Content Marketing/SEO Tactics: Cornerstone Content

6 min readFeb 22, 2019

Back to the basics on inbound content marketing

In this brief article I’m going to look at a basic content marketing tactic that can help you link the major keywords your prospects search for with the longer tail keywords you are realistically more likely to rank for.

Note: I am not advocating stupid SEO concepts like keyword stuffing (jamming as many keywords as possible, multiple times into the same piece). These attempts to game the search engine rankings are more likely to hurt your ranking, and they may, in fact get you marked as spam. Instead, I’ll cover the basics of creating a cornerstone or keystone content piece that provides useful links to other content covering more specialized subject matter.

It is important to remember that the basic goals of any content marketing approach are providing information needed to make a buying decision, demonstrating subject matter expertise, and maintaining a strong reputation for both the company and its products or services. Cornerstone content addresses all three of these goals.

‘Big’ keyword phrases

Big keywords, for lack of a better term, are search phrases that are the most commonly searched terms for a certain subject. Getting to the top of these search pages is difficult to impossible without devoting a lot of resources to them and dealing with deep-pocketed competition. As a result, many content marketers shoot for getting good results for much more specific search phrases based on specialized products or expertise. Does this mean you should give up on big keywords? For most content, generally yes. Cornerstone content is the exception.

Creating a subject matter hub

Cornerstone content is a major piece, published periodically (in my case I generally try to do one quarterly for my clients), that addresses the big keywords and then links to more targeted content across your content library. It works like this:

  • Look at the highest ranking keyword phrases in your market
  • Write a general article that walks through these phrases with one subsection for each one
  • Within these sections, write brief, direct…

Mastodon:, Writer, nine non-fiction books, two novels, Buddhist, train lover. Amateur cook, lover of life most of the time!