Cornerstone Content is an SEO copywriting tactic made popular by WordPress tool Yoast, who termed the phrase. Simply, cornerstone content is long content which presents detail on a specific topic; the best cornerstone content has the most detail, referencing broad and relevant topics, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

patrick-perkins-350622.jpgFirst, you need to decide two things.

1. What is the most useful piece of information you could share with your audience?

2. What do you want to be known for?

These may seem to be deep philosophical questions, but when you take into account that cornerstone content can be up to and above 3000 words – HubSpot’s Head of SEO Matt Barby. achieved great rankings with his 7000+ word mini novellas – and that is either a lot of time or a sizeable financial investment. Also, it’s your reputation on the line; if the content you consider to be vital isn’t reflective of your target audience, then you are putting yourself in a position where your cornerstone content could alienate your audience rather than ingratiating yourself with them.

Once you’ve decided on your topics, you should conduct the usual keyword research to ensure you are making the most of your copywriting efforts. Our experiments have shown conclusively that longer content has a better chance of achieving solid rankings faster, so taking the time to define your target keywords and ensure they are present in your blog, along with their topic cluster families, will be time well spent. Don’t assume that your content will achieve something just because it is past a certain word count.

The question is often asked of us, “Is length of content the most important thing?”

Yes, length is absolutely crucial…but only if you have enough backlinks to produce domain authority and both the copywriting and post itself have been optimised for search engines. Also, this is assuming your website is fast enough, and your anchor text and keyword strategies are solid.

SEO blog header - 1000 words

SEO is not a singular discipline, which is why people seeking specific answers tend to become frustrated. There is no perfect process or system to optimise groups of content, as everything is dependent on the industry, competitors and currently available assets.

The job of an SEO Agency is to analyse the entire landscape and create diverse content – both long and short – in order to demonstrate to Google that content is the priority of the website. Then website optimisation, then backlinks… and everything is tested and measured to find out what works and what doesn’t in your specific environment.

Take the same attitude with your cornerstone content.

Now that you have your keyword analysis complete, and as a result have created a compelling and interesting heading for your blog, begin copywriting in the same way an author would. Create a storyboard with a list of the points you want to make and how they join together. A storyboard doesn’t need tobe compcopywriting storyboardlicated, mine is either a bunch of Post-it notes on the wall or an Excel spreadsheet depending on where I’m working from.

This simple discipline, which I use for all my writing, enables me to stay on track and on message. Most importantly, it takes basically no time and saves plenty of effort in rewrites and edits. For cornerstone content, this is even more crucial, because after the first thousand words or so, copywriting becomes more of a memory game than a flow of information. Remembering why you were making the point that you are and which examples to use becomes almost impossible, which is why most online articles on company websites are so short, and why Google likes long copy.

Finally, write naturally. Google is better at reading comprehension then you are and attempting to unnaturally include various phrases will only serve to have the algorithm write you off as someone trying to be clever. The search engines don’t like to be tricked and if they even suspect it’s happening they will not rank you. Of course, the keywords need to be included, but it is likely that they will be anyway through your natural style. Topic clusters and complimentary keywords will also occur naturally through the copy and if they don’t you should consider whether the content is detailed enough to be considered cornerstone content. Once you have finished, use a simple word processing search tool to make sure the phrases and keywords are included in your content, but if they are not, consider rewriting various sections rather than just throwing words in.

Cornerstone content is the basis of your thought leadership, perhaps behind your white papers or books if you have published any. They will likely be the first place your ideal prospect visits when coming to your website and the reason they move through the marketing and buying process. Take your time, and create something that you are happy to base your reputation on because that is exactly what you are doing.