Cornerstone Content: SEO secrets to make you REALLY stand out
I have recently moved house. And I now have a (somewhat green) pond at the bottom of my garden. Ponds = frogs.
As I lay there last night listening to their delightful chorus, it occurred to me that their songs sounded exactly like the online marketing space.
Bear with me.
There must have been a least twenty of the little blighters singing and croaking and carrying on quite unashamedly, quite obviously trying to attract a mate. And every so often, this one little dude went, phweet. All the other frogs began to sound the same as I listened out for this one distinctive phweet – the one little sound in the cacophony of noise which meant that this little chap was getting some action tonight. He was singing a different song.
We read copy from countless websites every day. Some of it stands out. Most of it doesn’t.
And the reason that most of it doesn’t stand out is because it doesn’t matter. Let me give you an example: A home page for an electronics company tells us that the company has been running since 1966 when Old Man Joe started selling speakers out of his garage. The company went from “strength to strength” and everyone was “passionate” about superior customer service.
Are you bored yet? I am. The fact is, nobody cares. Your audience only cares about what your company can do for them. So you have to tell them, in clear and concise language. (Often!)
And this is exactly what SEO is all about.
SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It means – how can you create content that search engines want to dish out to their customers? How do they know your stuff is relevant? Are they sending their people to the right place?
So yes, you need great, readable, phweet-style copy on your website. You knew that, right?
Did you know that in order to do this effectively, you need to make sure that the important keywords appear in the right places?
Joost de Valk of Yoast (awesome SEO guys) has this to say: “The most common question we answer in our website reviews is “how do I make my site rank for keyword X?”. What most people don’t realize is that they’re asking the wrong question. You see, sites don’t rank: pages rank. If you want to rank for a keyword, you’ll need to determine which page is going to be the page ranking for that keyword.”
So let’s think about this for a second. If an individual page is getting you ranked (phweet) by Google, then surely you want that all-important keyword to appear in that page title? That’s true – but if it appears in every page, then Google thinks you are trying to work the system and you get penalized.
So here’s the thing: You need cornerstone content.
A cornerstone page is the page that tells your visitors what you do, how you do it, and why they should care. They need to immediately see how your company is useful to them. Secondly, this content needs to be so compelling that they want to read more, and tell their friends.
This cornerstone page is your hub – it answers the question of what you do, in a compelling way.
After you have created your cornerstone page, you will want to build on this. Let’s say, for example, you are insurance brokers. Your keywords (which phweet in your cornerstone content) will likely be insurance brokers, wealth management, personal cover, vehicle insurance – or variations of these.
The articles that you write and that will link back to this hub page will be the questions people are asking around these keywords. So you wouldn’t write ten articles on car insurance and tag them all with the same keyword. No, Google doesn’t like that.
Rather, you’d write about ways to prevent hijacking, how to make a claim, or what to do in an accident. That way you are telling your audience – and the search engines – that you know what you are talking about and that your service or product is relevant. You would also link back to your cornerstone page in the article to answer any unfamiliar terms in your copy.
How do you know what the public is asking, and the language that they are using? A great start is to go to answerthepublic.com. This site and other online sources offer incredible nuggets which you can use to create great, SEO-friendly, cornerstone content for your website. You will be answering the questions that the public are actually asking – in their own words.
How’s that for totally relevant? Take that, Google!
Employing SEO cornerstone content is the best way to show the search engines and your audience that you can answer the question that they are asking. It means that your website will rank (because of all the relevant content on your pages) and you will get more traffic to your site. More traffic means more sales.
If you want your company to phweet and not croak, then you will want a structured SEO-friendly website, with content that your audience loves.
Why not give us a call and let us talk you through how to sing a different song; a song the public wants to hear.