What is Cornerstone Content and Why Do I Need It?
This article was originally posted on the Beck Blog.
“All my content is equally important. How do I choose cornerstones?”
It’s true, creativity is subjective, and so is the quality and importance of your blog posts and articles. What one person considers highly relevant, another person may find painfully boring. So how are you to know which pieces of web content are worthy of the “cornerstone” label? The approach is actually quite strategic. But before we get into that…
What is Cornerstone Content?
First, let’s talk about what it is before start deciding which pages to categorize there. Cornerstone content is a WordPress feature offered by Yoast SEO to improve organic search results for more competitive keyword phrases that might otherwise be difficult to attain.
According to Yoast:
“As of now, Yoast SEO will ask you to indicate whether or not an article is a cornerstone article. By marking articles as cornerstone, Yoast SEO can help you build a solid internal linking structure.”
How do I choose Cornerstone Content?
Think about a group of pages on your website that you’re most proud of. The ones that are really, really well written. The ones that reflect your brand and business goals, and the ones that clearly communicate what it is you do and why you’re so good at doing it. If someone said, “I want to learn more about what you do, what’s your website address?” Which pages would you want them to read first? Those are your cornerstones.
For all my fellow visual learners, here’s what it looks like in my head:
Each of the six articles on the outside are focused on “torso” and “longtail” keywords relevant to the “head” keyword focus of the cornerstone piece. Each of the six will link back to the cornerstone content, reinforcing the cornerstone’s keyword theme relevancy, and thereby increasing your chances of ranking higher in Google for competitive (head) keywords.
Why is cornerstone content important?
Several reasons — the first of which we’ve already mentioned — cornerstone content (and internal linking) plays a big role in your overall SEO strategy.
Now suppose you have a larger site — one filled with a ton of information about your primary product or service. Let’s say you’ve written 25 articles on SEO Copywriting (OK, maybe that’s just me — but you get the point). Each of those 25 articles are now competing for Google rankings on the same group of keywords.
That’s fine — maybe you’re dominating the top 10 rankings with all your articles, which is great. But maybe, just maybe you want that post that’s currently sitting in the 10th position to be up top in the first position. This is when Google needs a bit of help.
Tell Google which articles are most important by:
- marking them as cornerstone content
- linking from other relevant articles back to the cornerstone piece
A few things to keep in mind when choosing and assigning cornerstone content:
- ideally, the page will be just one link away from the homepage
- pages and posts are usually a little longer, more in-depth and highly informative
- make sure the page or post is fully optimized for search
- cornerstone pages typically target “head” keyword phrases with “torso” and “longtails” linking back from other posts
- keep the content fresh and updated regularly
Cornerstone content isn’t a new concept — SEOs and copywriters having been using keyword-focused internal linking strategies for years. Still, it’s nice to have an easy-to-use plugin to remove some of the guesswork and generally make the process simpler and faster.
What do you think about Yoast’s cornerstone content plugin? Join the conversation on our new LinkedIn Group, Web Writing Academy.