Building a brand isn’t easy. With so many companies vying for a moment in the spotlight, it takes great effort to stand out. Introducing cornerstone content to your website is one way to improve your search engine ranking and improve retention. But what is cornerstone content, and how do you create the compelling pieces that yield the results you need?

Defining Cornerstone Content

In masonry, a cornerstone is often the first stone placed. It’s the solid, stable foundation all other stones are set in relation to, making it an important defining element in the building’s position and construction. Some cornerstones have inscriptions for the construction date.

Cornerstone content is your website’s equivalent to a traditional cornerstone. It’s the core of your site: The foundation on which you construct the rest of your content. This is the information that defines who you are and what you do, providing basic, essential information that site visitors are going to need. 

The Importance of Cornerstone Content

Your cornerstone content is the most valuable content on your site. It’s the basis for everything else you do, and you should regularly link back to it. There are many good reasons for having high quality cornerstone content:

  • It defines your site: Your cornerstone content clearly expresses your business goals and mission statement. It’s a collection of your most valuable insights, and clearly identifies why people should do business with you.
  • It provides guidance: Without cornerstone content, new visitors may feel lost. They may not be able to find the information they need, encouraging them to look elsewhere. Your cornerstone content page is a compilation of valuable content, and the first step on a journey through your site.
  • It draws in visitors: Good cornerstone content helps you to rank in search engines. It answers those common questions that people have relating to your industry, so when they search for answers, they find you. Furthermore, it helps Google to know which content on your site should rank the highest. For example, if 10 articles link to one cornerstone piece, it’s clear that the linked piece is valuable.
  • It builds authority: Having all of your most valuable content in one place makes it easier for visitors to get a sense of the value you bring. Rather than seeing just one facet of your site, they have a platform from which to see the breadth of your knowledge. Your cornerstone page becomes like a calling card; a portfolio of your finest work.

Tips for Creating Cornerstone Content

Considering how valuable cornerstone content is, it’s important to know the best practices for creating it. If you already have an established site, you may already have all the content necessary; you just need to bring it together in one place. If you’re starting a new site, spend some time thinking about what your most valuable content should be and start a roadmap for creating it. Consider these top tips to help ensure each piece of content works hard to build your brand:

  • Produce high quality content: Every piece of content on your site should be high quality, but with cornerstone content it’s even more important. This is your flagship content, and your chance to show exactly how valuable your company is. Make sure every piece is as good as possible.
  • Produce evergreen content: Your cornerstone content is the bedrock of your site. It should be of consistent value, as useful a year after creation as it was on the day you published it. Content regarding fads and trends isn’t good for cornerstone content. Focus on evergreen content that truly reflects your brand message and is always essential.
  • Make regular updates: Just because your content is evergreen doesn’t mean you should never update it. Keep it fresh, and make sure it’s always as relevant as possible.
  • Link from other articles: Make sure you’re linking back to the cornerstone pieces from other areas of your site. You want to make sure people, and search engines, find this valuable content.
  • Optimize keywords: Search engine optimization is key. Make sure you have done your keyword research, and use those keywords to improve your ranking.
  • Make the content accessible: Don’t gate any of the content. There shouldn’t be a paywall, or a demand for contact data before a visitor gets to the content. You want people to see this information. You want to hook them in and encourage them to explore more of your site. However, that doesn’t mean you should miss an opportunity to gather some freely-given data, such as a contact email for your newsletter.

The Foundation for Success

Whether you have a new website or one that’s well established, you should always be thinking about cornerstone content. Consider the information that most clearly defines your business, and which offers the most value. Position that content as the top of the funnel, using it as a way to entice visitors and gather contact data for your mailing list. When you build your site around a strong foundation of consistently useful content, it becomes a much stronger asset to your business.