Many, many moons ago it was enough simply to use keywords in your content to help readers and the search engines determine the topic of your page.
Then along came Google, which was not satisfied just to determine the topic and relevance of a web page. They also wanted to know how good it was, and used backlinks as a way to determine that.
More recently, the major search engines have decided that backlinks aren’t the only way to determine the quality of a page. They now look at social signals as well. The idea being that if a page is linked to by a number of influential people on social media, that equates to a reliable thumbs-up.
So now, as content writers, we have to consider all three factors.
And we are going to try for that sweet spot in the middle.
We have to include keywords on our pages and posts, so that both people and the search engines can determine their relevance.
We have to write content that will attract backlinks.
And we have to write content that will be shared by influential people on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
It would be nice if doing all three things came automatically. But it doesn’t.
As numerous content-mills have demonstrated, pages which are optimized for keywords are not necessarily deserving of backlinks, or social mentions.
And pages with tons of backlinks may not include any strong keywords, or be shared through social media.
And content that spreads like wild fire through social media may not have any keywords or backlinks at all.
So…is there any kind of content that is found in that sweet spot in the middle?
Fortunately, there is.
Smack in the middle is what is often referred to as cornerstone content.
Cornerstone content, to put it simply, is the very best content you can come up with.
Often, it is longer than your regular pages or posts.
Almost always, it takes you a great deal longer to write than regular content.
It is authoritative, it is well written, it covers its topic in detail, and – when done right – becomes the go-to source of information on that topic for years to come.
Yes, it can be optimized with strong keywords.
Yes, people link to it, because it’s so darned good and useful.
And yes, it spreads far and wide through social media, for the same reason. It deserves to be.
So…now I have let the cat out of the bag, and have identified the sweet spot, should you be worried that your competitors will rush to their keyboards and write the ultimate page of cornerstone content on your topic?
I wouldn’t worry about it.
True cornerstone pages are few and far between, because most web writers are foolish. They would rather write ten quick pages than one remarkable page.
Those who are not foolish are generally under too much pressure – from their bosses and managers – to deliver quantity, and not quality.
In short, you can relax, sit down and start planning that page right now.
It might take you a week to create it, but the rewards for being in the sweet spot are significant.
Add fresh, quality content to your website daily, with Web Content Café.
Web Content Café membership delivers:
1. Daily content ideas to inspire the creation of new, high-value, shareable content for your website or blog.
2. EXPERT ARTICLES on web content best practices. How to write it, optimize it, monetize it and more.
Remember, both Google and your audience reward fresh, high quality content.