What is cornerstone content, and how can it help improve your search rankings?

You’ve likely heard the term “cornerstone content” being thrown around as you look for SEO and content marketing tips. But what exactly is cornerstone content, and why is it essential for your SEO strategy?

In this article, we will explain cornerstone content, why it’s important, and even show you how to create it!

What is Cornerstone Content (Plus Examples)?

Cornerstone content, sometimes called pillar content, refers to the foundational set of web pages or articles on your website. These are typically comprehensive, in-depth, and highly informative, covering core topics central to your site’s overall subject or theme.

Creating cornerstone content is a powerful content marketing strategy with phenomenal results.

Cornerstone content serves several important purposes in SEO and content marketing. Typical examples include:

  • Authority and expertise: Cornerstone content helps you establish topical authority. It also helps you better showcase your expertise. Both are important elements in meeting Google’s E-E-A-T quality standards.
  • Improved crawling: Creating cornerstone content helps you create a more optimized internal linking structure. This improves crawling by search bots and boosts your SEO.
  • Improved indexing: When search engines identify your cornerstone content, they can better index it for relevant search terms.

If you want to up your SEO game, then cornerstone content must be part of your content strategy.

Characteristics of Cornerstone Content

Before you create your cornerstone content strategy, it’s important to know what type of content constitutes cornerstone content. Here are a few characteristics of cornerstone content:

  • Relevant: Covers a topic that is central to your niche or industry.
  • Comprehensive: Provides in-depth information, often serving as the ultimate guide on the subject.
  • Evergreen: The content remains relevant and valuable over time.
  • Naturally connects to other pages: Cornerstone content often links to and from other related articles on your website, creating a web of internal links.

Before we proceed, let’s quickly look at an example of cornerstone content to give you an idea of what it looks like. Let’s look at WPBeginner’s How to Start a WordPress Blog in 2023 (Beginner’s Guide). Here are some of the topics covered in the blog:

Example of cornerstone content on WPBeginner.

A closer look at the site will show that each of the topics covered is an individual blog post. They all form a cluster around the primary article.

The Importance of Cornerstone Content for SEO

The important role of cornerstone content in SEO can’t be overstated. Here are a few reasons why it’s crucial:

Improved Search Rankings

Well-structured cornerstone content can boost your site’s search engine rankings, especially for competitive keywords. One reason for this is that cornerstone content often covers a topic comprehensively.

Another reason is the strategic internal links built to and from the content. These help search engines better crawl and index your site and understand the relationships between different pages.

Enhanced User Experience

Cornerstone content provides visitors with comprehensive information, making their experience more valuable. This can lead to longer visits, reduced bounce rates, and increased user engagement.

Authority Building

Cornerstone content provides the best opportunity to build topical authority. It’s an excellent tool for establishing your website as a go-to source for information in your niche. This results in your brand gaining the trust of both users and search engines. It also boosts your brand awareness.

With authority and trust being the currency of the internet, gaining these is crucial to your success as a publisher or business owner.

Internal Linking: The Key to Optimizing Cornerstone Content in WordPress

Cornerstone content never stands alone. It should have other smaller pieces of content linking to it. Called topic clusters, these are articles that each focus and go in-depth on each subtopic covered in your cornerstone content.

These links must not be random but strategically built.

Here are 2 of the most common ways you can build links to your cornerstone content:

Manual Internal Linking

The first way to create cornerstone content is by manually creating links to and from your cornerstone content.

Google can be your ally here as you can use the site search operator to find relevant URLs right on search engine results pages (SERPs). To use this tool, go to Google and search for “site:example.com.” This will show you all the indexed content on your site.

Find internal links using Google's site search operator.

You can also refine your search by adding a relevant keyword to your search criteria. For example, “site:example.com wordpress SEO.”

Find internal links using Google's site search operator and keyword.

This helps narrow down your search to articles relevant to your cornerstone content.

Once you’ve identified your target articles, you can insert a link to your cornerstone post. To do this, open each article in WordPress’s editor mode, go to the section you want to add the link and highlight the anchor text. Click on the link icon:

Click the link icon to add a link in WordPress.

Clicking the link icon will open a window where you can paste the link you copied.

Pasting link into the insert link field.

You’ll also be given internal link settings options that include:

  • Open in new tab
  • Add “nofollow” to link
  • Add “sponsored” to link
  • Add “ugc” to link
  • Add title attribute to link

Once you’ve selected your settings, press Enter to add the link. And your link will be added.

Repeat this process for all the articles you want to link to your cornerstone content.

As you can see, manually creating cornerstone content is laborious. That’s why we would like to show you an easier way.

Using the Cornerstone Content Feature in AIOSEO

The easiest way to build internal links to your cornerstone content is to use a plugin like All In One SEO (AIOSEO).

aioseo homepage

AIOSEO is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market and is trusted by over 3 million savvy website owners and marketers to help them dominate SERPs. It’s also a powerful plugin that can help you drive relevant traffic to your site. The plugin has many SEO features and modules to help you optimize your website for search engines and users, even if you don’t have any coding or technical knowledge.

Many of the plugin’s most popular features are designed to help you rank your content easily and get the lion’s share of search traffic. These are features such as:

  • Search Statistics: This powerful Google Search Console integration lets you track your keyword rankings and see important SEO metrics with 1-click, and more.
  • SEO Revisions: Track any changes you make to your site and see their impact on your SEO. Plus, you get to see on a timeline how Google updates affect your site.
  • Advanced Robots.txt Generator: Easily generate and customize your robots.txt file for better crawling and indexing.
  • TruSEO Analysis and Highlighter: Makes it easy to spot on-page SEO issues and gives recommendations for fixing them.
  • Next-gen Schema generator: This no-code schema generator enables users to generate and output any schema markup on your site.
  • Redirection Manager: Helps you manage redirects and eliminate 404 errors, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site.
  • Link Assistant: Powerful internal linking tool that automates building links between pages on your site. It also gives you an audit of outbound links.
  • SEO Preview: This gives you an overview of your search and social snippets and general SEO so you can improve your optimization.
  • IndexNow: For fast indexing on search engines that support the IndexNow protocol (like Bing and Yandex).
  • Sitemap generator: Automatically generate different types of sitemaps to notify all search engines of any updates on your site.
  • And more.

For step-by-step instructions on how to install AIOSEO, check out our installation guide.

Regarding creating cornerstone content, AIOSEO has a powerful feature aptly named Cornerstone Content. This powerful feature enables you to mark content as cornerstone content with a single click of a button.

Cornerstone Content toggle in AIOSEO.

Once that’s done, all your cornerstone content gets prioritized for internal linking by our Link Assistant module and is denoted by a building icon.

Cornerstone Content is denoted by an icon of a building.

You can then automatically build links to and from your cornerstone content using AIOSEO’s Link Assistant. This powerful tool offers internal linking suggestions that you can add to your posts/pages right from the Link Assistant dashboard.

Check out our tutorial on creating cornerstone content in WordPress for detailed instructions.

Cornerstone Content: 5 Best Practices for Better Rankings

To get the most out of your cornerstone content, consider the following best practices:

1. Conduct Keyword Research

Conduct thorough keyword research to identify the most appropriate and relevant keywords (especially long-tail keywords) for your cornerstone content. Use keyword research tools, like Ahrefs or Semrush, to find high-traffic keywords with low competition.

At the same time, you can also create a list of relevant keywords for your topic clusters. These are the articles you create to cover the sub-topics of your cornerstone content comprehensively.

2. Create Scannable Content

Because cornerstone content is typically long, make it easy for your readers to digest it. Make sure your content is scannable. This means breaking up long paragraphs and sentences to make your content easier to read. You can use tools like Hemmingway to help you with this.

Other tips for creating scannable content include using subheadings, bullet points, and images to make your cornerstone content more readable and engaging.

3. Use a Table of Contents

Another way to enhance your content’s user experience (UX) is to add a table of contents (ToC). Doing this makes it easy for readers to jump to sections they’re most interested in. As a result, engagement rates and dwell times increase. These signal to search engines that your content is valuable, resulting in better rankings.

A table of contents can also benefit your SEO right on the SERPs. Web pages with tables of contents can get enhanced search snippets that include jump links.

Example of jump links on SERPs.

Jump links increase your search snippets visibility. But more importantly, they help boost your organic clickthrough rates (CTR).

4. Add an FAQ Section

Adding an FAQ section to your cornerstone content is another fantastic way to enhance its UX and boost SEO. This is because an FAQ section helps users get direct answers to their queries, making your content more valuable. Plus, FAQs help you cover essential aspects of your topic in-depth, making your content even more comprehensive.

On the SEO side, FAQs with FAQ schema help search engines better understand your content, leading to improved indexing and ranking. They also help you rank in the People Also Ask section, thereby increasing your search visibility.

Check out our detailed tutorial for more information on adding an FAQ section to your cornerstone content.

5. Keep Your Cornerstone Content Fresh

Cornerstone content is inherently supposed to be evergreen. This means it must be as relevant in a few years as it is today. For that to happen, you should keep your cornerstone content current. As your niche or industry evolves, make necessary revisions to maintain the accuracy and relevance of your content. This is also a good opportunity to create new content to link to it.

You should consider using a content marketing tool to speed up content updates.

What is Cornerstone Content: Your FAQs Answered

What is cornerstone content?

Cornerstone content refers to a set of articles or pages on your website that are considered the most important and comprehensive pieces of content. These articles cover central topics within your niche and are designed to be authoritative and evergreen.

Why is cornerstone content important for my website?

Cornerstone content is essential for several reasons. It helps establish your website’s authority, improves your SEO, enhances user experience, and creates a strong internal linking structure. It can also serve as a guide for visitors seeking in-depth information on a specific topic.

What is the best tool for creating cornerstone content?

The best tool for creating cornerstone content is All In One SEO (AIOSEO). It has a feature that allows you to mark your important pages as cornerstone content. This also makes it easier to build strategic internal links to and from relevant content.

Implement Your Cornerstone Content Strategy Today

Now that you know what cornerstone content is and its value, it’s time to implement your cornerstone strategy. Remember, AIOSEO’s Cornerstone Content feature makes this super easy.

We hope this post helped you learn homepage SEO. You may also want to check out other articles on our blog, like our ultimate WordPress SEO checklist and our guide on building internal links in WordPress.

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What is Cornerstone Content? Plus Tips and Examples

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