Cornerstone Content Strategy: Worthwhile or A Waste of Time?

To rank in search engines, you need to post content on your website consistently. But do you know what kind of content will really make a difference in your SEO efforts? Well, cornerstone content is the answer.

Cornerstone content is a strategic way to boost your website traffic and search engine rankings. It serves as the foundation of your overall content strategy: 

  • It is designed to draw in new readers, 
  • Cultivate trust with the current ones and ultimately, 
  • Build loyalty with both groups. 

Done right, it can be the key to success for your online presence. Crafted wrong and it’s a waste of time – and money.

In this article, we will walk you through the basics of cornerstone content and provide tips on how to create effective cornerstone pieces that have an impact on your target audience and drive results. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!

What is cornerstone content?

When you Google the word “cornerstone” – its synonyms are foundation, bedrock and centerpiece. Basically, a cornerstone content is the foundation of your SEO content. As you publish blog posts and articles over time – all of your content must be related to and points back to your cornerstone content. 

Cornerstone content is in-depth, detailed and long, as the purpose of this kind of content is to demonstrate your expertise and authority. The goal of cornerstone content is to help your website rank for high search volume topics. 

How does cornerstone content benefit SEO?

Creating cornerstone content has a number of SEO advantages that you should consider: 

First, cornerstone content will rank your site higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) especially for competitive search queries. Breaking through high search volume keywords takes a lot of work as you will be fighting against established websites but worry not, it is not impossible. You have to be strategic. 

Again, as you publish multiple blog posts and articles over time, it must all be linked to your cornerstone content. By doing so, you are giving that content an upvote and that helps Google determine which among your published content is the most important – this is the key for your website to rank high in popular search queries. 

Second, cornerstone content helps establish your website as an authoritative source on the topics that matter to your business. Again, cornerstone content is typically comprehensive – this demonstrates how knowledgeable you are in your field of expertise which helps build trust with your visitors and turns them into loyal customers.

Third, cornerstone content can save time in the future. That’s because these pieces are often evergreen, meaning they don’t become outdated quickly and can be used to answer customer inquiries repeatedly over time. 

Fourth, cornerstone content helps in your link building strategy. Since they are comprehensive resources, you can use them to link internally and externally to other pieces related to the topic. Remember, links help search engines discover new web pages and determine which one is the most valuable. 

Fifth, cornerstone content helps cover a lot of keywords. That’s because these longer and more detailed guides cover a wider range of keywords, boosting your chances of being found by potential customers.

Real life examples of cornerstone content: “How to do keyword research”

The search query “how to do keyword research” is a topic in which you can develop  cornerstone content – it is highly searched, evergreen and can be an avenue for you to demonstrate your expertise, especially if your domain is in SEO. Here are some real-life examples:


Ahrefs, a popular SEO tool, published a blog post entitled How to Do Keyword Research for SEO and is a good example of cornerstone content. Here are the noteworthy practices from this post: 

  • Despite being evergreen, cornerstone content must be updated regularly. This signals that as an expert in your field, you are constantly providing timely and relevant information – and this wins you points from Google as the search engine giant takes fresh and updated content in its ranking factors.  
  • This blog post is related and a part of another cornerstone content strategy built around SEO. This positions Ahrefs’ authority and expertise in the SEO field as they are providing in-depth guidance on SEO. 
  • Cornerstone content provides a comprehensive discussion and this blog post reflects it. It is composed of 6,000+ words and covers all the necessary details on how to conduct SEO keyword research.
  • If you look closely, you can notice that the other content Ahrefs published is anchored around their cornerstone content.  “Long-tail keywords” and “zero volume keywords” are under SEO keyword research.
  • If you nail your cornerstone content, it will show in the results. Here’s what their content resulted to:

Search Engine Journal 

Search Engine Journal, a website dedicated to bringing the latest news and best practices on SEO, has also published cornerstone content around keyword research entitled Keyword Research: An In-Depth Beginner’s Guide.  

  • Cornerstone content is a gateway to feed your funnel. The published guide post is in-depth but they have also provided an ebook that visitors can download. To get  a hold of the e-book you need to input your email and this is an excellent way of capturing leads. 
  • They have also linked related blog posts so that visitors can dig into other related topics.
  • The goal of cornerstone content is to educate visitors and this piece of content really seizes the opportunity. They added a video relevant to it so users can get the most value from their website. But that’s not all, by adding a video, user dwell time increases and the time users spend on a website is another ranking factor Google takes into account. 
  • This cornerstone content followed the best practices and it paid off as seen on the number of visitors and social shares. 


Moz is an SEO software and to capture relevant traffic, they have published a cornerstone piece with the title The Beginner’s Guide to SEO: Keyword Research.  Here are notable takeaways from this content:

  • Since cornerstone content is detailed and long, oftentimes, there are terms and jargon your readers may not be familiar with. By linking your glossary, you can educate visitors and drive traffic to another webpage.  
  • Since cornerstone content focuses on one topic, you can link and suggest related topics that your readers may be interested in. 
  • This piece can be an opportunity for you to provide more value to your customers. By providing more value, your customers are more likely to trust you and be receptive to your offers.


Semrush, another popular SEO tool, published cornerstone content with the title How to Do Keyword Research for SEO (A Detailed 3-Step Guide)

  • Just like the previous cornerstone posts, this content linked other related blog posts that readers may want to read. 
  • Since this 3,000-word guide broke down keyword research into three actionable steps and discussed each thoroughly, it has racked up impressive stats:


Yoast, a well-known WordPress SEO plug-in, also published a cornerstone post on keyword research entitled Keyword research for SEO: the ultimate guide. Here the best practices from this content:

  • This cornerstone guide linked published blog posts so visitors can easily navigate to other related topics.  
  • This guide added a video as well. Again, a video increases user dwell time which is a good practice to boost your search engine ranking.  

Steps to create effective cornerstone content

1. Choose your core topics and perform keyword research

Core topics are broad subjects that are essential and relevant in your domain or industry. These topics will serve as a foundation and a guide as you publish more content over time. 

Once you have your core topics, you need to perform keyword research to identify the specific keywords and phrases that people are using to search for information related to your topics. You can use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs or Semrush to find high-volume keywords that you can target in your content. 

For example, if your domain is in SEO, you can build cornerstone content around keyword research. If you do keyword research (how meta!), you will find out that related keywords on your core topic are seed keywords, long tail keywords and keyword planner to name a few. You can use these related keywords to develop a network of posts. 

To better illustrate, think of a spider web: the center is your comprehensive cornerstone piece and surrounding it are numerous shorter content pages that are connected to your centerpiece. 

You don’t need to have these related networks of posts all figured out. Once you have identified some ideas, you can start writing. You can always add more related posts down the line as you learn more about your audience’s needs and interests. A great way to start is by creating a few pieces of content that are interconnected by link building: if each of your related posts links back to your cornerstone piece, it will help improve its SEO value. You can always check the SEOFOMO newsletter to get fresh information on the latest SEO news and trends.

2. Create logical outline

Since cornerstone posts are comprehensive, an outline will help ensure that your content can easily be digested by your readers. 

This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that your content flows smoothly and makes sense to your readers. Your outline should include the main points you want to cover, subtopics that support those points and any research or data you need to include to back up your claims. Remember, cornerstone content aims to demonstrate your expertise so presenting facts and figures is the key to establish credibility as a source.

A tip: it is important to make your content easy to read and understand, so consider using bullet points, subheadings, and numbered lists to break up the large text and make it more scannable. 

3. Thoroughly research, then write targeted content

Thorough research means going beyond a simple Google search and really delving into the subject matter to find unique insights and perspectives that have not been covered extensively. This includes interviewing experts so you can offer your readers outstanding value. 

Once you have the data, research, and ask for expert opinions to back up your claims and provide information for your readers, you can now write targeted content that provides value to your readers.


Cornerstone content forms the foundation of your content marketing strategy, helping you get the most out of your SEO efforts, create something that will stand the test of time and ultimately get your website noticed.

In other words, cornerstone content is surely an investment in your online presence – it takes time and effort to develop one as you need to understand your target audience and their needs. 

When it comes to creating cornerstone content, there are really no hard and fast rules on how to do it. It is about taking the time to plan and craft content that is engaging, well-written and valuable. It is also important to make sure that your content is always kept up-to-date with the latest knowledge and trends to ensure it is relevant and helpful for your readers.

So, take a moment to create a content plan that will help you leverage the power of cornerstone content. With a bit of effort, you can be well on your way to creating content that will engage your audience and get your website noticed.If you want to create a related network of posts to go along with your cornerstone content but do not have enough time on your plate, you can take advantage of AI assistant writers like Copysmith. Copysmith can help you create SEO-optimized posts in an instant. Sign up today and start writing content that ranks for free. No credit card required.