The most common question we answer in our consultancy 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.
Adding that keyword to the title of every page is not going to help. Nor is writing 200 articles about it without one central article to link all those articles to. You need one single page that is the center of the content about that topic. One “hub” page, if you will.
That page will need to be 100% awesome in all ways. Brian Clark of Copyblogger calls this type of content “cornerstone content” and has written an awesome article about it (a few years ago, already). In fact, go and read Brian’s article, he explains that 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, that content is going to live. In my opinion, really important content deserves a page within your site’s structure, not a news item / post. It should be easily navigated to within a few clicks.
So, you go ahead and create that page within your site. Take some time for 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 is ranking. Which means real people will read it too and you need to convert those people. So think about search engines all you want, but think even more about the visitor that will end up on that page and give him / her something worthwhile.
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 variations for these other pages and use these in your site structure. Be sure to get our Content SEO training for more insights on that.
Creating internal links
Now, once you have that cornerstone page, it’s time for the next step: creating internal links for your article. You’re going to do this by figuring out which pages Google already thinks are relevant for your targeted keyword / key phrase. The easiest way to figure out which pages Google thinks are relevant for that keyword is 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 more than 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.
Afterwards, when you’re writing more content for your site, when you touch on a topic related to your cornerstone content, don’t forget to link to it! Now, let’s go on to the last and final step:
Promote your cornerstone content
If you’ve created it well, your cornerstone content is something to be proud of, something that others will easily share and thus 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 created and that it might be worthwhile for their visitors to see that. You might even want to offer them to write a guest post about the topic, linking back to your article.
If you want to learn more about cornerstone content and setting up the right site structure, we can recommend:
- Reading our ultimate guide on site structure,
- this article on internal linking: why and how,
- obviously getting our site structure training!