Believe it or not, you can’t improve your search rankings (or even rank) for targeted keywords without quality content.
While content is king, content organization and inbound link structure are equally important as they show users and Google your site’s depth and breadth of information about a specific topic.
That’s where pillar page and cluster content comes in! Wondering what’s a pillar page exactly?
Also called the power page or pillar content, pillar pages are high-level, long-form content pieces that cover particular topics and link out to detailed articles about related subtopics.
Over 59% of marketers say long-form, in-depth content is the most powerful. Good pillar pages boost your marketing and content efforts and increase site traffic and user engagement.
This guide will walk you through pillar pages, how they influence your SEO, and ways to create a winning content pillar structure.
What Is Topic Cluster?
Also known as content clusters, topic clusters are interlinked web pages (content pieces) centered around a core topic (pillar content) in the hub-and-spoke model. Every topic cluster centers on the hub (pillar post) and is surrounded by in-depth content clusters (the spokes).
Typically, a pillar post covers a broad topic, while cluster content targets more specific and focused topics (keywords) associated with that subject.
How Pillar Pages Level Up Your SEO?
Pillar pages can help your brand build user trust and increase online presence on various search engines, including Google. They give searchers organized content about specific topics. This is crucial because Google processes over 99,000 searches per second.
Here are a few ways topic clusters and pillar pages can increase your SEO:
Improves Website Structure
To better understand the content, Google’s AI doesn’t just crawl and index each web page separately. It weighs several content pieces (web pages), including how they’re related.
Pillar posts can help unify similar topics and provide hierarchical maps. This way, you can improve your website structure and make it easy for search engines to identify your expertise and choose a URL that best answers user search queries.
A sleek website structure can help you earn better SEO rankings on SERPs (search engine results pages).
Easy To Rank On High-Volume Keywords
Pillar content is easy to rank on high-volume keywords as they provide comprehensive information on core subjects.
While searching for topics, users often want top-level information without digging deeper. That’s where pillar posts can help, as Google prefers content that matches user intent.
Internal And Backlinks
You may earn quality backlinks if your content pillar becomes a valuable resource for industry people and potential customers.
More than 68% of marketers and businesses believe backlinks positively impact search rankings. They show visitors and Google that other sites trust you, leading to higher SERP rankings.
Besides backlinks, internal links can also increase SEO efforts. Over 50% of marketers recommend adding 2-3 internal links in every post.
Pillar posts connect various content pieces through hyperlinks (internal links). They help Google track, index, and understand different web pages and improve site ranking.
Help Create And Structure Content Strategy
To create content clusters, you need to audit current content and determine topics that best meet your business requirements and goals.
You can easily identify subjects you haven’t touched by running a content audit. Not only it helps organize the existing content, but it also helps plan future pieces that may interest your prospects.
How To Design A Pillar Page Structure?
Follow the steps below to the T to learn how to design a perfect pillar page to improve search rankings and site structure:
Choose Topics You Plan To Rank For
Want to create a winning pillar page and content cluster? If so, you first need the core topic you wish to rank for. Consider broad topical issues (themes) instead of specific keywords.
Ideally, your topic should be vast enough to require several blogs but narrow enough to cover related topics in one pillar post. For instance, ‘business’ can be increasingly broad for pillar posts and even broader for websites.
When choosing a broad topic for your pillar content, ensure it has adequate search volume. Also, analyze the latest trends, such as whether the topic (keyword) is gaining popularity in your niche audience.
Conduct Comprehensive Keyword Research
Once you choose a topic, perform comprehensive keyword research. This way, you can uncover all sorts of user queries for topic clusters. Consider your target customer’s personas, problems, and questions they may ask at various stages.
Use conventional keyword research platforms like “Answer The Public (shows you prepositions, comparisons, and questions users submit while searching for specific topics)” or “Search Console” to find the relevant keywords related to your pillar post.
You can also use Google Suggest (Autocomplete) to find valuable user queries. It provides useful insights about user searches that you can leverage to find targeted keywords.
Group phrases and keywords into pillar posts and cluster content when you finish keyword research. Ideally, your pillar post targets a high-volume, broad keyword on a topic, whereas topic clusters target long-tail keywords.
Write Cluster Pages
Believe it or not, it’s best to write your cluster content before creating pillar posts – summing up the existing content is much easier and more convenient than writing from scratch.
However, if you write pillar content first, you may feel the urge to include excessive information, making cluster content (related content) redundant.
Write Pillar Posts
When drafting your pillar content, it’s best to keep sub-topics short (so you explain them later in cluster content) and ensure your content provides value to the reader.
It can be increasingly challenging and tricky. You must dig deep into subtopics, so your prospects and Google believe you adequately answered the query. However, you also have to lure them into wanting more so they visit your cluster content.
Optimize Content Pillar
Once you write the pillar post, optimize it for on-site SEO (on-page SEO) factors, like:
- Include the primary keyword (KW) throughout the piece, including the title and other headings
- Create a clickable, convincing meta description and title tag
- Utilize headers for subtopics
- Add structured data when possible
- Use target keywords within the first paragraphs
- Include long-tail keywords across the page
- Ensure your pillar content matches the search intent
- Write readable content with more paragraph breaks and headers
- Optimize images, including alt text
What Is A Pillar Page In Content Marketing?
In content marketing, the pillar page is a basis or hub on which content clusters are built, usually up to 2000 words.
Is A Pillar Page The Same As A Landing Page?
No, it isn’t. Both the pillar page and landing page are different and serve different purposes. While landing pages help generate high-quality leads for various marketing campaigns, pillar pages help build your brand authority on specific topics.
How Do You Write A Pillar Page?
Writing a content pillar can be increasingly challenging. Follow the steps to the T to write power pages that drive traffic and sales:
- Choose your topic
- Select subtopics for clusters
- Conduct keyword research
- Layout the page and start writing
- Include links and media
- Review, promote, and track
Why Is It Called A Pillar Page?
This is because a pillar post is an in-depth guide that explores a particular topic comprehensively, addresses questions associated with the umbrella topic, and acts as a link hub to cluster (related) content.
Is The Pillar Page And Topic Cluster The Same?
No, they’re not. While pillar posts provide high-quality detailed overviews of topics, topic clusters blend interlinked web pages and articles centered around core topics (pillar pages).
What Makes A Good Pillar Page?
Good pillar pages provide increasingly valuable content that addresses users’ questions on specific topics. They’re high-level content pieces (complete guides) featuring plenty of quality content for search engines, including Google, to index and crawl.
Listed below are some factors you must consider to make good pillar pages:
- Select broad, evergreen topics for pillar posts
- Make it skimmable
- Provide a user-friendly experience
- Concise but comprehensive
- Place internal links
What Should Be On A Pillar Page?
Make sure to include the following elements on a pillar page while you create it:
- Achor-linked TOC (Table of Content)
- Umbrella topic definition
- Headers, such as H1, H2, etc.
- Internal and external links
- Scroll to the top button
- Landing page element
- CTA button