This is a guest post by Alexis Thompson
The amount of information on the Net is astounding. Just entering the two words “how to” gets you no less than 100,000 results in Google.
But let’s face it, less than half those results are actually going to feature relevant or even coherent information. And those that do more often than not get lost in the sea of useless websites.
You may be an expert on a certain field, and may have written the best guide in the world to it. But without being noticed, the information goes nowhere. And that’s why you need cornerstone content.
Cornerstone content is the content your site or blog is built around. It’s the content that best defines who you are, and gives your visitors the main idea of what they are getting when they’re on your page. Cornerstone content can put you on the virtual map by making you more visible to search engines and making it easier to link to your work.
Cornerstone content is content about whatever is your forte. And in providing content about the things you know best, the most important thing to remember is that you’re trying to answer a searcher’s question. Therefore, your cornerstone content should be useful, relevant, factual and well-researched. You want to make sure that any solutions or advice you offer works, can actually be done, and can address queries comprehensively and sensibly.
This will result in searchers making you the primary source for all their questions, and a result, they will want tout your site to their friends and family.
Outstanding cornerstone content makes use of keywords effectively in order to get it noticed. This is done by researching on keyword phrases related to your topic to find out what word combinations are most searched. This is important because on getting the right keywords, you can incorporate them into your content. This catches the attention of search engine “spiders” that will rank how visible your content will be when searched. Now, keywords are to be used wisely in your content—don’t overdo it by sticking it in every sentence, but integrate them in strategic areas like your headline, title tag, or introductory paragraph.
Put your best foot forward by being informative in your opening paragraph. It doesn’t mean that you need to say everything you know there, but it does mean that you say enough about the topic to convince people that you know what you’re talking about. Your opening words should keep a searcher on the hook by promising to answer their questions well—only then will they keep reading.
Once you’ve got your audience, you need to deliver. Your content has to be all it’s been promised to be and more—complete, concise, and unique. Provide as much information as you can, but take care that it doesn’t overload your readers.
Figure out what your audience will most want to know, and use that as your guide in choosing what you will tell them. And it has to stand out from every other site out there claiming to offer the same answers—you want to let searchers know you can answer questions better than your competition can by putting out the latest information. And standing out involves more than just providing data. You want to give more than just sources; you want to make your views known. You can argue against commonly-held perceptions, or formulate your own advice based on what you know or what you’ve learned.
This will show your readers that you are an authority figure on the topic. People will tend to trust information that comes from a knowledgeable source more than others and that’s the image you want to project.
And lastly, present your knowledge well. Make use of paragraphs to allow for an easier visual experience. Ensure that your content is easy to read by arranging your information so that each paragraph says something meaningful.
You will know you’ve created great cornerstone content by how much your readers enjoyed your work. This is where social media is very effective—every “like” and “re-tweet” tells the world you’ve got something good. With every “share”, your audience will get bigger, and your brand’s stock rises.
Online, the world is at your fingertips. Unfortunately, it’s also at everyone else’s. So break out your best cornerstone content, and become the breakout star.
Photo credit: Andrew*