Your website visitors have plenty of questions that you have the answers to. However, attracting your target audience to your website and keeping them engaged can be challenging.
Building pillar pages and topic clusters are the most effective content marketing strategies to grow your traffic and boost engagement.
They provide a deep-rooted foundation to help establish your inbound marketing strategy.
In this article, you’ll discover what are topic clusters and pillar pages, the steps to create a stunning pillar page, and their benefits.
What are Topic Clusters in SEO?
Topic clusters are groups of content assets that cover a broad topic. These content clusters offer contextual support for all pages within the subject area.
All of the primary information is presented within a pillar page. However, readers can explore the topic further through subtopics, strategically interlinked content pages, and relevant terms through the cluster pages.
Essentially, it allows readers on the website to access further in-depth information on a particular subtopic. Additionally, they help establish a foundation for a strong internal linking structure.
When creating topic clusters for SEO, creating an effective pillar page with comprehensive information on a given topic is important.
Apart from this, you must build cluster pages with relevant information.
Lastly, you’ll hyperlink cluster pages onto the pillar page by strategically placing anchor texts.
Note: Google recommends keeping anchor texts concise and relevant to the topic.
3 Components of a Topic Cluster
A topic cluster is composed of the following components:
Pillar Page Covering a Core Topic: The pillar page should cover a wide range of user intents. That will give readers enough value to make them click through to the appropriate next piece of content, no matter where they are in their buyer’s journey.
Clusters – Supporting Pages to Cover a Topic In-Depth: Clusters have a more specific focus on user intent. It’s not just about finding a long-tail keyword to rank for. Clusters go deeper on a given topic that supports the main topic discussed on the pillar page.
Internal Linking Pages: Cluster pages that link to pillar pages send a signal to search engines that the pillar page is the most crucial page in the group. A pillar page linking to cluster pages passes authority to them. Each link must have an anchor text, so search engines can understand what’s behind each link.
Now that you know about topic clusters, let’s learn about the pillar page.
What Is a Pillar Page?
A pillar page fully covers the broad topic, meaning all aspects of the topic are explained on a single page. This page links to topic cluster blog posts, which cover specific areas of the topic in more detail.
Pillar pages cover a broad topic, but cluster content addresses specific keyword-related topics in-depth. These pillar posts are longer than average blog posts since they cover all aspects of the topic.
However, they aren’t covering each aspect in-depth. Instead, cluster content is designed to add more detail and flesh out each part so readers receive a thorough understanding of a subtopic.
Let’s say you’re creating a pillar page about ‘Facebook Marketing.’ This post will offer a thorough overview of how to use Facebook to market a product, hyperlinking it to key pieces of cluster content.
Here are some examples of support pages as clusters or content headings you can add to your pillar page:
How to boost Facebook posts via ads?
How to run Facebook ads?
How to run retargeting campaigns?
Best practices for writing an ad copy
Best ways to leverage Facebook groups for marketing
The pillar page will act as a 101 guide for Facebook marketing, and the cluster content dives into each specific component of Facebook marketing.
How Does Pillar Page Help Boost SEO?
Pillar pages offer many benefits to help improve SEO, such as:
#1. Pillar Pages Enhance User Experience
Your content strategy also provides a better user experience to visitors. By adding strategic internal linking to your pillar post, you are giving them beneficial content, creating a better user flow.
This helps make your site more user-friendly and, in turn, helps generate higher conversion rates. When engagement metrics are high, search engines will see that your page is valuable and may boost search rankings.
#2. Pillar Pages Improve Site Structure
Pillar pages help to unify similar subjects and build a hierarchical map to improve the site structure of your website. Search engines can index your pages, determine your expertise, and choose the best URL for any search query.
#3. Pillar Pages Can Rank for High-Volume Keywords
Pillar pages are highly likely to rank for keywords with high search volume. That’s because they cover many topics, allowing you to rank for more search queries on a single page. Users looking to search more generally will likely want an overview of a given topic.
#4. Pillar Pages Generate More Backlinks
Pillar pages cover a given topic thoroughly, making them a prime candidate for other platforms and websites to share your content.
This can help generate backlinks since other websites share your pillar content and link to your web pages.
Backlinks can help improve your SEO since every backlink is seen as a vote of confidence that you give high-quality and relevant content to your target audience.
Steps to Create a Good Pillar Page
If you’re starting with a blank document, how do you build a stellar pillar page that drives traffic and increases shareability?
Let’s take a look at the steps that go into building a quality pillar page:
Step 1: Identify Your Primary Keyword
While you can guess the keyword for your pillar page, it’s much better to use real data from an SEO tool like Semrush or Ahrefs.
Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, for example, utilizes trusted data sources and machine learning algorithms to provide the latest information on search volume and other keyword metrics.
Look for a primary keyword with a high search volume. Since pillar pages will have a lot of content written, you can go after keywords with a high difficulty score.
With that said, you don’t want a primary keyword that is too broad. For example, an entire website could be centered around social media marketing or digital marketing.
You can find related pillar pages or posts that are already ranking for your primary keyword.
Then look at what topics are covered and try to look for information gaps that you can fill with your pillar page.
Step 3: Determine What External or Internal Content You Want to Link to
Review the content you’ve already published on your site. Start creating a list of all the relevant content you’ve already written on the topic. Choose the best-performing ones.
If you don’t have many content assets, create a list of subtopics you’ll want to add in the future. You can always produce those blog posts later and update your pillar page.
In addition, you can fill in content gaps by adding trustworthy external links.
Note: Always link to reputable sites highly relevant to the pillar page topic.
Step 4: Write Catchy Headlines and Build Your Table of Contents
Writing headlines that grab your audiences’ attention is crucial for decreasing the bounce rate and increasing the session rate.
According to Backlinko, long headlines blogs are shared more when compared to short ones on social media.
Create a minimum of six headline drafts per blog, and finalize the one you think is the most relevant and catchy.
Apart from this, having a table of content for every blog you write increases the navigability, and readers can jump to the sections they want to read about by just clicking on the headers instead of scrolling.
Step 5: Write Your Pillar Page
Now, you can start writing your page. Refer back to your internal assets and keyword research when writing.
Consider running your copy through an SEO platform like Clearscope or Surfer SEO to ensure you’ve included all the necessary secondary keywords to support your primary keyword.
But remember, don’t just stuff your content unnecessarily with keywords. Your content should be written for readers first and then for search engines.
Step 6: Consider the Design of Your Pillar Page
Consider how your pillar page looks. Avoid endless blocks of text that can discourage or overwhelm readers. Instead, add visual elements such as videos, images, or infographics to help break up the text and offer a visual explanation of the topic.
Step 7: Create a Compelling Call to Action
Always include a compelling call to action to get users to continue engaging with your content. Your CTAs should encourage readers to download an eBook or case study, sign up for your newsletter, or schedule a demo with your sales team.
Benefits of Having a Strong Pillar Page
#1. Create Better Content
Searching for topics to write about can be a struggle if your niche isn’t a popular one. Pillar pages take the guesswork out of what to write.
It creates a unified topic to create blog posts around, giving your content team a roadmap to follow.
Well-organized content makes it user-friendly for readers, which drives engagement. Since pillar pages are interlinked, these supporting pages help to keep visitors on your site longer.
#2. Boost EAT
Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT) are vital to rank your website on Google. Your EAT score can significantly affect how well your pages are performing in search rankings.
Pillar posts and topic clusters check all boxes for creating EAT-worthy content. Since you’ve delivered extensive information on a given topic, you’re demonstrating that you’re an expert in a given field.
When visitors spend more time on your pages, it signals that you’re a trustworthy source so that they can show your pillar post to more people.
#3. Lead Generation
Higher search rankings equate to more visitors. As you grow your traffic and boost engagement, you’ll receive more opportunities to capture them as leads.
Once you’re seen as an authoritative expert on a given topic, you’ll be at the forefront of your customer’s mind.
Combined with a lead nurturing strategy and consistent support pages, you’ll be able to convert more leads into paying customers.
Pillar pages can greatly improve your website’s search rankings due to their long-form content, keyword focus, and structural support.
When devising a strategy for your pillar page and topic clusters, you can effectively cover a topic comprehensively and help answer all of your potential buyer’s questions.
Tanish is a digital marketing geek and a super creative writer. He has been researching, analyzing, and writing about digital marketing for 4 years. Before stepping in to the world of Digital Marketing, he was an engineer. In his free time,… read more
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