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Using Keywords to Make a Great Cornerstone Page

So you have a great website, but you want to start seeing more traffic coming to your site from search engines like Google Search. You have added your keywords to your homepage, and used website keywords, titles, and descriptions, but still you feel like your competitors rank higher when you search for those keywords.  This is a common problem, especially for new websites, or websites that have been built without an ongoing content management strategy. A cornerstone page technique can help get more content in front of more visitors.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tricky subject because to understand your own search results, you have to understand what is going on during your search. (Since Google dominates the search engine landscape, my examples will reference Google SEO.)

Personalized Search Results

Google has an opt-out personalization service as part of their search engine. When you search for your keywords on Google, the search engine notices which results you typically click on, and provides more similar links over time. As a result, when you test your own keywords, you will see different results than your potential customers will see. You may see more from competitors whose links you have clicked before, more from your own site, etc.

Similarly, your customers may also get personalized results based on their own past activity. Frustrating!

Attract Traffic with an Informative Cornerstone Page

Your ideal customers are interested in your product or service because it solves a problem for them, right? If that is the case, then you need a page on your website that serves as a hub, or “cornerstone,” for all the information you have available on that subject. When that page comes up in search results, it will function well because people will click on it, read some or all of it, and possibly also save or share the information to view again.

Your cornerstone page should amalgamate all of the content you have on a particular topic in one central place. If your website is new, then designate one page per keyword, and create your first content on that subject. Make it 400-700 words in length, well-written, easily readable, and clearly focused on the keyword in question.

If your website already has a lot of content, and you wish to create a cornerstone page around a keyword, check your Google results to see which pages Google already ranks for those keywords. Create your cornerstone page, adding 400-700 words of original content, and then link to your existing content.

The key is to provide a wealth of information, simply expressed and easy for your potential customer to use. When one of your site visitors stays on your site to read, scrolls down a bit, and then clicks to another page in your site, Google notices and increases your ranking in their search engine.

Your Front Page Is Not Your Cornerstone Page

You can probably think of several keywords that you want to rank in search engine results. Depending on your website design, your main page may be a cornerstone for ONE of these keywords. However, your front page accomplishes a lot of other tasks, such as brand introduction, product and company information, and service listing. It is not the ideal place to focus your keywords, because the amount of content you would need will distract from your other messaging.

How to set up your Cornerstone Pages

Using focus keywords to make a cornerstone page step by step.This is the "Step-by-step, how-to" component of this article. You can save the info graphic and share it to your social media for easy reference.

  1. To determine your cornerstone content, choose five pages you want people to read when they arrive at your site. Make a record of these pages, because all future website work will revolve around them.
  2. Next, improve your cornerstones by making sure each focuses on the specific keyword that should bring customers to that page. Work on your content length, readability, headings, and content.
  3. Then, find any other links on your website that Google ranks for that keyword. Edit each of those pages to link back to your cornerstone. At the same time, add links to your additional content from your cornerstone.

Simple, right! 🙂 I know, there is a lot of detail implied in each of those steps. If you need help at any stage, call me!

Provide Access To Cornerstone Content From Your Homepage

When your homepage links directly to a cornerstone page, Google sees that content as more important. Therefore, you should provide a link from your homepage to your high value content. If you are successful, people will find your page through your cornerstone pages, and then view your homepage later! I know that sounds counter intuitive, but that’s how SEO works.

Avoid Duplicate Content

If you have a lot of content on your site already, or you know of great content on someone's website, you may be tempted to duplicate that content for your cornerstone page. This is a terrible idea! Google can see when content is identical, and tries to avoid showing multiple duplicate results. Your ranking can go down, or you can be removed from the Google index.

If your content is valuable, it should be easy to provide a 400-700 word summary of the keyword focus with links to the related content in your site. If you need to provide more information from an external website source, just link to it with a brief explanation of what your customers can find there.

Get The Help You Need!

If all of this website writing and organization sounds overwhelming, it might be time to get help. Once cornerstone content is set up correctly, it is much easier to maintain through consistent posting and internal linking. Bright Art Media implements cornerstone pages, and can advise you on how to proceed. Give us a call!

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