content for each focus area.

Headline + SEO Title

You probably already know that this is a big one since you want to rank in search engines for your cornerstone content piece. Did you know that you can have 2 different titles for one blog post and that you should?  You have one title that everyone sees, the one you promote and that shows on your blog.  The other title is the one that search engines see.  The title that is search engine friendly.

Why is this important?  

Sometimes what appeals to search engines won’t appeal to readers (or potential readers) in the same way.  You never want to be deceptive, but you want to make sure that you’re using titles that are catchy to your readers and titles that contain your keywords in your SEO title.

For more good stuff on basic SEO for bloggers check this out.

Introduction

So the body text of cornerstone content defies pretty much everything you’ve ever been told about writing online.  While you’ve probably heard time and time again that each article you publish should be short, simple, digestible content, the content for your cornerstone pieces should be long and meaty.

A good length is over 1000 words, but realistically, you’re looking at about 2000-3000 words.  You want to make sure that you cover all the general points that you need to cover while providing information that your readers need.

Which brings us to:

Subheads

Subheads are great for a couple of reasons.

They break up your long content and make it easier to read.
They do some extra SEO work behind the scenes.

Subheads help tell Google and other search engines more about the content you’re writing.  It’s a great way for some on-page SEO.  Essentially, you’ve told search engines what you’re article is about with the SEO title, and keywords, but you’re further verifying to search engines what it’s about when you’re using subheads.

Note: Make sure you only use H1 for your title, all other subheads should be H2 or higher (H3, H4…), based on importance.

For more on subheads check out this handy-dandy article. 

Media

Media is a big part of cornerstone content.  You want to make sure that each piece is visually appealing and keeps the reader wanting more.  Think of it as a story, a picture book.  Where you can add anything you want.  Images, video, quotes and even audio.

Bullet Points + Lists

So bullet points and lists do a number of things.  Including:

– They break up the content

– For readers who scan content, they draw their attention.

– They give you a different way to point out vital elements you want to get across.

(I suppose this is technically a list within a list… listception?)

Conclusion

Give readers a breakdown of what you’ve gone over.  This can be a shorter section, but make sure that you cover all the key points.  (Note, see our “Key Takeaways” section for an example!)

Call to Action

And finally, ask your readers to do something.  Ask them to take action.  Whether it’s a question or an email opt-in, make sure that you include something to allow them to engage with you.

Bonus Tip: Cornerstone content is always Evergreen Content.

What is that?  Evergreen content is content that is ALWAYS relevant.  It doesn’t have a specific time period it’s good for.  It’s just amazing, basic information that never goes away.  You may have to tweak it from time to time, but the core of the content is always relevant.

Example: Let’s pretend you’re a fashion blogger.  A great Cornerstone content piece could be “Wardrobe essentials for the young professional.” And inside it you’ve shared some essentials that every young professional needs.  You’ll explain the who, what, where, why and how.  From that piece, every time you have another piece like “Fall fashion finds for 2017” you can go and update the original Cornerstone content piece to link to your new post.

33 comments

  • This was super informative! And so well displayed! Of course you seem to be the expert so you probably already knew that, but it’s still nice to hear every once and a while. How does one make two titles because I did notice this was a problem when transferring my content to Flipboard, my blog titled “3 Ways to Ask Yourself Whats the Problem” was categorized as “fish”. No one trying to learn management tips or processes will ever think to look under the category of fish.

    Again this is an amazingly informative post!

  • This is great! I’ll be checking out your other SEO stuff in a little bit. I need to work on SEO thos year so I’m super excited that you habe all of this together. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  • Thanks for this, Catrina. I’m at a loss what sort of topic I could use for a cornerstone post, but I love the idea. The general theme of my website is “Write to Inspire” but that goes in all directions. What, where, when, why and how to write etc. I’m going to work on figuring out a cornerstone post. Instead of my posts branching out from the cornerstone, I think I need to figure out where they all work TO.

    • Shirly,

      I think you just narrowed it down. Why not create your cornerstone content on the What Where When Why and How to write? Keep it broad and cover as much as you can – then dig deeper into detail with your smaller posts. 🙂 Thanks for the comment! And happy to give you some more ideas!

  • You are so right that while you are writing it is wise to think how you can naturally link it to other posts. We all add internal links and what I have found to be most successful for the click is linking to phrase not a word . Very helpful

  • Thanks so much for this great article. I’ve noticed that WordPress now lets you point out one article as a cornerstone, but I wasn’t sure what that meant. I thought it was enough to choose one of your best articles, but now I see it’s much more complex.
    I will certainly try to craft mine.

  • I have read a lot of material about blogging lately, since I am trying to start one. This is the first time I’ve heard the term cornerstone content mentioned. When. I started planning, I had circles and spokes between topics and central pages, similar to what you talk about. Very helpful!

  • What I’ve always wondered with cornerstone content is … which comes first? Should I write the huge cornerstone piece first and add in links as I write related posts? Or, should I write the smaller posts first so I have internal links available for the cornerstone content when it is published? For example, I’m a travel blogger, and I want to share an overall destination guide for where to stay, dine, and play in a city as my cornerstone content. Do I write that first? Or do I first write my hotel review, restaurant reviews/dining guide, and “five things to do in …”? Does it matter for SEO purposes which one is published first?

  • Fabulous post. I am especially grateful for your input on the topic of cornerstone content. I never really understood it. So if you’re doing a new series, you could have the key post as the cornerstone post right? But you will have more than one cornerstone on a website which covers various topics? My latest post: How do you keep on top of the craziness of blogs and writing? My tip is on Thankful Thursday Week 12

    • Hi Shirley! That’s a great example, and I think you could expand upon it. So your cornerstone piece wouldn’t be JUST for the series your creating. Instead it would be for this series, and another a year from now, and for one-off posts in between. The cornerstone piece should be a core focus area for your blog. Does that make sense?

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