How to use SEO for lead generation – The Cornerstone technique

How to use SEO for lead generation – The Cornerstone technique

How to use SEO for lead generation – The Cornerstone technique 1024 536 Zsolt Farkas

You have probably heard the saying that ‘content is king.’ It’s a saying for a reason: content marketing is effective and profitable, and if you do it right, you can generate massive organic traffic from search engines.

Let’s dive deep into SEO lead generation.

In B2B marketing, you have almost no choice but to create high-end content consistently. But it is time-consuming and you may not know the right strategy. Frankly, it can be too much of a hassle.

I’m going to show you a technique that’s so effective it looks like a miracle. It will help you create a massive SEO based lead generation funnel that will grow into a money making machine. 🤑

SEO lead generation in practice

Let me introduce the Cornerstone technique, which relies on the most profound long-form content in a given field based on SEO principles.

Let me explain in detail.

First of all, why do we need it? Because with a mediocre 300-word article you will get nothing, certainly not ranking for a competitive keyword in the search engines. That’s why you need well-optimized quality long-form content that has tremendous value.

FYI: The optimum article size is around 2350 words, according to MOZ research. If anybody knows, it’s them.

The Cornerstone is the best of the best. The king 👑 of content marketing. With 2000+ words, it’s more of a novel than an article, and the quality needs to be outstanding.

The Cornerstone technique in a nutshell:

SEO

• Make it keyword optimized
• Include LSI* keywords
• Build backlinks

Value

• Research in advance (e.g. Buzzsumo)
• Make it the best content in its topic
• Include concrete & practical examples

Engagement

• Use micro-engagement options
• Use social sharing buttons
• Make your post memorable

Backup

• Write other posts related to your cornerstone
• Link these posts to your cornerstone
• Anchor text** should be the cornerstone keyword

The ultimate question

For the cornerstone to hold weight, it needs to be insightful, and ideally unique. Should we really share the valuable knowledge that we gathered over years of hard work? What about competitors? Isn’t it a bad idea?

Not really. Let’s see some arguments:

  1. If you really know your space, you know that even if you share today’s ultimate knowledge, it will be obsolete tomorrow. And your competitors will always be 1 or 2 steps behind you. 🏃🏻
  2. The content can generate credibility without any sales effort from your side. So you are saving money in the long run.
  3. Without high-quality SEO optimized content, you will have no chance to rank properly in Google results. Consistent content is among the main ranking factors in Google.

The step-by-step guide

 

#Keyword research

Either use the keyword tool from Google Ads or Ubersuggest, you should look for relevant words or short phrases that have solid monthly search volume (at least a couple of hundred, if not thousands).

PRO tip: Use Buzzsumo to find the most-shared content in any topic accessible on the Internet. It shows you the TOP content with the best social numbers. Using your chosen keyword plus this info, you’ll have a clue what you should write about.

#Publish it as a page

And not as a blog post. This is because Google ranks posts and pages slightly differently and the structure in your sitemap (that Google bots are scraping) is important. Publish your cornerstone as a page and your additional posts in blog post format.

#Design

It’s not easy to make your content stand out against everyone else’s. A text-only article will have little chance to excel. Make sure your content is both compelling and well-designed. Squared content, background colors, buttons, quotation marks, flip boxes and other eye-catching elements can definitely make a difference.

#Backlinks

The most important factor in SEO lead generation. Backlinks from high-authority sites (sites that are trusted by Google) can make or break your position. In order to get this kind of link to your site, you have to be proactive and reach out to bloggers and journalists to bring their attention to your valuable content.

Note: It won’t be the easiest task, but with proper techniques and communication it can be achieved. Start with the Tier 3 players, then go for the bigger players. Believe us, that works better than the other way around.

#Internal links

Don’t forget to link your own page(s) inside your cornerstone. You need to find at least one related post to link to. Usually, 2-3 internal links are enough.

PRO tip: Yoast SEO plugin has an awesome feature that recommends posts that you can link from the cornerstone based on their text analysis. Pretty cool.

#Updates

Cornerstones can generate leads for years if they are updated regularly. An update every 1-2 months can definitely help your ranking. An answer to a comment, a downloadable PDF or rephrasing of a section can be equally good.

#LSI keywords

It’s very important to include the so-called ‘LSI’ (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords in your cornerstone. I don’t have to mention that it is one of the main ranking factors. We generally use Ubersuggest to check these keywords.

#Social shares

How much is your content worth if it doesn’t have social engagement? Not too much. You always have to put a social sharing bar under your content because you have to enable users to share your stuff and spread the word. Always customize your bar, because if you have Google+ and Tumblr as sharing options, you will seem weird in 2018. 😐

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Email is a great and relevant combination of channels. We use Easy Social Share Buttons and we love it.

#Distribute

After you finish your cornerstone content, don’t expect the miracle to happen without proper distribution. You’ll need to pay for the boost. Target a relevant audience and craft some Facebook and/or LinkedIn ads.

Your goal is to generate ongoing traffic. At first, with paid campaigns, but later with organic traffic, if you do it right. We usually spend a couple hundred dollars per cornerstone in the first weeks, and then from time to time promote it again.

But in order to rank high enough to get impressions and clicks from searchers, you have to follow these rules and get backlinks from trusted sites (not from link farms or directories 🤖).

Our experiences with cornerstones

We usually write 1 cornerstone every 2 months. We’ve been doing this since January 2017 and 2 of our cornerstones bring us the vast majority of our leads.  As you can see, the organic traffic started to rise at the beginning of this year because of our consistent content strategy. Now, SEO lead generation is working like a miracle. We get between 40-60 leads per month.

organic traffic riseYou should also know that it takes weeks, if not months, to write a cornerstone well. 2-3 weeks are the minimum, and sometimes we work on a cornerstone for 5-6 weeks with many iterations. And we know how to write effectively. My partner is an award-winning blogger 🏆 and I also have 3 years of concentrated experience in content marketing.

Should you start?

If you have a B2B company and there is a lack of valuable content in your industry, you should definitely start. It will bring you credibility, a competitive advantage, and massive organic traffic in the long run.

Even if your field is full of high-quality content, you can still think about your options. If you have enough money to start, do it. It will pay off.

If you want to read more about lead generation techniques, we have other posts for you. Otherwise, best of luck, and tell us what you think in the comment section below. 💬

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Zsolt Farkas

Zsolt is a growth marketer with an extensive knowledge in social media marketing, conversion rate optimization and marketing psychology.

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