Without doubt the most common question we are asked 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 particular keyword, you’ll need to determine which page you want to rank for that particular keyword.
Adding that keyword to the title of every page is not helpful. Nor is writing 200 articles about it without one central article linking them all together. You need one single page that is the center of the content about that topic – a “hub” page, if you will.
That page will need to be 100% awesome in every way. Brian Clark of Copyblogger calls this type of content “cornerstone content” and has written an awesome article about it (it’s several years old but still relevant). In fact, go and read Brian’s article – right now – as he explains it way better than I can. I’ll wait…
You’re back? Ok, read on:
Position that new cornerstone content within your site
That article said a lot, right? It told you about keyword research, title tags and headlines, content and why your content needs to be awesome and more. Now let’s talk about where, within your site, to place that content. In my opinion, really important content deserves a page within your core site structure, not a news item or blog post. It should be easily found in a few clicks.
So, now go ahead and create that page within your site. Take some time over it, this is going to be the content that’s going to make you rank, but not just that, it’s going to be the content that ranks. Which means real people are going to read it too and you need to convert those people. So think about search engines by all means, but think even more about the visitors who will end up reading that page – and give them something valuable.
This also means you’re not going to create other pages within your site that target the exact same keyword! And you really don’t have to, as there are many ways to use keyword variations for these other pages and use these in your site structure. Our Content SEO training gives more insights into that.
Creating internal links
Now, once you have that cornerstone page, it’s time to create internal links pointing to your article. You do this by figuring out which pages Google already thinks are relevant for your targeted keyword or key phrase. The easiest way to figure out which pages Google thinks are relevant for that keyword is by doing a “site:” search in Google. So if I were to try and find the most important page for our “local seo plugin” within yoast.com, I’d search for:
site:yoast.com local seo plugin
You will probably find quite a few pages within your site. Go into each of those pages and add a link to your new cornerstone content. If possible, use the keyword you’re targeting as the anchor text for that link, but most importantly, link from within the content. Don’t just add some site-wide sidebar/footer links. The reason for this is simple: links from within content are way more valuable than links from sidebars.
Going forward, when you’re writing more content for your site and touch on a topic related to your cornerstone content, don’t forget to link it up! The Yoast SEO text link counter can help you keep track of how many internal links your pages have pointing to them. Furthermore, if you use Yoast SEO Premium, the internal linking tool will find relevant articles for you to link to, listing your cornerstone articles at the top.
Now on to the final step:
Promote your cornerstone content
If well-written, your cornerstone content should be something to be proud of, something that others will willingly share and so also something that will attract links. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people who have written about related topics: show them what you have created and that it might be worthwhile for their visitors to see. You might even want to offer to write a guest post for them on the topic, linking back to your article.
If you want to learn more about cornerstone content and setting up your site structure, we recommend:
- Reading our ultimate guide on site structure
- This article on internal linking: why and how
- Completing our site structure training