Why cornerstone content – also known as pillar pages – should replace your SEO strategy
There is an old joke in the digital marketing industry when it comes to using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) keywords: it’s been real; it’s been fun, but it ain’t been real fun. This pretty much sums up the on-again, off-again relationship with the almighty practice of SEO keywords. In recent years, most SEO pros have focused less on SEO keywords and more on high-quality cornerstone content — or pillar pages.
A cornerstone is defined in the masonry world as a stone that unites two walls, forming the base of a building. Similarly, a cornerstone page in the world of SEO is an incredible, thoughtful, well-researched piece of content that links to other multiple pieces of content. These articles are often referred to as evergreen content, because they serve as a lasting piece of information that drive visitors from a variety of other sources back to that pillar page. When looking to rank high in search engine results, pillar content could be the difference between paying for your website and your website paying you.
Are SEO keywords completely dead?
Search engine optimized keyword strategy garnered positive results five years ago, but today keywords can potentially harm search rankings when they’re not correctly used. Conversely, SEO keywords should always be integrated into search marketing strategy. Even if not explicitly used, it’s important to have a clear path for keywords and key phrases for which your company would like to rank.
SEO keywords or key phrases no longer have to be an exact match, or even that close. Google, Bing and Yahoo are as smart as the end user when it comes to discerning the true meaning behind phrasing and content.
For example, you can search for phrases, such as “shredding snow gear” or “gear for shredding snow,” and you won’t be hit with listings for snow blowers. Search engines recognize that shredding is a popular terminology for snowboarders. The keyword at the base of the search is still related to the focus keyword of snowboarding. In other words, SEO keywords have become more of a priority to focus on, rather than something you need to innately weave into your content.
Helpful, quality content matters.
You’ve probably heard this adage a few times — especially on Bragg Media’s website: Content is King. Investing in a few pieces of high-quality content is the best way to boost your search engine rankings. As inbound marketing specialists, our goal is to ensure that we extend the lifespan of the content we invest time and research into. This is where pillar content can make your search rankings shine. Also known as cornerstone content, pillar pages are the centralized areas of the websites that multiple other items of content on a variety of marketing channels will link back to.
Content is king, but quality is queen.
The perfect piece of cornerstone content should provide something of value to the potential consumers you are looking to attract. It should be authoritative and meaty with actual information that positions your company as a thought leader on the topic. A really great piece of quality content has the potential to last for years because it doesn’t simply go out into the digital stratosphere and then disappear.
Pillar pages don’t work without this.
Cornerstone content or pillar pages don’t work without topic clusters, a variety of resources that link back to the pillar page. Topic clusters are blog articles or pages within your website that address specific questions your target audience might have.
This takes into account a change in buyer behavior in which users are submitting longer, more conversational searches. Have you ever asked Siri or Alexa, “What sushi restaurants are near me?” Search engines are better at organizing through the infinite amounts of content to serve up the most accurate results.
Topic cluster content is the latest and greatest in helping a particular page rank higher in relevant searches. When you create truly valuable content, a topic cluster comes to life by creating a series of additional articles that link back to your pillar page. Eventually, this shows that your page is highly authoritative, giving it prominence in search engine rankings.
Pillar content is done. Now what?
Once you have invested the time, the research and the design on a truly great pillar page on your website, we have three words of advice: Promote. Promote. Promote.
Develop a content repurposing strategy that tweaks your existing content on other platforms such as social media sites and community news sites — any place where you can target your market audience. When you invest in a truly great piece of content, you don’t want to share it once and then be done. By utilizing a content repurposing strategy, your piece of content will live for a long time after the original share.
If you want to increase the reach and exposure of your website, consider a professional inbound marketing agency that can successfully execute and track your digital marketing. Schedule a consultation with Bragg Media marketing agency today.
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