We have discussed cornerstone content in previous posts but now it’s time for you to see how it can benefit your online business.
This is a strategy we used for an existing client in the rainwater tank industry. The site we will be using in this example has been built by me and is a WordPress blog using the Genesis Framework.
Can I suggest that if you don’t like to read that you scroll down the page a little further and take a look at the Google Analytic screens shots.
Understanding Your Market And Competitors
What we found in our research is this, nearly all sites were copying each other and simply adding product after product much like the many e-commerce sites you can see everywhere online.
Most of these sites were also copying each others images and really offering no value as every product page was practically the same across multiple sites.
In effect, all were making the same mistakes, putting up a homepage, contact us page and then just adding product after product. This was causing a really big problem, these site owners didn’t know there were more updates from Google to come that would affect the way their pages are ranked.
Google has stated many times that it wants and needs user engagement to see the quality of a website and these sites were not providing that in any way. Ask yourself this, if you went to a page that simply had a picture and a product description would you share it, or even consider bookmarking it? I know I wouldn’t and you probably wouldn’t either.
In most cases you leave the site without looking at another page.
This is what Google has to say about thin content: Site appears to consist of low-quality or shallow pages which do not provide users with much added value (such as thin affiliate pages, doorway pages, cookie-cutter sites, automatically generated content, or copied content.
This results in a very high bounce rate which is an indication to Google that the page is either thin content or not relevant to that search term, both of these factors can hurt your page rankings.
Google is fighting spam on a daily basis through the use of complex and unforgiving algorithms , you need to know what is being removed from their search index and why. To see live examples of pages Google is removing from its search index go here (new window).
The above screen shot shows how many notifications are being issued each month to website owners for breaching their quality guidelines. Hopefully this will show you how important it now is to use the content strategy we have outlined on our site, these notifications are not going away anytime soon so you need to act to protect your online business.
How We Overcame This Dilemma
We took a good hard look at our clients site to see how we could improve the metrics of their best-selling and most popular products. The first thing we had to do was improve the bounce rate on the site which averaged at 65%, this was way to high for any site to be considered quality. The page views were also very low at only 1.34% this also needed to be improved.
It became apparent that the site was missing one very important element, pillar content or what is also referred to as cornerstone content. The site had plenty of content but most of that was nothing more than product pages, thin and very unattractive to most users which in-turn makes it unattractive to the search engines resulting in the above results.
I made the decision to use cornerstone content to help rank the site better for its primary keywords, see the screen shot below for the results 3 months after of making these changes.
It took nearly a month to see any results from doing this but it was worth the effort. As you can see from the screen shot above the time on site has increased and the bounce rate has been cut in half.
How we achieved these results: The site has three products that sell very well so I decided to create a static page and describe every detail of the three products on one single page which is the cornerstone content. I then made sure that with-in that content the primary keyword was used in the right areas of the page, such as the title of the page and the page body.
Writing the content was easy, I already had an understanding of the products I was writing content about, it was also easy to add the anchor text into the page linking to the 3 product pages to ensure this content would add value to those pages.
This is a very basic example of what is actually happening when you use cornerstone content to build authority and strategically place your pages and posts within the search engines. Since writing this post I have added another two cornerstone pages that are targeting related keywords for those same products.
If you are a DIY website owner and are having problems getting your site found or positioned effectively in the search engines please Contact Us. This is an obligation free service where I personally have a look at your site and give you some suggestions on how to improve it.
Lets open the discussion, have you seen any changes in the way your pages/posts are getting ranked, have they disappeared completely? Are you using site content effectively and adding value for your site visitors.