Cornerstone content is one of the defining features of your website. Equal parts arranger, navigator, and guide, the pages that make up your cornerstone content go a long way toward determining your visitors’ experience. Ultimately, this is the content that will form visitors’ takeaway impression of your business. Without high-quality, integrated content, visitors to your site will be lost, confused, and landing on a competitor site within minutes.
If you plan on writing this content yourself, here’s your guide. If you outsource writing, this can be a convenient metric for asking questions and deciding between content writing companies.
What is Cornerstone Content?
Just like the name says, cornerstone content refers to those web pages which make up the foundation and load-bearing stones for your site. While there are no hard and fast ‘rules’ for what your it should consist of, it usually contains the most informative and well-written pages on your site.
Cornerstone pages might include things like frequently-asked questions, instructions, and things that contribute to the branding of your company. It should include ‘timeless’ information about your company, not the topical posts that are usually used in a recurring blog. It can include introductory type blog posts, but these should be very well-crafted and contain information that tends to apply over the long haul.
You should aim for approximately 4-5 pages of cornerstone content, but err on the lower side until you have written enough pages that merit the name. And in addition to providing a foundation for your site, it should also be a guide for your readers. Think of it as your company’s showcase: it should contain the essentials of everything you want the public to know about your company.
2 Types of Goals for Cornerstone Content
There are two types of goals for this type of content. First, there are things that your cornerstone content must accomplish ‘internally.’ This simply means the qualities it must have to engage the reader once they’re already interested in and visiting your site.
Secondly, there are the ‘external’ goals which aim to achieve high rankings in the SERPs. This second category of requirements is obviously intimately related to the first but it’s key that writers keep both the audience and the search engine algorithms in mind as they design your cornerstone content.
7 Ways to Satisfy your Readers
- To begin, brush up on the rules of how to write engaging content. This should be the best writing on your entire site. That doesn’t mean poetic, clever, or flowery. Instead, aim for clear, concise, and informative. Think Ernest Hemingway writing a how-to manual, not James Joyce.
- Next, these posts must be engaging and foundational, not a bunch of random blog posts. Perform regular updates and tell your readers everything they need to know about your website and your business. Every article earmarked as cornerstone should be a well-researched explainer.
- The writing must also firmly define your company’s niche, then show how you occupy said niche. It’s all about specificity, which is the only way to separate yourself from the herd.
- Similarly, your cornerstone content should go out of its way to distinguish itself from similar websites and from other businesses within your niche. This is where you get to express the essence of your company. In other words, make sure it tells your readers what you can do for them what no one else can.
- It must provide some sort of tangible benefit to your readers. After reading your cornerstone content, readers should possess guidance or knowledge that they didn’t have before visiting your site. You might think about it in terms of providing a ‘public service’ to your readers. For example, let’s say you sell rare European books from the 19th century. In this case, it might be good to have a page on ‘how to identify a first edition.’
- Staying with the idea of benefiting your readers, your cornerstone content must provide at least some part of a more global perspective. Although its chief function is to tell readers who you are and what you do, it can’t be all about you. Use a wide-angle lens to provide direct benefits to your readers and more focused content to tell them what you can do for them in the future.
- Lastly, your cornerstone content must begin to establish you as an expert or an authority in your field or niche. Establishing this authoritative air is largely the product of good, informative writing, but you can accelerate the process by taking extra steps to let readers know that your business really knows its stuff.
3 Ways to Generate Traffic
- Your cornerstone content must contain the keywords that your site absolutely, positively has to rank for within your given niche. It should focus on longtail keywords. Otherwise, giant companies will drown out your voice with shorter and more commonly searched keywords.
- Make this content part of an effective internal linking structure. By combining must-rank longtail keywords and high-quality content with an internal linking structure that tells the search engines who you are, you’ll be consistently competitive on search results pages.
- Write in a way that makes your content ‘lovable’ in the eyes of the Google search algorithms.
If you design your cornerstone content with these 10 goals in mind, you’ll go a long way toward ensuring that your readers trust your company and feel at ease dealing with you. And if you need some help, the Nostop team is always here to help.