What is cornerstone content?
Cornerstone content is also called a pillar post. This is a kind of post that tells your site visitor and search engines what your website is about.
Pretty much, cornerstone content is the kind of article that covers the whole gamut of your niche. For example, you may be running a website that is focused on SEO. In this case, your cornerstone content can be “What is SEO” or “All You Need to Know About SEO”.
But how do you create one, and an awesome one at that?
The steps are:
- Understand your audience
- Create your head term
- Develop the core topics
- Research your keywords
- Answer the target reader’s needs
Let us review each one to help get you started.
Understand Your Audience
The first step to creating cornerstone content is to understand your audience. You need to create a post that resonates with your target market.
Even if you are a blogger, you are still writing for a group of people who share the same interest as yours.
Let us say that you are running a website about gum diseases. In this case, your target audience are people who have a problem with their gums.
In this example, you are likely targeting people who are already employed—those who are looking for solutions to gum problems.
Understanding your audience is critical because this is the driving factor behind what you write. To be able to create this persona, you have to list down their characteristics for the following attributes:
- Overview of the target audience
- Their biggest fears
- Their problems
- Their motivation
- Their location, age, and gender
Once you have listed them down, you have a clear idea who you are writing for. Your tone, style, and manner of writing will all depend on your audience’s profile.
Create Your Head Term
A head term is basically your top keyword. In our example, your top head term is going to be “gum disease”. The head term is always a broad topic, which you can further breakdown as you move along writing your post.
The head term must be a widely searched term on the internet. Experts suggest that there must be at least 2,500 searches for the head term per month.
Why is this important? Your head term is what people would be searching for on search engines. If there are no searches, your pillar post is not going to reach your target audience. The head term is basically the top of the mountain.
It is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
The head term is a broad term that a person is looking for, which usually starts with a question. For example, “What is gum disease?”
Your head term must support your product or your service. If you are a copywriter, your head terms must be about copywriting. If you are a dropshipper, then your head terms must be about dropshipping. If you are selling dental products, then your head terms can be “tooth whitening” or “gum disease”.
Develop the Core Topics
Core topics are the sub-topics that you will cover in your cornerstone content. In the gum disease example, you cannot just write about gum disease.
Your core topics are the sub-headers that take your readers deeper into the term. For example, your core topics can be:
- What is gum disease
- Types of gum disease
- Causes of gum disease
- Cure for gum disease
- Surgery for gum disease
- Prevention of gum disease
As you can see, the main topic is gum disease, but your core topics are addressing specific problems within that niche.
And if a reader goes to your pillar content, the reader is going to understand what your entire website is about. The core topics serve as the backbone of the cornerstone content, and they are the ones that Google will index.
Your core topics will help search engines understand what the entire pillar post is about, and can help you earn authority in your domain.
Research Your Keywords
Now that you have defined your audience, have a head term, and have a list of core topics, it is now time to research keywords.
In the gum disease example, the obvious keyword is “gum disease”. However, you cannot stop there. You have to spread various keywords throughout your blog post, as this will further help search engines understand what it is about.
This is where people seem to get lost or frustrated. Many people believe that you have to use keyword tools, which are expensive, to get the right keywords for your post.
This is not necessary. All you need to do is to use the alphabet soup method. In the Google search engine, just type a keyword and it will suggest entire phrases. If these phrases are relevant to what you are writing about, then use them as your keywords.
You see, Google is not going to auto-suggest words if they are not being used or searched in the Google system. After entering that keyword, go to the bottom of the search results. There, you will see a list of other related search terms.
Use those keywords if they apply, and you should be all set. Write them naturally, and use them in your sub-headings where possible.
Answer Target Reader’s Needs
Now that you have the complete recipe, it is time to cook it. Once you start writing, never ever forget that you are writing for both people and search engines.
But more importantly, you are writing for people. The people who come to this blog post must find value in it. If they do, they will stay there and read the entire pillar post.
You want people to linger on your pillar posts. If they do, Google would know it. The longer they stay there, the better Google would think of that page.
If they are staying on that page, Google would naturally assume that they are reading it and that they find your post informative.
Do not force keywords in places where they do not apply. Keywords must be used naturally. Also, do not waffle. Try to avoid statements that do not add value.
For every sentence you write, ask yourself if this sentence gave the reader some new information, or if it clarified an issue.
The end-user must find benefits in your post. This is a challenge, so make sure you cut, edit, and revise your article until such time that it serves one specific purpose: to help the reader solve a problem.
Writing cornerstone content is one of the most difficult things you would ever do for your blog. I
Like anything worthwhile, it is necessary, and you have to put in the hard work. If you do these kinds of posts you will set a strong foundation for attracting traffic to your website.
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