Blogs are great resources. They let you publish high-quality content quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively.
The problem is, the default functionality of blogging software makes it easy to show what’s new — but hard to show off the depth of what you’ve done over time.
Blogging excels at presenting new content, but fails at aggregating old content in a way that works for people and search engines.
So what can you do? How can you help both people and search engines find your content efficiently?
Create some solid cornerstone content. If you’ve read Brian Clark’s new SEO copywriting report, you know how important this type of content is to attracting links and ranking for the terms that are central to your site.
If you haven’t read Brian’s report, you should to get the full picture. But for now, it’s enough to know that a page hosting cornerstone content helps readers by pulling all of your content about a specific topic together in one place.
In other words, each cornerstone page is a home for related content. Cornerstone pages let you highlight your most important archived content. They also help you attract links, get subscribers, and increase traffic.
Keep reading to find out how.
1. Cornerstone pages are great targets for link-building campaigns
Remember, links matter first and foremost with search rankings. But complete, in-depth content on the topics you want people to find you for is important, too.
When you group similar content into a home on a single page, you’ll have a keyword dense page which will rank in search engines when you build links to it.
Sticking with the Copyblogger examples, do you think they chose phrases like “landing pages” and “SEO copywriting” by accident?
Absolutely not. These are two popular keyword phrases that the Copyblogger crew wanted to rank well for in Google. And sure enough, they do.
I know what you’re thinking. Copyblogger is a large site. They don’t need to focus on building links to each page, because they will gain links naturally over time.
(Never mind the fact that, like every blog, Copyblogger started with no links and just one subscriber — which in this case was Brian.)
That’s why cornerstone pages are even more important for new bloggers. These resource-rich pages are perfect for you to link when you do guest posts on other blogs. They’ll help you rank for specific keyword phrases and help you find new readers.
2. Cornerstone pages help you get subscribers
People listen to authority figures. Brian also wrote a complete report on authority: why you want it, what it will do for you, and how to get it. People also tend to bookmark, share, and reference authoritative content.
Cornerstone content is authoritative because it demonstrates your knowledge around a specific topic. And if it’s genuinely useful, people won’t hesitate to go further with your content, such as subscribing to your blog or signing up for an email newsletter.
Does this strategy really work?
Yes. How do you think Copyblogger became one of the top blogs?
Scroll through the left sidebar and you’ll see all of the Copyblogger resources. Most of these are cornerstone pages, grouping several pieces of valuable content with a call to action to subscribe to the blog.
3. Cornerstone pages are shareable
Since each piece of cornerstone content helps people address a specific need, they often remember it.
For example, any time someone asks me how to write a great blog headline, there’s one resource that comes to mind . . . the Headline Writing series here on Copyblogger.
Even though I first read it almost three years ago, I still refer back to it every time I need some inspiration.
Whenever anyone asks me how to write a headline, I send them to this resource because of how helpful and complete it is. I don’t have to send them to five different sites, just one simple URL that’s easy to share.
How do you create cornerstone content?
There are two ways.
One, you can start from scratch and write a blog series with the main goal of turning it into cornerstone content.
This is a great way to kick off a blog, or to give your blog a boost. But if you’ve been blogging for a while, there’s a faster way to benefit from this strategy . . . without doing extensive content development.
Let me explain.
You probably have blog categories, right? Take a look through some of your more important categories. What if you hand-picked some of those category-specific articles and grouped them onto a cornerstone page? It would be easy, right?
Now what would make this content effective?
First, you’d want to do some basic keyword research to make sure you’re targeting a keyword phrase that makes sense.
Then you’ll want to write a snappy, informative introduction that builds desire for your content, using smart SEO copywriting to make it search engine-friendly.
And finally, you fill out the page with links to content you already have on your site. It’s that simple.
Now get to work. If you focus, you can get your first cornerstone page posted in 30 minutes. And of course, the next time you write a guest post, make sure you link to your new cornerstone content page using the appropriate keywords as anchor text (Brian’s new report gives an example of this).
How about you? Using any terrific cornerstone content on your own blog? Let us know where to find it in the comments.