“Cornerstone content” has become a bit of a buzzword in the online marketing world, and for good reason. Cornerstone pages can get your website more traffic through search engines and inbound links.
A cornerstone page can also help you highlight popular blog posts. Older posts can be hard to find as they get pushed back further in your blog by newer blog posts. Make those posts accessible by creating links to them from a permanent cornerstone page (not a post!) accessible from your site’s main navigation.
Like the cornerstone of a building, installed at the beginning of construction to support the beams that support the walls and the roof — basically, the whole structure — cornerstone content supports your whole website by answering visitors’ number one question: what is your website about and how can it help me?
Create Your Best Cornerstone Content Page
The infographic below from Copyblogger is a good place to start for anyone who wants to add one or more cornerstone pages to their website.
To sum up, there are 11 key things your cornerstone content page needs to get you more traffic and more inbound links:
- Keywords — Using a keyword tool, select 8-12 keywords that you want to rank well for in search engines, and create a cornerstone content page for each keyword.
- Headline — Use your selected keyword, but make the headline appealing to readers.
- SEO Title — If you can’t use the target keyword at the beginning of your main headline — which is where you get the most bang for your SEO buck — then use it here. Good WordPress themes like the Genesis Framework or WooThemes will offer a separate field for an SEO title. The Yoast SEO Wordpress plugin will add this function to your theme as well.
- Introduction — Draw the reader in by immediately showing the benefit to her.
- Body Copy — Use a combination of educational content and links. This is not a product specs page! In cornerstone content don’t sell, but do be helpful.
- Subheads — Break up the text to make it easier to read with subheads every couple hundred words or so. Use variations on your page keyword to help with SEO.
- Media — Photos, illustrations, videos, SlideShare presentations, or even podcasts add more depth to your cornerstone page.
- Bullet Points — Also help break up the text and highlight key points.
- Conclusion — Make the takeaways clear, get the visitor excited and inspire her to take action.
- Call-to-Action Button — Give the visitor something easy to do as a next step, such as subscribe to your e-news or download a free e-book. Make your button or banner simple but eye-catching to get more clicks.
- Social Share Buttons — Don’t rely only on search engines to bring traffic to your cornerstone page. And don’t rely on readers to copy and paste your URL into LinkedIn manually. Make it easy for visitors to share what should be one of your site’s most interesting and useful pages on their social media accounts and you’ll get more traffic.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group