Plenty of bloggers who want to stand out in the all-important search rankings focus exclusively on keywords. While keywords are certainly important, this approach is fundamentally wrong. Spamming a site with hundreds of instances of the same word or phrase is not the way to impress Google and may harm your page rankings instead.
The first thing to understand is that page rank means exactly that – pages are given a ranking, not sites as a whole. Writing twenty posts on the same topic, all liberally sprinkled with keywords simply dilutes your page’s authority on that topic twenty ways. The solution is simple, though: all twenty posts need to be tied together through one single page, called the cornerstone. This page will play a major role when it comes to your blog’s popularity, so putting some thought into how it will look both to search engines and users is essential.
The Importance of Planning a Blog’s Structure
Many people have the idea that blog posts can only be catalogued chronologically, but there’s no real need for that. HTML is more flexible and sketching out linking structures internally is just as important as posting killer content, assuming that you are after organic traffic from search engines.
The cornerstone page is the one which you want search engines to rank highly and it will also be the landing page for any user arriving after searching for your given keyword. As such, its design needs to be impeccable in terms of ease of navigation, content, and SEO. You will, generally speaking, not draw attention away from the cornerstone page by emphasizing your chosen keywords in the posts the cornerstone plays “mother” to – the other pages are there to inform and entertain visitors and support the cornerstone page; the cornerstone is going to be your magnet for those keywords.
Creating a Cornerstone Page
Say you have a blog about gardening, including several posts about aphids in tomatoes. If your visitors find this topic sufficiently interesting, it deserves a cornerstone page to tie all the other posts together and serve as a hub as far as traffic is concerned. Therefore, you will write the best copy you can for the cornerstone, which in this case will be a summary of all the exciting aspects of controlling aphid outbreaks in a tomato patch.
Once this is done, the next step is to determine which of your blog posts on the topic are already seen as relevant by Google.
Each page that turns up can now direct some of its visibility to the cornerstone page by means of internal links. Simply edit each of those pages, inserting a link to your new cornerstone page using the keyword as anchor text. Of course, this implies placing the link within the content, not from some general-purpose sidebar or footer. You will be doing the same with any future content you add on the subject.
Cornerstone Content and Usability
Let’s say you haven’t done any of the above yet, but someone with a burning desire for knowledge on the interactions of aphids and tomato plants stumbles on a post entitled “Treating aphid infestations with chamomile infusions”. So far, so good, but herbal remedies might not be exactly what the person is looking for, so they simply hit the “Back” button and try a competing site.
If, however, he lands on the cornerstone page, he will immediately be greeted with a summary of the current body of knowledge regarding aphids and tomatoes, as well as a well-structured menu showing him where to click if he is indeed interested in biological control. In other words, somebody who’s completely unfamiliar with aphids sees something informative and helpful, while visitors who know what they’re looking for can tell where to find it, and most importantly, search engines now know where to direct searches regarding tomato pests.