The web is a busy place, and as writers, we are in an uphill battle to …
…overcome the noise and make our message heard, to highlight the best advice, tips, and stories we have to give, and then hope and pray that the gods of the internet bless us with the traffic our posts deserve.
That’s one side of it; the other side of the situation being the cold hard truth that not every single blog post and article you write is long-term, massively beneficial information.
And differentiating that content – separating the useful and timely information from the evergreen and cornerstone content (the best you have to offer) – is the first step in better optimizing your website for search traffic.
Let’s take a close look at the idea of cornerstone content, what it means for your website, and how you can better use some basic SEO techniques to ensure that your readers and organic web searchers are able to find your content.
What is Cornerstone Content?
The core message of your brand, the details, the nitty-gritties, and the basics that a new person on your site would not only find instantly useful, but information so well laid-out and researched that they can’t help but hit the share buttons to spread some social media love.
You’re dominating a niche with your site and you have an opportunity to use cornerstone content to dominate your field and provide helpful information to each new visitor.
This content answers questions, gives advice and tips only a pro-niche blogger like you would know about your topic. You update when necessary, but the content should stand the test of time and provide answers to the questions readers in your niche are asking.
How do I Write Cornerstone Content?
You already have a travel niche  (you do right?! If not, figure out how you stand out in the crowd  first, then come back here) and you are fast establishing yourself as a personality and an expert within that niche. Your website should be chock full of useful information about your chosen speciality and you regularly blog on all of the tiny nuances related to your travel niche.
Now put together the resource that brings all of your knowledge into one handy spot. Many writers and bloggers break down the process; segment out the pieces that make up your niche and then spend months and years sharing your expert tips on those individual parts.
Cornerstone content takes the value you’ve already added to your space and makes it into one difinitive resource. The best spot on the interwebs to find information for your niche.
This is your chance to really shine. Research and collect the best possible information–some of it might not be yours–and then aggregate it into one place.
This is your cornerstone content. It’s a valuable resource to readers in your niche and a testament to your expertise.
How do I SEO my Content so Readers Find It?
There are so many options where this is concerned, but rather than go the free e-book route, or PDF guides, let’s look at a resource that is open on your blog. This means it’s either a page or post on your site.
Once the post is live, there are just five steps to take to continually ensure that your cornerstone content is being found by the search engines.
- Do some basic keyword research. Use the Google Keyword Tool  to find out search trends for the keywords in your niche. Pick a keyword that consumers are actually using to search for your information. Once you’ve decided on a keyword phrase use this in your article headline and title.
- Segment the information appropriately. This means use appropriate header tags: an H1 tag for the headline, with the information segmented by H2 and H3 tags. In addition to working well for the search engines, you break up the content make everything more scan-able.
- Reference your content! A truly useful piece of cornerstone content should fit the message of many of your blog posts. Whenever it’s appropriate, link to it! Tell your readers this fantastic compendium of information exists. Not only will your blog readers more easily find it, internal site links help Google determine which pages on your site are the most valuable.
- Highlight and point to the content. This may mean designing a special side-bar ad for your resource page and top content. Or consider labeling it as a “Start here” call to action for new visitors on your blog. Do whatever you can to point the focus to your cornerstone content.
- Use it in your byline on guest posts. Guest posting is quite common and the vast majority of sites will allow you at least two links within your personal bio – use this real estate to point to your cornerstone content with the keyword phrase youíre targeting!
These are the basics for creating cornerstone content that will last in the search engines. Valuable content is easy to share and if you’ve created a great guide, then your readers will be happy to pass along links, retweets, and Facebook shares.
On the SEO side of things, there are always more tweaks and tips you could be doing – these are the basis to get you started.
If you’re interested in ramping up your search engine traffic and learning the basics of SEO keyword research and linking, check out the Get Traffic Now  guide I co-authored as a do-it-yourself resource for the travel and tourism industry.
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