How to use Yoast SEO for your cornerstone content strategy?

On your site, you’ll probably have a few articles that are most dear to your heart. Articles you desperately want people to read. Articles you want people to find with Google. At Yoast, we call these articles your cornerstone articles. How does the Yoast SEO plugin help you set up a cornerstone content strategy? I’ll tell you all about that in this blog post.

What is cornerstone content?

Cornerstone content consists of those articles that you’re most proud of. The articles that reflect the mission of your company perfectly, and the ones you definitely want to rank well. In general, cornerstone articles are lengthy, and they tend to be informative.

Perhaps you’ve never put much thought in using a cornerstone content strategy. It is worth your time, though! Think about the posts or pages on your site. Which are most precious to you? Which articles are the most complete and authoritative? Choose these to be your cornerstone content.

Read more: What type of content should cornerstone content be? »

What does Yoast SEO do with cornerstone content?

There are three aspects to a successful cornerstone content approach:

  • Cornerstone content should be lengthy, well-written and well-optimized.
  • Cornerstone articles should have a prominent place in your site’s structure.
  • You should keep your cornerstones fresh and up to date.

Yoast SEO will help you take care of all of these things!

1. Write awesome articles

The SEO and readability analysis in Yoast SEO will give you feedback on your writing. If you consider a post to be one of your cornerstone content articles, you should toggle the switch to ‘on’ in the ‘cornerstone content’ tab, underneath the ‘focus keyphrase’ tab.

Enabling Cornerstone analysis Yoast SEO

Indicating that an article is cornerstone content, will make the SEO analysis and the readability analysis a bit more strict. For example, we propose to write at least 300 words for a normal post. If a post is cornerstone content, we urge you to write at least 900 words.

Our SEO analysis will help you optimize your blog post for the search engines. For cornerstone content, you have to go the extra mile. Make sure you use your focus keyphrase enough, mention it in a few headings, and optimize your images. Readability is equally important, though. Our readability analysis helps you to, for instance, use enough headings and to write in short, easy-to-read sentences and paragraphs.

Keep reading: How our cornerstone analysis helps you create your best articles »

2. Incorporate cornerstone content in your site structure

You have to link to your cornerstone articles to make them rank high in the search engines. By linking to your favorite articles often, you’ll tell Google that these are the ones that are most important. Think of it as a map: big cities have considerably more roads leading towards them than small towns. Those cities are your cornerstones. They should receive most links. The small towns are your posts on more specific topics. If you build your site structure like this, you won’t be competing with your own content for a place in the search engines.

Yoast SEO has two useful features to help you link to your cornerstone content articles.

Internal linking tool

If you use our premium plugin, you can use our internal linking tool. This tool will make linking suggestions for other posts based on the words you’re using in your post. The posts you’ve marked as cornerstone content articles – as described previously – will always appear on top of our list of suggestions. That way, whenever you’re writing about a specific topic, you’ll find the right cornerstone article to link to. Read more about how to use the Yoast SEO internal linking tool.

Using our internal linking tool will remind you to link to your cornerstones whenever you’re writing a new post. As a result, your cornerstones will stay on top in your linking structure. And that’s what they need to start ranking.

Text link counter

The text link counter allows you to see all the internal links you’ve put in a post and all internal links to a post from your other pages. This tool provides you with a clear overview of the distribution of your internal links. Make sure to check (and keep checking) if your cornerstone articles receive enough internal links!

text links counter

3. Keep your cornerstones up to date

Regularly updating your cornerstone content is important for your cornerstone strategy. After all, your cornerstones should be timeless, and therefore, always contain the latest insights. If you have Yoast SEO Premium installed, you’ll have an additional feature to help you keep your cornerstones up to date. The stale content filter allows you to see at a glance which of your cornerstones need updating. It works in both your post overview, and your pages overview. Neat, right?

Of course, at Yoast, we practice what we preach, so you’ll find no stale content here ;-)

Cornerstone content strategy made simple with Yoast SEO

Your cornerstone content strategy consists of several elements. Your cornerstone content articles should be informative, nice to read and well-optimized. In addition to that, they should have a prominent place in your site’s structure. Yoast SEO helps you achieve both these things. And last but not least, the Premium plugin helps you keep your cornerstones fresh and up to date. Don’t skimp on optimizing your cornerstones: they deserve that little bit of extra attention!

Read on: Why you should buy Yoast SEO Premium »


25 Responses to How to set up a cornerstone content strategy with Yoast SEO?

  1. John Givens
    John Givens  • 1 year ago

    If I only have pages, not posts, on my site…does the cornerstone strategy apply?

  2. Luca Silva
    Luca Silva  • 1 year ago

    Very useful guide! I found this explication so accurate. Now, I’m training to set up cornerstone on my websites wint Yoast seo. Many thanks

  3. hopefulguru
    hopefulguru  • 1 year ago

    First off, awesome article. Thanks very much for this.

    I’m proposing setting up my cornerstone structure as follows: a number of cornerstone articles linked to directly from my WordPress homepage (these articles will be on pages as opposed to posts). I will also be linking directly to related blog posts within the cornerstone article (and back to the cornerstone from the blog post).

    Where I’m a bit confused, however, is with how I structure my latest blog posts in a separate tab on the homepage. I’m concerned that if I structure this incorrectly, it will take away some of the benefits of the cornerstone structure. Is it ok to have a simplified list showing all the latest blog posts here (regardless of category), or should I be developing a silo structure for this with the ‘blog’ menu link taking you to a silo page showing the various blog categories?

    Is there any conflict from adopting both a cornerstone and silo structure for the various aspects of my website? Or is there a better way to do this?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. And sorry for such a long comment!

  4. Natalie Say
    Natalie Say  • 1 year ago

    Should I create cornerstone content in a Post or Page in wordpress (I guess we will be updating the cornerstone page/post regularly)? Do you have a recommendation on which is more suitable?

  5. Sheriena McEvers
    Sheriena McEvers  • 1 year ago

    Thanks for simplifying a complicated process. The idea of cornerstone articles has helped me focus my writing. From being scattered, I feel more focused on my brand. Thanks.

    • Melina Reintjens
      Melina Reintjens  • 1 year ago

      That’s great to hear, Sheriena!

  6. bsp21
    bsp21  • 1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing this article, it will be helpful for the SEO analysts, this article says many tips for SEO, really amazing, great work.

  7. Kim Wollesen
    Kim Wollesen  • 1 year ago

    Thanks for the great article.
    Can product pages be cornerstone content? I have three products that I sell and they each have a product page on my website.

    • Melina Reintjens
      Melina Reintjens  • 1 year ago

      Hi Kim! Sure, product pages can be cornerstone content! Just make sure you write an awesome text on that page, and use your internal linking structure to make it clear to Google that these are your most important pages :)

  8. Sandeep Goswami
    Sandeep Goswami  • 1 year ago

    Securing good position is a task but Yoast plugin has made it easy.
    Great work. This blog helped me a lot!

  9. Katanesia
    Katanesia  • 1 year ago

    Thanks. I see, internal links are very big influence on SEO results. Is it true?

  10. Abdul Muneeb
    Abdul Muneeb  • 1 year ago

    Good one Marieke!

  11. tendai mugoni
    tendai mugoni  • 1 year ago

    Thanks, I didn’t understand what cornerstones are. I think I fell in love with Yoast. I can’t complain at all.

    • Melina Reintjens
      Melina Reintjens  • 1 year ago

      You’re very welcome, Tendai :) We love you too! <3

  12. K Prakash
    K Prakash  • 1 year ago

    Thank’s for share this beautiful post. I updated yoast plugin it was old version that have no tab for cornerstone content visibility. It help me to optimize content…

  13. Shufi
    Shufi  • 1 year ago

    Thank you so much for sharing this article, its really useful for all,hope you will share these kind of article, awaiting fro your next article.

  14. Pankhuri
    Pankhuri  • 1 year ago

    having a great article to learn here thanks to write this type of article.

  15. kambohjee
    kambohjee  • 1 year ago

    Thanks for great article.
    I am using Yoast plugin for my blog alltime25.com since the day I ‘ve created. Quite satisfied and love to know how to use cornerstone content. thanks again

  16. Christina
    Christina  • 1 year ago

    By using Yoast seo plugin, i am able to get high ranks for many of keywords easily. This useful article will also help a lot in securing good position in top SERPs. Thanks for your time to write for us.

  17. Tube Nik
    Tube Nik  • 1 year ago

    Many Many Thanks for this post….

  18. Rachel
    Rachel  • 1 year ago

    What about websites that are mostly focused on audio or visual content? I find it difficult to write a lengthy article about a new song or painting, but I still want to rank for that content.

    • Melina Reintjens
      Melina Reintjens  • 1 year ago

      Hey Rachel! That’s a very good question! You’re right that writing a lengthy cornerstone article about a song or a painting probably isn’t the way to go. A good strategy might be to write cornerstone articles for your overarching categories, ‘3D fractal art’, for example, and trying to rank with those. That’s hopefully a bit easier to write about, and if you properly link your relevant posts about songs and paintings, that internal linking structure will help your cornerstones rank as well! Good luck!

      • Daisy Linka
        Daisy Linka  • 1 year ago

        Internal Linking is very important part of SEO, and if done properly can help you rank your website for a specific keyword.

  19. Ashish Goswami
    Ashish Goswami  • 1 year ago

    Hi Marieke
    I never knew there was something like cornerstone content until I came across this blog post. But now when I think of it, it really makes sense giving greater importance to the posts that define you.
    Thanks for the post.


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