What is Cornerstone Content and why you should use it

Author: Jack Martin

Why Should I Structure My Website with Cornerstone Content?

If you write a lot of articles which fall into similar topics, you can hurt your chances to rank well in the search results unless you tell Google which articles are the most important. A cornerstone content strategy can help you to build out your articles in a way that will make this obvious to search engines, through internal linking structure and other key elements.

What is Cornerstone Content?

The cornerstone content of your website consists of pages or posts you find to be the best and most important for visitors looking to learn from your company in areas you have shown expertise in. They are long, comprehensive articles that align with your business purpose and represent parts of the mission behind your website. A simple way to look at cornerstone content is that they are landing pages for a topic/category, and other relevant, more in-depth articles branch off of and link back to it.

Great cornerstone content is not time-sensitive and will still be relevant over time. Textual format for cornerstone articles is not a requirement; you could also use a medium such as a video, podcast, free tool, or infographic for the content.

Are There Any Differences Between Cornerstone and Flagship Content or Cornerstone and Pillar Content?

Cornerstone and Flagship content are terms that can be used interchangeably, as the definitions behind each are essentially the same.

A defining part of Pillar content, which can also be a part of your Cornerstone content strategy, is the inclusion of a link to the content in the top-level navigation of the website. Pillar content also tends to include a downloadable version of the article for users, so they can read the content later or share it with others. The aim of Pillar content is to capture leads, and it is a term which HubSpot uses to describe this content strategy.

The overarching goal is the same among all three: to create a complete, helpful article that people find useful enough to share or bookmark and gives authority to your company on specific topics.

When Should I Start Implementing A Cornerstone Content Strategy?

Whether you’re starting a new website or your website has been around a while, now is the time to think about cornerstone content.

If you are just starting out, this is the perfect way to figure out what content you would like to create for your website. Cornerstone content is essentially the core of what your company is knowledgeable in and will help you to connect with potential customers by positioning you as being an expert in what you offer. Once you have the cornerstone content in place, you can then build off of those main pieces of content in the future with supplemental articles, and link everything together.

If your website is well-established, you need to be prepared to set some time aside to go through the content on your website.

Once your cornerstone content is in the website, your work is not done. You will need to regularly rewrite and update the content as time goes on, to ensure it stays relevant and up to date.

So How Do I Get Started with Cornerstone Content?

Start by going through your website and finding four or five pages you would like someone to read when they first visit your website. They should be the most complete articles for the topic they’re in, targeting the keywords you want to rank for the most.

Cornerstone content should be optimized for the most competitive, short-tail keywords and key phrases. The same keywords shouldn’t be used across different pages of the website – variations, particularly long-tail keywords, should be used on articles in the same topic instead.

If your website is quite large, a simple way to get started is to Google "site: yourwebsite.comkeyword" to find the pages and posts on your website that Google has indexed for particular keywords and key phrases. You will have a great starting point when structuring your cornerstone and related articles on your website.

Are There Any Other Recommendations I Should Know When Creating Cornerstone Pages?

Use images to break up text-heavy articles: one image every 100-200 words
Provide supplementary text/transcripts with non-text articles: video, audio, infographics
Include a call to action: the bottom of the page is an ideal spot
Don’t focus on selling: cornerstone content is meant to be used to help a user learn, not directly pitch to them
Social share: include a social sharing function on the cornerstone content to make it easy for users to share the article, bringing in more backlinks
Internal linking: link to related articles from the cornerstone content, and link to the cornerstone content from related articles, the homepage, and other areas of the website that mention the topic
Make cornerstone content a page instead of a post: posts are typically time-sensitive, and include a post date, while pages are more permanent, static fixtures of your website. If your blog posts have a last updated date instead of a post date, or if they don’t include a date, then feel free to make it a blog post if you wish, but it isn’t recommended. Find a workflow that works best for your situation and stay consistent with it.