Why Cornerstone Content Works

“The pillar page was a new concept to us, and we were a bit skeptical. It seemed like an awful lot of text. But we trusted Rivergate, and they patiently educated us on the value of the pillar page (as they do with many marketing strategies) so we went forward with it. We are very pleased with the amount of traffic we’ve been getting and our keyword ranking. Our controls team sees a steady stream of work and we’re now hiring to keep up with the demand.”
Diane Haig
Diane Haig
Chief Knowledge Officer, Applied Manufacturing Technologie

Summary

Rivergate Marketing’s system integrator client Applied Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) was experiencing underutilization of the controls engineering team.

The revamping of AMT’s existing industrial controls design webpage provided a natural experiment to quantify the results of developing cornerstone content versus using standard website copy and organization. In the 14 months since the new industrial controls cornerstone content went live, there has been a dramatic increase in pageviews, form submissions, and keyword rankings.

A “cornerstone,” “pillar,” or “flagship” content page on your website is a user-friendly, educational guide to a core component of your business. It contains relevant, helpful links both to your internal supporting material such as articles, case studies, and videos, and also external links to reputable outside authorities on the subject. Think of it as a clearinghouse for content related to a certain topic. A new way to organize material, cornerstone content pages are long-form and are highly rewarded by search engines for their usability for website visitors. For more on cornerstone content, read this article.

Problem

AMT’s industrial controls team was experiencing underutilization and an analysis showed that many potential clients thought of the company as a system and robot integrator, and were unaware of the company’s turnkey industrial controls services.

AMT’s existing industrial controls webpage was short, with a length of 523 words, and it was formatted mainly as bulleted lists of industries, processes, and keywords. The only link on the page was to a contact form; there was a single generic image and no additional supporting information.

Solution

To increase awareness, AMT’s industrial controls webpage was revamped as a cornerstone content page, and served the dual purpose as a sales tool for contacts and prospects.

Rivergate Marketing conducted several in-depth interviews with the AMT controls team, which formed the basis for the new content. The revised industrial controls page now boasts 2700 words and eight images which focus on providing educational (not sales) content. The 16 links are broken down as follows: 10 related articles, 3 videos or video playlists, 2 case studies, and 1 call to action (CTA). The many anchor text links provide easy navigation of the lengthy document.

Results

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Increase per month

Pageviews

Google Analytics showed marked improvement in the page’s performance. 

In the first 14 months after the new page was published, the year-over-year monthly website traffic increased by as much as 127% per month with an average of 32% increase per month during that time.

The average time on page increased an average of 17% and the bounce rate declined 3% monthly year-over-year.

(Source: Google Analytics)

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Increase in 14 months

Form Submissions

The rate of monthly controls-related contact us form submissions increased 122% in the 14 months after the page was published compared to the previous period.

As the typical controls-related form is requesting programming help, this sharp increase has undeniably contributed to the bottom line.

(Source: WordPress and HubSpot)

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Increase per month

Keywords

In one year after the cornerstone content was published, the average rank of controls-related keywords jumped 23%, from 22 to 17, with a doubling of the number of terms making the all-important page one of search engine results.

(Source: Moz)

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