Readers and search engines look for valuable content. It’s your job to produce blog posts that provide the information they seek. That’s where “cornerstone” posts come in. This foundation content has the greatest ability to attract readers and improve your site’s search engine results page (SERP) ranking.
Before we dive into how to write a cornerstone post, it’s imperative to understand the difference between a post and a page. This knowledge ensures your compelling content stands out and your site is easy to navigate.
Blog Posts vs. Pages
Understanding the difference between a page and a post is essential at the beginning of your blogging journey. Sometimes, new bloggers get confused about where on the site to publish blog posts. When you launch your first website, be sure the appropriate content gets published on pages, and the rest is shared as blog posts. Otherwise, your cornerstone content won’t be easily found or noticed.
The key to a successful blog is to create a continual stream of fresh content as weekly or monthly posts. Your publishing frequency is less important than the consistency of your approach. Consistent new content helps the search engine bots get to know your routine and crawl your site regularly. If your latest blog posts get indexed by the bots, they stand a higher chance of inclusion in search results.
Some of your blog posts will be time-sensitive, and others will be evergreen. You can differentiate between the two by determining if the blog post will still be relevant after three months, six months, or a year. There’s no time limit to evergreen content. If there’s a chance the information will become outdated, it’s not evergreen.
You can make a post evergreen by continually updating it, but that entails keeping track of those posts and reviewing them periodically to keep them current. Another approach is to check your top 10 posts each month and make sure they’re kept current and optimized for SEO. If these posts are driving traffic to your site, it’s worth spending time maintaining them. Eventually, you end up with a blog consisting of a mix of time-sensitive and evergreen content.
Think of your initial blog pages as static content. These rarely change. Additionally, pages tend to contain the necessary information that helps visitors understand who you are and what benefits you provide.
Every website has a home page. Yours also needs an About Page and Contact Page. These pages help create transparency and make it easier for your audience to connect with you. If you’re offering products or services, create pages to feature these, too.
If you are blogging a book, you might also have a page that features the book’s table of contents. This makes it easy for readers to follow along as you write and publish related posts. And you’ll likely want to create an About this Book page, too.
Although you should review your pages periodically to ensure they’re current, the bulk of this content will remain constant.
The more posts you create, the more you need to streamline the content organization to make your site easy for visitors to navigate. One way of achieving this is by creating cornerstone content. These foundational long-form articles are intended to help your audience identify and navigate your blog’s core topics.
There are a couple of different schools of thought about whether cornerstone content should be a post or a page. The benefit of making it a post is that you can open your article up to comments, but that means it will have a publication date. I prefer using a page because it keeps the content timeless. The whole point of cornerstone content is that it’s evergreen.
Many bloggers confuse cornerstone content and evergreen content and use the terms interchangeably. Although all cornerstone content should be evergreen, not all evergreen content is a cornerstone.
Let’s look at how cornerstone content differs from evergreen content.
Creating Your Cornerstone Articles
Your cornerstone content constitutes the most important articles on your site. Cornerstone content contains information your audience needs to know to familiarize themselves with your website and topic. For example, my self-publishing website’s core topics are writing, marketing, book production, and design. All blog posts I write are related to one or more of these four topics, so I only need to create four cornerstone articles.
My site features one page for each of the four articles. Each page contains insights and information to help site visitors get a broad understanding of each of these four keyword topics. The articles I post there also include inbound and outbound links to make it easy for the reader to explore the topic in greater detail.
Your articles should be the best written, linked, laid out, and illustrated articles on your site. They need to be optimized for SEO and contain (and link) so much useful information that other bloggers are excited to link back to your article from their website. Cornerstone articles take a lot of effort to create. However, done right, they’ll help your site visitors in their discovery and make them eager to share the piece across social media.
As you add new blog posts to your website, you may need to include links to them from your cornerstone page. That means your cornerstone content will need regular monitoring and maintenance to keep it evergreen and relevant.
Choosing Your First Cornerstone Page
Hopefully, you’ve been using categories and tags to identify your content. These tools help define which cornerstone page to create first.
Use your category tags to identify the keyword about which you’ve written the most blog posts. Then assess how you could summarize the content to make it easy to digest. In effect, you’re creating a content index page to lead your readers in the direction that’s most useful and relevant to them.
For example, I could create a book marketing cornerstone content page and use sub-headings for topics like Content Marketing, Social Media, Amazon Ads, Facebook Ads, Book Promotion Sites, etc. I’d include a summary of the subject and links to related content within my site, and also link to other reliable sources.
This would create a cornerstone page that becomes a valuable landing page to which I can drive traffic.
Commit to Creating Valuable Resources
Creating cornerstone content is a commitment—not just to the initial creation of the article but also to keeping it evergreen. At the end of the day, though, the effort is worth it. Your cornerstone content becomes a valuable resource for your site visitors and a tool to help you attract more readers. Think of well-planned and well-written cornerstone content like a gift that keeps on giving. Indeed, it will pay off long after you create it.
Do you have any questions about creating your first cornerstone page? Let us know in the comments below. And share this post with other writers and bloggers so they can start creating cornerstone content, too.
About the Author
Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.