Managing multiple blog posts that target the same keyword?

What is cornerstone content? We’ve touched on the SEO power of blog posts elsewhere in the site, but something that occurs with many of our clients who have active blogs is that they often end up with multiple posts on their sites all targeting the same keyword. For many reasons, this is obviously far from ideal as their site content essentially starts to compete against itself and at the detriment to their cornerstone content.

Cornerstone content pieces are those articles on your website you’re most proud of. They are extremely well written, reflect your business and communicate your mission. These are the articles you would like to rank highly in Google. If you have multiple posts about the same subject, it is important that you pick one page or post to be the cornerstone content for that particular subject and corresponding keywords.

The importance of cornerstone content in SEO is significant. If you’re in an industry with highly competitive or popular search terms then it can be very difficult to rank for those search terms. A cornerstone approach will help because you’re effectively telling Google which pages on your site are the most important – by doing so you remove the risk of competing against yourself in SERP Ranking.

Let’s look at an example of cornerstone content:

At Shareable we’re digital marketing experts and one of our services within the digital marketing umbrella is ‘Content Marketing’. We have a page on our site that covers the Content Marketing services we offer our clients. This page is well written, with a significant amount of useful information about the how/what/where of our services. This page is essentially the one we want to rank highly in SERPs for ‘Content Marketing’ as a search term. This is our Cornerstone Content.

Because content marketing as a subject is actually pretty broad, and we have a very active blog about what we do as a company there is a very good chance that we’ll be producing posts that cover content marketing or some specific aspect of it. If we optimise all of our posts for CM as a general term then we’ll actually be competing against ourselves for the search term. Not a good idea.

Cornerstone content: How do we show Google which articles are most important?

In order to show Google what pages are most important, we write different titles, URLs, and descriptions for all these similar posts. This effectively creates complimentary long tail keywords which will help your site rank for a specific keyword.

Another way we show Google which pages are cornerstone content is by creating an internal linking structure within the site. If you think about your site layout as a pyramid, your cornerstone articles are near the top of the pyramid (and can ideally be reached with one click from your site homepage). All your posts that have similar content should link back to the corresponding cornerstone content article. An internal linking structure that follows these rules will increase the chance of your cornerstone content ranking in Google.

How do we write different titles, URLs, and descriptions for these similar posts?

If you think about your cornerstone content as the hub at the centre of a wheel, your articles that cover topics similar to your cornerstone content become the spokes supporting the hub at the centre of the wheel. With this in mind what we then do is write titles, URLs, and descriptions that compliment this cornerstone content.

If we go back to our example of ‘Content Marketing’ as a keyword we want to rank for, we would write complimentary blog posts with specific keywords like:

  • Content Marketing best practice
  • Simple content marketing
  • Content marketing that works
  • Why small businesses need content marketing strategies
  • Effective content marketing strategies

We could even then start ranking for long tail keyword searches like:

  • How do I make the content on my website rank in Google?
  • How does Google decide what pages to list?
  • Do I need to worry about the content of my website?

Take a pragmatic approach to cornerstone content

Think long and hard about what content on your site should be cornerstone content. Do extensive keyword research and produce long, informative and beautifully written cornerstone articles.

Determine the essential keywords you want to rank for. Your cornerstone articles should be optimized for the most competitive keywords.
Rewrite your cornerstone article. Make it very SEO-friendly. Expand it and make sure it’s totally up to date. Rewrite and expand that article regularly.