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In the dynamic realm of content marketing, Pillar Pages have emerged as powerful tools to enhance website authority, improve SEO, and provide users with comprehensive information. This comprehensive guide is designed to walk you through the process of creating effective Pillar Pages, covering everything from conceptualization and research to content creation and optimization.

Table of Contents:

  • Unveiling Pillar Pages: Understanding the Core Concept
  • SEO Landscape: Why Pillar Pages Matter
  • Identifying Pillar Topics: Research and Selection
  • Structuring Your Pillar Page: The Blueprint for Success
  • Crafting Pillar Content: Best Practices and Strategies
  • Optimizing for Search Engines: Technical Aspects of Pillar Pages
  • Internal Linking Strategies: Building Connectivity
  • User-Centric Design: Aligning Content with Search Intent
  • Measuring Success: Analytics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Promoting Your Pillar Page: Maximizing Visibility
  • Challenges and Considerations: Navigating Pillar Page Implementation

Unveiling Pillar Pages: Understanding the Core Concept

A search for “damaged furniture” could turn up several results, as Moz notes. The user may wish to purchase discounted furniture, hunt for a reputable repair service, or attempt to fix their own broken furniture. In order to provide you with the appropriate results, Google is becoming increasingly adept at understanding your reasoning—even when the terms are the same for several requests.

These days, individuals are realising that things are changing rather than just concentrating on keywords, keywords, keywords. While still significant, keywords no longer have the same impact on rankings as they formerly did. In fact, HubSpot conducted a thorough investigation into this concept, dubbed “topic clusters,” and found that connecting similar thematic pages—rather than just using keywords—was the key to better search rankings.

Definition and Significance

Pillar pages are likely service or product pages— or pages that talk about a main topic around the problem these products or services help to solve. Think of a pillar page as a comprehensive, detailed breakdown of a particular topic. In that way, it might help to think of a pillar as a “topic page,” packed with content revolving all around that subject.

Pillar pages are unique in that they are traditionally long (usually over 5,000 words!), in-depth pages about a broad topic. That means, if you were to print out a 5,000 word pillar, it would encompass 20 double spaced pages! That bad boy could put a college paper to shame.

Most of your other web pages are probably significantly lighter than this— we’re guessing between 750-2,000 words, at most. And your blog post lengths are probably somewhere in that same ballpark.

Pillar pages contain a massive amount of depth, covering everything from soup to nuts around your chosen topic. 

The point of a content pillar is to establish yourself as an authority figure on a subject matter— that you’re an expert and a powerful resource for all things concerning that topic. Or, to create a single resource searchers read to answer multiple layers of their queries.

Please don’t think of pillars as a way to increase your rankings, so much as a way to help your audience, like none of your competitors do (for free anyways). Pillar pages are arguably one of the most important parts of your website, for as supporters of your niche or specializations, they are your ultimate sales tools.

That’s where the second part, topic clusters, come into play. Once created, all your efforts should go into strengthening your pillars— and you do this by building out supportive topic clusters.

Topic clusters are just like they sound: they’re clusters of content all themed around a main topic page (AKA your pillar page).

They could be groups of blog posts, content offers, infographics or any form of content that supports your broader topic:

  • If you sell marketing services, your topic cluster for your SEO pillar page could include content about ranking on Google, keyword research, link building, etc. Please feel free to click the links for real examples, straight from our website.
  • If you offer a free website crawl tool for users, your clusters could talk about site speed, image optimization, etc.

Essentially, you’d want to develop a marketing campaign around this topic. This way, you are constantly developing supportive content to expand on the subtopics of your pillar’s theme. 

The whole point of creating these subtopics is to embed links to the overarching pillar page inside of these posts.

This tells Google, “Hey! These posts are all supporting this one really important thing,” boosting your pillar page’s domain authority and your chance of ranking. Links from your subtopics to your main topic page show search engines that these pieces of content complement the pillar page and drive SEO juice to it. This establishes your mondo pillar as the original source, which the world’s largest search engine tends to favor. 

Searchers find your pillar and do some digging. Not only can people click these embedded topic cluster links and send more traffic to your important main page, but it also sends signals to search bots that these pages are related. 

Plus, if you really wow your audience, they’ll ultimately click through to your product or service page.

SEO Benefits and User-Centric Design

User-centered design is a philosophy that places the user at the core of the design process. It’s about creating websites and web applications that are intuitive, user-friendly, and enjoyable to navigate. To achieve this, designers focus on understanding the goals, behaviors, and preferences of the target audience. This approach ensures that the final product aligns with the users’ needs, ultimately leading to higher user satisfaction and engagement.

While user-centered web design primarily emphasizes creating a positive user experience, it also has a significant impact on SEO. Search engines like Google have evolved to favor websites that prioritize user satisfaction and engagement. Here’s how user-centered design principles can contribute to SEO success:

  • 1. Mobile Responsiveness

User-centered design demands that websites be mobile-responsive. With the majority of internet users accessing websites via smartphones and tablets, Google prioritizes mobile-friendly sites in its search results. Ensuring your site is responsive is not only user-friendly but also SEO-friendly.

  • 2. Page Load Speed

Slow-loading websites frustrate users and lead to high bounce rates. Google considers page load speed as a ranking factor. A user-centered approach involves optimizing images, using efficient code, and minimizing unnecessary scripts, all of which improve page load times and enhance SEO.

  • 3. Clear and Intuitive Navigation

User-centered design prioritizes clear and intuitive navigation menus. When users can easily find what they’re looking for, they stay on your site longer, reducing bounce rates. This positive user behavior is recognized by search engines and can boost your SEO rankings.

  • 4. High-Quality Content

Incorporating high-quality, relevant content that addresses users’ needs is a fundamental principle of user-centered design. Search engines reward websites that consistently provide valuable content by ranking them higher in search results.

  • 5. Accessibility

A user-centered approach also takes accessibility into account. Ensuring your website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, not only broadens your audience but also aligns with Google’s commitment to making the web more accessible.

  • 6. User Engagement Metrics

Search engines like Google consider user engagement metrics, such as click-through rates, time on page, and social signals, when ranking websites. User-centered design aims to create content and experiences that keep users engaged, which can have a positive impact on these metrics and your SEO.

  • 7. Reduced Bounce Rates

High bounce rates signal to search engines that users aren’t finding what they’re looking for on your website. User-centered design helps reduce bounce rates by providing relevant content and a seamless user experience, which can lead to improved SEO rankings.

Differentiating Pillar Pages from Cluster Content

A topic cluster is a content strategy approach of creating sub-topic pages (AKA cluster content or cluster pages) to establish authority around a central topic. This central topic most often takes the form of a hub page.

A hub page primarily serves as a navigational resource for a general topic that links to all cluster pages (or spokes) on related subtopics. Cluster pages delve deep into the specifics of a broader topic to provide more detail and specificity.

When done effectively, a topic cluster’s goal is to answer all of the questions and related questions a person has about a specific subject area within your industry. Each cluster page is built around a specific long-tail keyword that falls within a niche of the central topic. Every cluster page links back to the hub page, and the hub page links to every cluster page. That way, when one page performs well, the entire cluster improves on SERPs.

Topic clustering is a more effective way to structure the content on your website rather than creating individual, unrelated, and unlinked blogs or articles targeting an individual keyword. A topic cluster helps improve content performance on SERPs by making it easier for searchers and search engines to discover related content. This content strategy also helps distinguish your website as an authoritative source on the topic, which ultimately boosts organic visibility.

A pillar page (AKA cornerstone content, skyscraper content, or pillar content) is a comprehensive, standalone page that covers a topic in-depth all on one page. Unlike a hub, the primary goal of a pillar page is to keep the reader on the page by providing all the information they might be looking for related to the topic. The SEO goal of pillar pages is to secure high-quality backlinks from authoritative external sites, improve SERP rankings for the primary topic, and develop authority on the subject and within the industry.

Pillar pages tend to include a hyperlinked table of contents to improve UX by enabling users to navigate to the section they are looking for quickly. Like hubs, pillar pages also incorporate an internal linking structure, but they follow a natural linking strategy to both internal and external links that add value for the reader.

Although pillar pages and hubs tend to differ in their primary objectives, pillar pages can serve as a hybrid hub/pillar page. A hybrid approach combines super in-depth coverage of a topic with a directory-style linking approach to related cluster pages.

SEO Landscape: Why Pillar Pages Matter

A pillar page is an organized piece of content on a website that can help search engines see its worth and connection with other pages on the site. If the page is structured well, it can impact the website’s rankings because of the high searched terms or additional highlighted useful information. Our agency has experienced good results with the value of pillar pages for SEO.

A pillar page acts as an index of a particular subject that shows (and links to) related information that the reader might want or need. A pillar page cannot have all the information about a single topic, so it has to be spread on other pages.

For example, a blog post focuses on a topic with much information. For SEO, the blog post should include links that create a network for the search engines to crawl the content further. Even a homepage or product or service page can be tied to a pillar page.

Pillar pages are a valuable part of a content strategy. You can write about a topic and narrow down the post with relevant material. A pillar page surrounded by associated content can allow site visitors to dig deeper all in one place—your post.

A pillar page should include a broad range of keywords, be useful to readers and promote taking action. Here are some important things to remember while creating a pillar page:

  • Define the primary topic. Start with a simple and easy definition of your topic. For instance, if your pillar page topic is journalism, you might choose to write on the main usefulness of journalism. Getting straight to the point can give your definition the coveted spot of a Google featured snippet.
  • Focus on the main keyword & content. Your pillar page content must focus on keywords. The main terms must be used in the content body, title, subheader, meta description and URL for the search engines to understand a page. The quality of content must be very good and include authentic points. If you cannot write yourself, seek professional help. I’d recommend beginning with keyword research using a keyword searching tool. One popular free tool is Google’s Keyword Planner.
  • Use credible internal and external links. Linking to a popular, high-performing inner page of your website leads readers to more information. The same goes for external links (third-party websites), which must be trustworthy sources for adding credibility to your page. Use statistical references like the Census Bureau if your page is regarding the economy or people. Everyone likes real data.
  • Keep content relevant and to the point. Your pillar page should not have unnecessary information. It will wear out readers and they may not click on the linked pages or engage further. Give a logical overview of the topic using proper titles and short subheaders for readers to quickly reach a part they are interested in or might want to come back to.

With lots of content, a pillar page creates a hierarchical map. A site structure is formed. The linked URLs on the page make it easy for the search engine to select and show the best page for a given search query.

Promoting Pillar Pages

Results don’t come by themselves after you have readied your pillar page. You have to promote your page for traffic and conversions. Some methods are: 

  • Third-party guest posting on relevant and credible websites with a link back to your pillar page.
  • Creating shareable infographics with a link back to your pillar page.
  • Promoting your pillar page with internet influencers. They can bring direct traffic and business. YouTube and Instagram are some examples to find quality influencers with a large fan following. Also, you can create your own channel on such sites to discuss your pillar page.
  • Generating backlinks.
  • Posting regularly on social media about your pillar page.

A pillar page can drive massive traffic. Adding regular content or subtopics to your pillar page can show that your company has the expertise to discuss the things you’re skilled at. Keep looking out for news and updates that are related to your pillar page’s topic and connect that link or write on it and share it on your social media.

A pillar page is a never-ending process where you have to show a great deal of the latest information with targeted keywords. It may take some time, but it is never a regrettable investment. Once the traffic starts to pour onto your pillar page, its authority should increase along with the other linked pages.

Building Website Authority through Pillar Content

Content pillars are the core topics or themes your audience is interested in, making them a helpful organizational tool for your content marketing efforts. You can have any number of content pillars depending on your business strategy.

Use content pillars to inform your content creation process and return to the topics when creating blog posts, case studies, ebooks, social media posts, and other assets.

Content Pillars for SEO

Content pillars are critical for SEO. They help improve your online visibility by:

  • Establishing your company’s expertise in a topic, which is a search engine ranking factor.
  • Providing structure to your website, enabling search engines to better understand how content is related and how to index it.
  • Offering opportunities for internal linking, which is useful for sharing link equity.

Content Pillars for Social Media Marketing

You can also apply the concept of content pillars to your social media strategy. Use your core themes to cover key topics and stay on brand, whether you’re creating posts, stories, ads, or live streams. 

These social media content pillars will help your team build a cohesive social media identity so your audience knows they can trust you to deliver themed content that fits their interests. Plus, when you know what topics to cover, it’s easier to plan and schedule posts for different social media channels.

At the heart of every content pillar is a single pillar page. Also called a core page, the pillar page is a starting point for exploring a topic, hitting key points with a broad but comprehensive overview. They often function as an introduction to a topic. If the content is authoritative enough, the page can also be an opportunity to build backlinks to your site.

Your pillar page should link to relevant content that take readers deeper into the subject, creating a cluster of themed articles. This is key to building topical authority. Every new piece of high-quality content in the pillar further reflects your expertise and positions your business as a source of credible information on the subject. The more pages of trustworthy content you have for your pillar’s target keyword and related keywords, the more of an authority your site becomes for that topic.

What are content pillars like in action? Sometimes it helps to visualize a concept, so I’ll use the example of a fictional company that sells financial products. 

Let’s say the company’s marketing team is creating a blog to educate customers on personal finance. It chooses three content pillars its audience is interested in: 

1. Mortgages,

2. Loans, and 

3. Investments. 

The pillar page for mortgages provides a high-level, conceptual overview of what mortgages are and how they work, serving as a gateway into the topic. The pillar page then links to articles on subtopics that provide more detailed information, such as types of interest rates, mortgage refinancing, and first-home buying tips. Now the company has a cluster of articles and a growing content pillar.

As the company adds more content to its mortgage pillar, it can focus on increasingly precise long-tail keywords, such as “How much of a down payment do I need?” Each additional article enhances the company’s topical authority and creates valuable keyword ranking opportunities.

Identifying Pillar Topics: Research and Selection

The pillar page method is critical to building trust with searchers and increasing your visibility online. Here’s how it improves your SEO:

  • 1. Improve site structure

Topic clusters improve your site structure, a technical SEO optimization that makes it more easily crawlable by Googlebot and other search engines. The easier your site is to crawl, the easier Google can find, index, and rank your pages.

How do you make your site easier to crawl? In an ideal site structure, any page on your site should be accessible in three clicks or less from the homepage, and the information architecture is such that the most important pages are the closest to the homepage.

Pillar pages support this model because they are meant to be a destination in their own right, and as such are often accessible from a site’s homepage or one tier down.

  • 2. Improve user experience

A topic cluster also helps make your website more navigable for actual human users who are looking for information about a specific topic or topic area. When you have a bunch of related pages easily found under one umbrella term, it makes sense for them to be grouped together. That way, when someone searches for something like “how to do X” they can find all the information they need in one place.

The improved experience keeps people on your site longer, giving Google’s algorithm more data to indicate that you deserve to rank higher.

  • 3. Rank for competitive keywords

Since pillar pages are the hub pages for a main topic, they are meant to target broad keywords—and broad keywords are super competitive on the SERP. To rank for a broad keyword, you need a long-form piece of content that comprehensively covers that keyword, linking out to other pages that comprehensively cover its child keywords—aka a pillar page.

And when pillar pages rank, they accumulate traffic, backlinks, and SEO power. As a bonus, they then pass “link juice” on to the cluster pages they’re linking out to, improving the rank of those pages as well.

  • 4. Build your reputation

It’s important to understand that a search engine’s entire goal is to provide the best answer to whatever the searcher types in. To give bad results would be a bad experience for the user, diminishing faith in the search engine — the last thing Google wants.

It could also be detrimental societally. Imagine if a random person (not a doctor) were to understand SEO well enough to write an article about “how to know if you’re having a heart attack,” that ranks number one, and then millions of people read that article and believed the advice provided inside?

It would be terrible.

It’s not in anybody’s best interest for Google to rank non-experts for anything, and they’ve put a ton of effort into its algorithm’s ability to surface the best information possible, no matter who types in what.

Google has three key foundational concepts behind its many ranking factors: expertise, authority, and trust. These concepts refer to how closely your content matches what people are searching for while demonstrating authority based on how reputable and trustworthy your site is.

When you complete a topic cluster around a pillar page, you demonstrate that you know the subject inside and out. After all, when have you known an expert to only discuss a subject just once?

And when Google trusts your expertise enough to rank you on the first page, its users will too.

How to create a pillar page to improve your SEO

Once you know how to create topic clusters, you can use them as a foundation when writing new content or making changes to your website’s existing content.

Here’s how to do it:

  • 1. Decide on the topic you want to rank for

The first step in creating an effective pillar page is to have a clear idea of the core topic you want to rank for. The best way to choose which topic to focus on is by considering your target audience and aiming to thoroughly cover a specific subject they need help with (that also pertains to your business).

You’ll have several topics that you want to rank for, and one site can succeed in having multiple topic clusters. But it’s important to focus on one at a time, otherwise, this can lead to confusion with your audience and dilute your efforts.

  • 2. Plug it into a keyword research tool

Once you have an idea of the topic for your pillar page, you’ll want to plug it into a keyword research tool. These allow you to see which keywords have the most searches in a given time frame (usually monthly), and how much competition there is for each search term.

  • 3. Identify your pillar vs cluster keywords

In general, your hub/pillar page will target a broad, high-volume keyword on the topic. Then, the long-tail keywords that fall under that keyword will dictate what the main headings/sections of your pillar page should be, which will then dictate the keywords to target with your cluster pages.

  • 4. Create your content

Since your pillar page and cluster pages are targeting keywords, you’ll want to take care of your on-page SEO for each one. Be sure to include the target keywords in your title, headings, throughout the body of the article, in the meta descriptions, image alt-tags, and so on.

This will help search engine crawlers to find it and register that when someone in the world searches for that term, your article deserves to be ranked as a response.

  • …high-quality content

But remember: although you must be accommodating of the robot crawlers that need to scan your site, your goal is to ultimately create content that’s useful to your readers.

Keyword-heavy content that looks good on paper but doesn’t actually help anyone solve their problems might rank temporarily, but once Google starts to realize that people are clicking away once they get there, you’ll be dropped like it never happened.

A general rule of thumb: make your pillar page longer and more in-depth than any other article on that subject out there to show Google that you deserve to be ranked number one for it. It’s common for pillar pages to be well over 5,000 words.

  • 5. Take care of internal linking & cluster pages

Once you’ve written your pillar page, you’ll need to internally link to the cluster articles that further explain the concepts within it.

If you’re building out a brand new topic cluster, these pages may not be created yet. If you have a larger site with a lot of existing content, you can perform a site search to see if your site already has content covering that subject.

Simply go to your browser’s address bar and type in the following (without the quotation marks): “site:mysite.com topic”


If you’ve written about the topic, it’ll turn up on the following results page—ranked by what the search engine thinks is the most relevant to that term. You can also put the term in quotations to search for exact instances of that phrase. Link to the best article that explains the concept you were looking to support your pillar page with. Make sure that the article links to your pillar page and that the articles within the cluster link to each other.

Just keep in mind that you don’t want your pillar page to link out to articles that cover any and everything mentioned in the pillar page, but ideally to SEO-optimized articles that target child keywords within the pillar page’s parent keyword. This will keep your topic cluster clean and clear to search engines

  • 5. Promote your pillar pages

If you’re going to invest in paid ads and/or social media exposure for any pages on your site, it should be to your pillar pages. The point of a pillar page is that it’s supposed to be a destination in its own right. So when you promote it, make it clear just how excellent a resource this is for your target audience.

They’re going to want to read it and you’d be doing them a disservice by not getting it in front of them.

Structuring Your Pillar Page: The Blueprint for Success

These are the top benefits of pillar posts:

  • Creates valuable backlinks: If you are writing relevant and informative pillar post content, the chances of getting backlinks from higher authoritative websites increase. Content creators and bloggers go for topics that offer complete and effective information for the readers.
  • Attracts a lot of organic traffic: Pillar posts drive a heavy traffic flow as they rank higher for short-tail keywords with a high search volume.
  • Promotes and makes other content more accessible: Pillar posts link to relevant cluster pages. This type of internal linking sends the traffic of pillar pages to other relevant cluster pages and makes them more accessible to search engines and users.
  • Provides easy-to-understand site structure: Your pillar posts act as landing pages, drawing in the bulk of traffic and guiding readers to the more in-depth, specific topic cluster posts. It creates a smooth user experience as readers can jump directly to the content that interests them the most.
  • Helps you brainstorm topic ideas for content: You will surely reach a saturation point where you will need more ideas for your content. Pillar posts act as a cornerstone that will help you create additional concepts to tackle, thereby expanding the content for readers.

Steps to attract organic traffic with pillar pages.

It can be overwhelming to implement a pillar page strategy when you don’t know where to start. Below we’ve outlined four steps you can take to build an effective pillar page to attract organic traffic to your website.

  • Step 1: Choose a Topic

The first step in the process is to focus on topics. Look at your target personas and find out what they are searching for—this will determine how broad to make your pillar page. You want the topic to be fundamental enough that you can actually write all the content for the pillar page while also introducing subtopics that can be covered in shorter-form blog posts. A great way to brainstorm topics is to start with your target personas’ main pain points.

  • Step 2: Conduct Keyword Research

Once you’ve nailed down your topic, it’s time to jump into keyword research. It’s important to choose keywords with a lot of search volume that cover different aspects of the topic and use those to build your working titles. 

  • Step 3: Draft Your Pillar Page

This step should be the easiest of them all—just pretend like you’re writing an old-fashioned blog post… just a little bit longer. Some content elements HubSpot recommends you consider including within your pillar page are:

  • A definition of the topic or term you’re covering somewhere in the first section.
  • A bulleted or numbered table of contents.
  • A more specific topic-related keyword in each of your subheadings.
  • Content that provides an overview of the subtopics discussed on the pillar page.
  • Step 4: Produce Additional Content

The final step is to begin writing blog posts based on specific keywords within your topic cluster. Make sure to link them to your pillar page to create a streamlined reader experience and help all of your content rank higher in search engine results pages. You can learn more about HubSpot’s Content Strategy tool for researching, organizing, and executing on topics.

Developing a Hub-and-Spoke Model

The hub and spoke model is a design pattern that is commonly used in transportation and logistics systems. In this model, a central hub (or “hub”) serves as a central point of connection for a number of outlying “spokes”.

In transportation systems, the hub is typically a major airport or train station, while the spokes are smaller regional airports or train stations. In this context, the hub serves as a central point of connection for passengers and cargo, with flights or trains departing from the hub to various destinations, and also with flights or trains arriving at the hub from various origins.

In logistics systems, the hub is typically a warehouse or distribution center, while the spokes are retail stores or other locations where goods are received, stored, or distributed. In this context, the hub serves as a central point for receiving, storing, and distributing goods to various locations, and also for collecting and consolidating goods from various locations for shipment to other destinations.

In general, the hub and spoke model is designed to allow for more efficient and cost-effective use of resources, such as aircraft, trains, and trucks, by consolidating traffic through a central point and then distributing it to various locations. It also allows for more efficient use of facilities, such as airports, train stations, and warehouses, by allowing them to serve a larger area.

Incorporating User-Friendly Navigation

Pillar pages act as comprehensive resources covering a broad topic and linking to more specific subtopics, creating a hierarchical structure that search engines can crawl and index effectively.

1. Comprehensive Content Coverage: Pillar pages are designed to cover a broad topic comprehensively, addressing all key aspects of the subject matter. By creating an in-depth resource, you provide value to users seeking information on that topic, which can lead to longer time spent on your page, reduced bounce rates, and increased user engagement, all of which can positively impact your SEO ranking.

2. Internal Linking Structure: Pillar pages serve as the hub or main anchor for related subtopic content on your website. You can create internal links from the pillar page to the supporting subtopic pages and vice versa. This interlinking structure helps search engines understand the relationship between different pages and topics on your site, improving crawlability, and ensuring that all relevant pages are indexed and ranked appropriately.

3. Authority and Backlinks: By creating high-quality, comprehensive pillar pages, you establish your website as an authority on the topic. When your pillar page becomes a go-to resource for information, it increases the chances of other websites linking back to your page as a reference. Backlinks from reputable websites are a crucial ranking factor in SEO, as they indicate to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy.

4. Targeted Keyword Optimization: Pillar pages can be optimized for relevant keywords associated with the broad topic they cover. By conducting keyword research and incorporating those keywords strategically into your pillar page, you increase the chances of ranking for those keywords and attracting organic search traffic. Additionally, the supporting subtopic pages can focus on long-tail keywords related to specific aspects of the broader topic, further improving your keyword targeting and ranking opportunities.

5. User-Friendly Navigation: A well-structured pillar page creates a user-friendly navigation experience. By organizing your content into clear sections and providing internal links to related subtopics, users can easily navigate through the content and find what they are looking for. A positive user experience leads to longer on-page dwell time, lower bounce rates, and increased social sharing, all of which can indirectly contribute to improved SEO ranking.

Crafting Pillar Content: Best Practices and Strategies

Content pillars are essential for several reasons. First, they provide a structured approach to content creation, allowing for a more organized and strategic deployment of resources. This structure also aids in maintaining a consistent brand voice and message across all channels.

Furthermore, content pillars help in addressing the specific interests and pain points of the target audience, fostering engagement and building trust. From an SEO perspective, content pillars enhance a website’s topical authority, which can lead to improved search engine rankings and increased organic traffic.

To identify and develop your content pillars, start by analyzing your audience’s needs, preferences, and challenges. Conduct market research, utilize social listening tools, and examine your competitors to gather insights. Once you have a clear understanding of your audience, brainstorm broad topics that are relevant to your industry and align with your brand’s expertise.

Validate these topics through keyword research to ensure they have sufficient search volume and potential for engagement. Finally, refine your pillars by considering the unique value your brand can offer, and ensure they are broad enough to support a wide range of content yet specific enough to be distinctive.

Best Practices

When crafting content pillars, focus on relevance, authority, and consistency. Ensure that each pillar is directly related to your target audience’s interests and your brand’s expertise. Build authority by creating in-depth and well-researched content that positions your brand as a thought leader. Maintain consistency by regularly producing content under each pillar, which helps in establishing a predictable and reliable presence that your audience can trust.


Integrating content pillars into your overall content strategy involves planning and execution. Develop a content calendar that outlines the frequency and types of content to be created for each pillar. Use a mix of content formats to cater to different audience preferences and maximize reach. Cross-promote content across various channels to leverage the strengths of each platform and ensure a cohesive user experience. Monitor performance metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your pillars and make data-driven adjustments as needed.

Measuring the success of your content pillars involves tracking a variety of metrics such as website traffic, engagement rates, conversion rates, and social shares. Use analytics tools to monitor these metrics and assess how well your content is performing against your objectives. Look for patterns in the data to identify which pillars and types of content resonate most with your audience. Adjust your strategy accordingly to optimize performance and ROI.

Crafting compelling content pillars is a strategic process that requires a deep understanding of your audience, a clear articulation of your brand’s expertise, and a commitment to producing high-quality, relevant content. By following best practices and strategies, you can establish a strong foundation for your content marketing efforts, drive engagement, and achieve your business objectives.

Optimizing for Search Engines: Technical Aspects of Pillar Pages

Before making a purchase, potential customers need to engage with a brand several times. It is essential to have a strong internal linking strategy in place if you want to boost the likelihood that your content will reach them more frequently. Pillar pages are helpful under such circumstances.

It can be challenging for visitors to find what they’re looking for on a website with a lot of content. The structure of your website is arranged on pillar pages so that users may quickly and easily discover the information they require.

The most important factor affecting your search engine results are content pillars. Properly maintained, pillar pages can draw a lot of traffic and expose your company to a large pool of highly qualified leads.

Here are the steps to create an effective pillar page:

1. Select a Topic That Is Relevant to Your Niche or Industry

Choose a topic that is directly related to your niche or industry. It should align with your business’s core offerings, products, or services. Selecting a topic that resonates with your target audience is essential.

Consider your target audience’s interests and needs. Your pillar topic should address their questions, pain points, or areas of curiosity. Understanding your audience’s preferences and behaviors will help you create content that resonates with them. The topic should be broad enough to cover various aspects or subtopics comprehensively.

Let’s have a look at an example. Imagine you are in the process of developing a pillar page centered around digital marketing tailored for small businesses. Your goal is to offer valuable insights and address the inquiries and pain points of your target audience of small business owners, startup proprietors, and entrepreneurs.

This involves providing comprehensive responses to their key questions, like how to choose the right marketing channels for their business, how to create compelling content on a small budget, how to optimize their website for conversions and user experience, what effective social media strategies they need to implement for success, how to build and nurture their audience through email marketing, and so on.

Consider how the chosen topic supports your business objectives. It should align with your marketing goals, such as increasing brand awareness, attracting leads, or driving conversions.

2. Conduct Keyword Research

Conduct keyword research to identify the primary keyword and related secondary keywords relevant to your chosen pillar pages. These keywords should have search volume and align with the intent of users searching for information related to your topic.

During keyword research, it’s important to assess the search volume and competition for your selected keywords. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz can provide data on search volume, keyword difficulty, and competition levels. Choose keywords that strike a balance between search volume and competition, considering both the potential traffic they can bring and your ability to rank for them.

In addition to primary and secondary keywords, incorporate semantic keywords, which are synonyms, related terms, and variations of your target keywords. This enhances the content’s comprehensiveness and relevance.

3. Create High-Quality Content

Write high-quality, in-depth content for each section of your pillar page. Provide valuable information and insights on the topic. Integrate the primary and secondary keywords into the content in a way that feels natural.

Use clear headings, subheadings, bullet points, and concise paragraphs to improve the readability of your content. Readers should be able to navigate and comprehend the material easily.

Maintain a consistent writing style and tone throughout the pillar page to create a coherent reading experience. The tone should align with your brand and appeal to your target audience.

4. Include Internal Links

Internal links within the pillar page should be contextually relevant to the content. They should guide readers to cluster content that provides additional information or details about the subtopics mentioned on the pillar page.

The anchor text, which is the clickable text of the link, should be descriptive and indicative of the content it leads to. Avoid generic terms like “click here” or “read more.” Instead, use anchor text that clearly conveys the topic of the linked content. Try to make the anchor text at least a couple words long or a short phrase, rather than a single word.

Internal links create a network of related information within your website, making it easier for readers to navigate and explore related topics. This enhances the user experience by allowing users to find more in-depth information on areas of interest.

When you consistently link to cluster content from your pillar page, you signal to search engines that your website is a comprehensive resource on the chosen topic. This can lead to an increase in your website’s authority and visibility in search results.

5. Enhance Your Page With Visual Elements

Visual elements make your content more engaging and appealing to readers. Images and graphics break up the text, making it visually less daunting and more inviting to readers. Charts and graphs can help illustrate data, statistics, and trends related to your pillar topic. They make complex information more accessible and understandable to your audience.

Visual elements can be used to tell a story that complements the written content. This can be particularly effective in conveying emotions, experiences, or step-by-step guides.

Videos or images can be used to demonstrate concepts or provide real-life examples related to your topic. This enhances the clarity of your content and helps readers grasp the information more effectively.

6. Summarize the Key Takeaways from Your Pillar Page

The conclusion section of your pillar page should summarize the main points, key takeaways, and insights covered in the content. It acts as a quick reference for readers who want to review the most important information without rereading the entire page.

Reiterate the central message or main idea of your pillar page. Make it clear to the reader what they should have learned or understood from reading the content.

Calls to action (CTAs) are designed to enhance user engagement and lead readers toward the desired next step in their journey, whether it’s acquiring more knowledge, taking action, or becoming a lead or customer.

Read Also: Content Symphony: Examining 10 Successful Topic Cluster Examples in Content Marketing

Place CTAs strategically throughout your pillar page, including the conclusion section. However, be careful to not overwhelm the reader with too many CTAs. Focus on providing relevant and non-intrusive suggestions. Ensure that your CTAs are designed with a focus on driving action. Instill a sense of urgency to inspire readers to take immediate action.

Optimizing the Content and Structure of Pillar Pages

Here are some tips for optimizing your pillar page:

  • 1. Optimize for Mobile

Ensure that your pillar page is built using responsive design techniques. A responsive design adapts the layout and content of your page to fit various screen sizes and resolutions, including those of mobile devices. This guarantees that your content is legible and well-structured on smaller screens.

Consider the constraints of mobile screens when structuring your content. Use a single-column layout and prioritize important content at the top of the page. Minimize the need for horizontal scrolling and ensure that text and images are appropriately sized for mobile viewing.

Implement a mobile-friendly navigation structure. Use clear and intuitive menus, buttons, and links that are easy to tap on touchscreens. Mobile users should be able to navigate your pillar page seamlessly.

  • 2. Optimize Your Pillar Page for Fast Loading Speed

Page speed is regarded as a ranking factor by Google and various other search engines. Pages that load more quickly tend to have a better chance of achieving higher rankings in search results, ultimately boosting the visibility and organic traffic of your pillar page.

Reduce the number of elements on your page, such as unnecessary images, scripts, and plugins. Each additional element can increase loading time. Compress and optimize images to reduce file sizes without compromising quality. Use appropriate image formats and dimensions to ensure efficient loading.

Browser caching stores certain elements of your page on a visitor’s device, allowing subsequent visits to load faster as cached elements don’t need to be downloaded again. Use a content delivery network to serve your content from servers geographically closer to your users. CDNs can significantly reduce page load times.

Regularly test your pillar page’s loading speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights. Monitor loading times and make improvements as needed.

  • 3. Implement Schema Markup When Applicable

Source: IESGP

Schema Markup can improve the visibility of your pillar page in search results. It can lead to enhanced search features, such as knowledge panels, event listings, product ratings, and more, depending on the type of structured data used.

By providing structured data about your content, you can convey additional context about your pillar page’s topic, which can be beneficial for users seeking specific information.

Schema Markup is valuable for local SEO efforts. It can provide essential information about your business, such as location data, reviews, and ratings, which can improve local search visibility.

Different types of content, such as articles, reviews, recipes, and videos, have specific schema markup guidelines. Using the appropriate schema markup for your content type ensures that search engines understand and categorize your content correctly.

  • 4. Track the Performance of Your Pillar Page

Monitor the traffic to your pillar page, including the number of visitors, page views, and unique visitors. Analyze traffic sources to understand where your audience is coming from. Be sure to watch the bounce rate, as this can signal issues with content quality, relevance, or user experience.

You should also monitor the search engine click-through rate (CTR) of your page. If the click-through rate (CTR) is high, it means that the title and description of your page hold a strong appeal for searchers. If it’s low, you might consider adjusting your title and meta description to make it more appealing.

Conduct A/B tests to experiment with different elements of your pillar page, such as headings, visuals, or call-to-action buttons. Compare the performance of different versions to identify what resonates best with your audience.

By consistently monitoring these performance metrics, you can gain insights into how well your pillar page is meeting its objectives, where it may be falling short, and how to make improvements.

Internal Linking Strategies: Building Connectivity

Internal links are hyperlinks that point to different pages on the same website. These differ from external links, which link to pages on other websites.

Here’s what an internal link looks like on a live page:

internal link example

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to build your strategy. Here are five steps to get started.

  • 1: Identify Your Site’s Pillar Pages

Start by making a list of pillar pages—i.e., central pages about a broad topic that link to related, more specific pages. Your pillar pages will help you build out topic clusters which are groups of content about specific topics. Coming up with pillar pages and topic clusters will help you build out the architecture of your site.

Pillar pages should target broad keywords with high search volumes rather than more specific long-tail keywords. Think of your pillar page as the top of your marketing funnel—customers are curious and only looking for general details.

Here are a few examples of pillar pages:

The Home Depot has a whole page that links to different types of washing machines. Because the keyword “washing machines” gets 22,200 searches per month.

Just be careful not to fall into the trap of identifying too many pillar pages, or they will end up being too niche. You can get more specific when you start coming up with topic clusters.

  • 2: Create Topic Clusters Using Internal Links

Now that you’ve identified your topic pillars, it’s time to develop more specific topic clusters for each of them. Think of your pillar as the main topic and clusters as supporting, more specific topics.

So if your pillar page was about “copywriting,” your clusters might include “What Is Copywriting?” and “Copywriting Tools.”

You can even create more clusters for your clusters. For example, support your “email copywriting” cluster with pages about subject lines and call-to-actions (CTAs). These pages need to internally link back to the pillar page to showcase topical relevance and indicate that the main pillar page is the most authoritative source.

To start, map out your topic clusters and build ideas for relevant supporting pages.

A simple way to do this is to fill out a spreadsheet for each topic cluster:

topic cluster strategy template

If you aren’t sure how to come up with topic clusters or supporting pages, use a keyword generator like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool.

Plug in a general keyword like “copywriting:”

Keyword Magic Tool

You can search through the results or use the left-hand column to find groups of related keywords.

In this example, see different topics related to copywriting like “course” and “email.”

keyword research for "copywriting"

Click on “course” or “email” in the left-hand column to find more specific related keywords.

copywriting courses research

Use supporting pages to target those hyper-specific keywords. Just like topic clusters should interlink with pillar pages, supporting content should do the same. 

  • 3: Choose the Right Anchor Text

You have full control over the anchor text on your own site. Get strategic about what words and phrases you use so that they clearly indicate their target page topics. Quality anchor text helps both users and search engines determine what a page is about before they click on it.

Anchor text is the clickable text that appears in a hyperlink, like this:

anchor text example

Coming up with relevant anchor text also allows Google’s algorithm to better understand your site’s structure—which provides it with more context about how pages are related to each other.

SEO-friendly anchor text is:

  • Brief: Keep anchor text brief so that it’s clear to users and search engines what the page’s topic is about. We recommend keeping anchor text to five words or less.
  • Relevant: Avoid vague, clickbait anchor text like “click here” or “this weird life hack will help you lose 10 pounds a week.” Neither option tells Google what the linked page is actually about.
  • Optimized: It’s not likely that you’ll be penalized for using exact-match anchor text for internal links as long as the anchor text is relevant to the linked page. And you aren’t trying to over-optimize by keyword stuffing. 

Be careful when it comes to external links, though—manipulating external anchor text is a violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines. Keeping all those best practices in mind, assign anchor text suggestions to your pillar and cluster content based on keyword research.

For example, you can use the Keyword Magic Tool to look for keywords related to “email copywriting” for your topic cluster.

  • 4: Identify Your Site’s Authority Pages

Your most authoritative pages have high-quality backlinks (i.e., links from external pages) pointing to them. Google sees backlinks as a vote of confidence. So if a page has a lot of votes—i.e., backlinks—some of that authority can be passed on.

The goal is to strategically pass this authority (or link equity) to other pages via internal links. To do that, find your site’s most authoritative pages with Semrush’s Backlink Analytics tool.

Type in your domain and click “Analyze.”

Backlink Analytics

Next, click the “Indexed Pages” tab.

Indexed pages report

This report will show a list of indexed URLs, which can be sorted by number of referring domains—i.e., external sites:

Indexed pages domains

Sorting by referring domains gives you a better indication of authority because the authority of a domain is more important than number of backlinks. (A page with 300 backlinks from 100 authoritative domains is more powerful than a page with 300 backlinks from one not-so-great site.)

Now you can analyze the results to see which pages are your most powerful ones (the ones with the most referring domains).

Export your results as .csv or .xls files.


Then, paste at least ten of your most relevant URLs into your strategy doc to keep handy for later.

List of authority pages

If the content is relevant and useful, use these pages to link to newer, less authoritative content to help improve rankings. 

  • 5: Support Your New Pages

A strong internal linking structure is especially important if you haven’t earned many authoritative backlinks yet. To start, choose a new piece of content or a page that you’d like to perform better. Then, identify opportunities for relevant interlinking.

After you’ve chosen your piece of content, perform a Google site search to find related pages on your site that mention this page’s target keyword.

For example, we might search for “site:semrush.com internal links” to find articles related to this guide and add reciprocal links.

searching Google for Semrush pages about internal links

To make the process smoother, go through the search results and look for all the pages related to your authority pages.

Google results for Semrush pages about internal links

Then, paste those links into your strategy document.

Identified related pages

After you compile your list, add reciprocal links to each of the identified pages. Check the links off as you go.

Internal link checklist

This way, if either page gains authority, some of that authority may pass to the other page via internal links. This approach can help to boost your content by ensuring more pages benefit from shared authority.

User-Centric Design: Aligning Content with Search Intent

In today’s digital landscape, marketers often find themselves grappling with the challenge of making a lasting impact on their target audience. Fortunately, there is a way to unlock the secret to successful marketing – by understanding search intent. By incorporating search intent into your marketing strategy, you can connect with your audience on a deeper level, increase brand visibility, and ultimately achieve your business goals.

Search Intent

  1. Search intent refers to the underlying motivation or purpose behind a user’s search query. It is crucial for businesses to grasp search intent as it helps them provide relevant and valuable content that satisfies users’ needs. Here’s a brief overview of how to understand search intent:
  2. Analyze the keywords: Pay close attention to the words used in search queries. Are they informational, transactional, or navigational in nature? This can give insights into what users are looking for.
  3. Study the search results: Examine the top-ranking pages for a specific keyword. Do they provide answers, comparison charts, or product listings? Understanding what type of content performs well can guide your own strategy.
  4. Think like a user: Put yourself in the shoes of the searcher and consider their goals. Do they want to learn, buy, or find specific information? By understanding user intent, you can tailor your content to address their needs effectively.
  5. Use data and analytics: Utilize tools like Google Analytics to gain deeper insights into user behavior. Analyzing metrics such as bounce rates and time spent on page can provide valuable information about whether users found what they were looking for.
  6. Constantly refine and optimize: As search trends change and user behavior evolves, it is crucial to regularly review and refine your content strategy. Stay updated with the latest research and adapt your approach accordingly.

Understanding search intent is the foundation for crafting content that not only ranks well but also delights and engages users, ultimately driving meaningful results for your business.

Aligning Content with Search Intent

  • Step 1: Keyword Research

Before diving into optimizing your content, start by understanding the search intent of your target audience. Keyword research plays a vital role in this process. It helps you identify the key phrases people use when searching online. By using tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush, you can discover the volume and competitiveness of these keywords. Focus on finding keywords that align with your content and match your audience’s search intent. This will guide your content creation strategy and maximize the chances of reaching your target audience effectively.

Choosing the Right Keywords Based on Search Intent

  1. Understand the search intent: Before selecting keywords, it’s crucial to analyze the search intent behind a query. Determine whether the intent is informational, navigational, transactional, or commercial investigation.
  2. Optimize for user intent: Tailor the keywords to align with what the users are looking for. If the goal is to provide information, long-tail informative keywords might be suitable. For transactional intent, focus on actionable keywords that drive conversions.
  3. Use relevant modifiers: Incorporate modifiers like “best,” “tips,” “reviews,” or “buy” to match search intent effectively. These modifiers can help refine keywords and attract the intended audience.
  4. Analyze SERP features: Study the search engine results page (SERP) to understand how keywords related to search intent are ranking. Look for featured snippets, knowledge panels, or shopping results to ascertain the intent.
  5. Consider user expectations: Put yourself in the user’s shoes and think about what they expect to find when using specific keywords.

This helps ensure the content delivered aligns with their search intent. By choosing keywords that match search intent accurately, you can increase the visibility of your content and enhance user satisfaction.

Tools and Techniques for Effective Keyword Research

When it comes to effective keyword research, there are several tools and techniques that can help you get the job done. One popular tool is Google Keyword Planner, which provides data on search volume and competition for keywords. Another useful tool is SEMrush, which offers insights into organic and paid keywords, as well as competitor analysis.

Additionally, using Google Trends can help you understand the popularity of specific keywords over time. Techniques like using long-tail keywords, analyzing user intent, and leveraging keyword research tools can greatly improve the effectiveness of your keyword research efforts.

Step 2: Content Creation

Now that you have a solid understanding of search intent, it’s time to dive into content creation. At this stage, it’s crucial to align your content with the intent of your target audience. Start by identifying the keywords and phrases that reflect the search intent you’re targeting. Use these keywords as a guide to create valuable and relevant content that will satisfy your audience’s needs. Remember to focus on user experience and deliver information in a clear and concise manner. Keep your content engaging to encourage visitors to stay on your page and explore further.

  • Aligning Content with Search Intent

Aligning content with search intent is crucial for improving your visibility in search engine results. To do this, you need to understand what users are looking for when they search for a specific keyword or phrase. Start by analyzing the search results for your target keywords and identify the common themes and patterns. Then, create content that directly addresses those themes and provides valuable information to users.

By aligning your content with search intent, you are more likely to attract organic traffic and improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results. Remember, always focus on providing value to your audience and addressing their specific needs.

  • Using User Personas to Create Targeted Content

User personas are essential in creating targeted content that resonates with your audience. By understanding the wants, needs, and preferences of your target audience, you can tailor your content to meet their specific needs. With user personas, you can create content that speaks directly to your audience, addressing their pain points and providing valuable solutions. This ensures that your content remains relevant and valuable, increasing engagement and driving conversions.

User personas help you understand your audience on a deeper level, allowing you to create content that truly connects with them. By integrating user personas into your content creation strategy, you can create compelling and targeted content that drives results.

Step 3: On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization is all about maximizing the relevance and quality of your webpage’s content. Start by optimizing title tags and meta descriptions with keywords that align with search intent. Structure your headings using H1, H2, and H3 tags to organize information logically. Enhance readability by breaking up content with bullet points and short paragraphs.

Use relevant and descriptive anchor text for internal and external links to provide context. Optimize images by using descriptive file names and alt attributes. Lastly, ensure your webpage loads quickly and is mobile-friendly to enhance user experience and increase chances of ranking higher in search results.

  • Optimizing Meta Tags and Descriptions for Search Intent

Optimizing meta tags and descriptions is crucial for aligning with search intent. When crafting meta tags, consider the main keyword and include it in a concise and compelling manner. This helps search engines understand the content’s relevance to user queries. Similarly, writing meta descriptions should entice users to click by providing a concise summary of what the page offers. Focus on creating unique and informative descriptions that highlight the value and relevance to the search query.

By optimizing these elements, you can increase click-through rates and attract more qualified traffic to your website.

  • Ensuring Proper Keyword Placement and Density

Ensuring proper keyword placement and density is crucial for optimizing search intent. It helps search engines understand the relevance of your content. To achieve this, include your primary keyword within the title, headings, and meta description. Aim for natural placement rather than overstuffing keywords. Spread secondary keywords throughout the content to create a comprehensive topic coverage.

However, keep in mind that readability and user experience should never be compromised in favor of keyword density. Focus on providing valuable content that addresses the user’s search intent while effectively incorporating relevant keywords.

Step 4: User Experience Enhancement

  1. Optimize page load speed: Improve the loading time of your website to minimize user frustration and increase engagement.
  2. Enhance mobile responsiveness: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, providing a seamless experience across different devices.
  3. Implement intuitive navigation: Simplify the navigation menu and ensure users can easily find what they are looking for.
  4. Use clear and concise content: Break down information into digestible chunks, using headings, bullet points, and concise sentences.
  5. Incorporate relevant visuals: Visual elements such as images, infographics, and videos can enhance user experience and convey information more effectively.
  6. Personalize the user journey: Tailor the content and recommendations to the specific needs and interests of your audience.
  7. Gather and act on user feedback: Regularly collect feedback and make necessary improvements to meet user expectations.
  8. Monitor and analyze user behavior: Implement tools to track user behavior, identify weak spots, and make data-driven optimizations.
  9. Continuously test and iterate: Put effort into A/B testing different elements of your website to find optimal designs and layouts.

Improving Page Load Speed and Mobile Responsiveness

Improving page load speed and mobile responsiveness are crucial factors for enhancing the user experience and boosting search engine rankings. Slow-loading pages frustrate users and increase the chances of them leaving your site. To enhance page load speed, optimize images, reduce server response time, and minify CSS and JavaScript files.

Additionally, ensure your website is mobile-friendly, as the number of mobile users is steadily increasing. Optimize your site for mobile devices by using responsive design and implementing techniques like lazy loading. By prioritizing page speed and mobile responsiveness, you can better cater to users and improve your site’s overall performance.

Implementing Clear and User-Friendly Navigation

  1. –Organize content logically:– Categorize information into sections or pages, keeping related content together and ensuring a logical flow.
  2. –Use descriptive labels:– Clearly label navigation tabs, links, and buttons using intuitive and descriptive language that accurately reflects the content they lead to.
  3. –Keep it simple:– Avoid clutter and unnecessary elements on your website or app. Streamline your navigation to make it easy for users to locate what they need quickly.
  4. –Provide search functionality:– Include a search box prominently, enabling users to search for specific content, products, or services.
  5. –Use visual cues:– Employ visual elements, such as icons or hover effects, to guide users and indicate active or clickable areas.
  6. –Adopt responsive design:– Ensure your navigation is mobile-friendly, adjusting for different screen sizes to provide users with a seamless experience across devices.
  7. –Include breadcrumbs:– Implement a breadcrumb trail to help users easily understand and navigate their way back to higher-level categories or sections.

Step 5: Monitoring and Analyzing Performance

  • Keep a keen eye on the metrics: Regularly monitor performance metrics like click-through rates (CTRs), bounce rates, and conversion rates to gauge the effectiveness of your search intent strategy.
  • Analyze user behavior: Look for patterns in user behavior to identify any gaps between user intent and the content you are providing.
  • Utilize analytics tools: Take advantage of analytics tools like Google Analytics or other platforms to track user interactions and gain valuable insights.
  • Optimize and adapt: Based on your analysis, make necessary adjustments to your content, keywords, or overall strategy to better align with user intent and improve performance.
  • Stay updated: Continuously stay informed about changes in user behavior, search trends, and algorithm updates to ensure your search intent framework remains effective and up to date.

Tracking Keyword Rankings and Traffic Analytics

Tracking keyword rankings and analyzing website traffic are crucial components of the search intent framework. By monitoring keyword rankings, you can understand how your website is performing in search engine result pages (SERPs). This data helps you determine which keywords are driving the most traffic and identify areas for improvement.

Additionally, traffic analytics provide valuable insights into your website’s performance, including the number of visitors, their demographics, and behavior. This information allows you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your content and marketing strategies to better align with user intent.

  • Optimizing and Adjusting Strategies Based on Insights

Optimizing and adjusting strategies based on insights is essential in the search intent framework. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Analyze user behavior: Monitor metrics like click-through rates , bounce rates, and time on page to understand how users engage with your content. This data provides insights into whether your content matches search intent effectively.
  2. Refine content: Based on user behavior, optimize your content to align with search intent. This might involve rephrasing headlines, restructuring paragraphs, or incorporating relevant keywords for better visibility.
  3. Tailor your approach: Different search intents require different strategies. For informational queries, focus on providing detailed and accurate information. Transactional queries, on the other hand, call for a persuasive approach that emphasizes conversions.
  4. Experiment and test: Continuously test different variations of your content and monitor their performance. A/B testing headlines, meta descriptions, or even entire landing pages can reveal insights that help you refine and optimize your strategy.
  5. Stay updated: As search intent trends evolve, adapt your strategies accordingly.

Regularly monitor industry trends, search engine algorithm updates, and user behavior patterns to remain ahead of the curve.

Remember, optimizing and adjusting strategies based on insights is an ongoing process that requires a deep understanding of your target audience and their search intent.

Measuring Success: Analytics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

If you don’t use HubSpot, I’m sure many of the principles behind the reporting tactics that follow below can be applied to your situation. OK, with that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s dive in. 

Under Reports > Traffic Analytics > Topic Clusters, you are able to see a standard report for how all of your topic clusters are performing together, which you can then further segment to the individual topic cluster level.

You should also put the following metrics into consideration:

  • Tracking Organic Traffic
  • Keyword Rankings
  • User Engagement Metrics
  • Conversion Tracking

Your metrics might include:

  • Total page visits
  • Page visits by source
  • Time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Conversions

As you add more content to your pillar page or add new cluster content, compare the results against your goals and benchmarks.

However, like most SEO strategies, organizing your content by topic and pillar pages takes time to show results. It may take a few months for your organic traffic to regain momentum. This is why it can be helpful to promote the pillar page to your database and via paid ads to bring in traffic in the short-term.

In addition to measuring your pillar pages individually, also take time to analyze your topics as a whole. Look for answers to questions such as:

  • Which topics perform better at driving traffic to your web properties?
  • Which topics earn you the most leads?
  • Which topics drive the most revenue to the business?
  • Which topics earn the most backlinks/coverage?

This can help you elevate your topic-driven approach to a higher level of results.

Promoting Your Pillar Page: Maximizing Visibility

The primary goal of any promotion should be to drive traffic to your pillar page. While you may have valuable cluster content, you want to establish your pillar page as the authoritative source on a specific topic.

Before pulling the trigger on any pillar page promotions, you’ll need to clean up your internal links and submit your website to Google for re-crawling. Without this step, search engines will not necessarily register your extensive changes – despite all that hard work!

Build Internal Links Between Pillar Pages and Cluster Content

Key here is to make sure that any links from the cluster content to the pillar page use the exact wording of the topic you want to rank for. All links to the pillar page must use your topic phrase.

Each of the topic cluster posts will need to link back to the pillar page with the anchor text “freelance invoicing” in the hyperlink.

Map out topic clusters

Having clean internal links helps search engines understand how to categorize your website content into your chosen topics. This is particularly helpful as you build out multiple topics, and it will help you establish thought leadership in each of these topic categories.

Cleaning up internal links can be a little tedious and time consuming. That’s why we created this checklist to help make the process less painless:

Internal Linking Checklist for Pillar Pages and Topic Clusters

  • Each cluster content piece includes at least one link to the pillar page.
  • Every link to the pillar page includes the topic phrase as anchor text.
  • All pillar pages link to relevant topic cluster content using relevant keywords as anchor text.
  • There are no links to outdated content.
  • There are no links to content that has since been deleted.

Once you have published your pillar page and cleaned up your internal links, submit your website to Google for recrawling. This step will help make sure Google registers the most up-to-date version of your website for its search results.

Use SEO to Promote Your Pillar Page

After you’ve submitted your website for re-crawling, there are a few more SEO-specific tricks  you can use to promote your pillar page and content authority on a specific topic:

  • Use your website as real estate: Add call-to-action buttons or banners throughout your website to drive traffic to your pillar page.
  • Take advantage of popular content: If you already have popular content related to your topic, prominently feature a link or call-to-action button driving to the pillar page.
  • Highlight your pillar page on a “suggested content” feature: If your website has a suggested content feature, make sure each article in your topic cluster suggests your pillar page.
  • Use paid search ads: After your extensive keyword research on your topic, you are in a perfect position to create paid search ads for your pillar page. This tactic can be especially effective in the short-term as you begin to establish authority for your pillar page.

Use Social Media to Promote Your Pillar Page

Your social media strategy is crucial to promoting and maintaining thought leadership. To maintain your authority on a specific topic across social channels, consider organizing your content calendars by topic. This will align your website and social strategies and enable you to present a unified image as a thought leader around specific topics.

Here are some social media strategy ideas for promoting your pillar page in the short term:

  • Emphasize your pillar page over cluster content: Instead of promoting more niche topics, link to your pillar page during your designated promotion period.
  • Answer community questions in forums: Since pillar pages are comprehensive guides to niche topics, they can be especially helpful in research forums. Find the places online where people are asking about your topic. Quora and LinkedIn groups can be a great place to chime in with a link to your pillar page – so long as the content is relevant and helpful.
  • Host topic-wide chats: Since you’ve just spent an enormous amount of time and effort researching a broad topic, it’s the perfect time to host a social discussion about it. Consider hosting a podcast episode, Twitter chat, or Facebook Live to discuss your most recent topic (while linking to your pillar page of course!). Consider adding an outside influencer as a guest star or co-host to amplify the reach of your chat.
  • Paid ads: Consider using paid social media ads to supplement the reach of your pillar page for short-term campaigns.

Use Content to Promote Your Pillar Page

Yep, you can use content to promote your pillar page too! Maintain your pillar page’s relevance by linking to it whenever you write about the topic.

After your content audit, you should have a list of potential cluster content ideas. These can make great blog posts for the future. Be sure to link back to your pillar page whenever you write anything new about your topic. Also, as you write more about your topic, update your pillar page to ensure that its content remains fresh.

We recommend revisiting your pillar page once a quarter to see if you need to add any new links to relevant cluster content or offers. For short-term promotions, you can guest post about your topic (and link back to the pillar page) on other websites whenever appropriate.

Challenges and Considerations: Navigating Pillar Page Implementation

Creating pillar pages and their corresponding content clusters requires a significant amount of effort. Yet, it’s surprising how many people miss the key component, making sure the value aligns with the expectations of readers. Failing to do so can lead you down a really awkward path.

There seems to be a common issue that a lot of people think a pillar page means really long-form content. So, they think, “I’ll just write 5000 words on this one topic and I’m done.”

Just because something is long doesn’t mean it’s comprehensive. It also doesn’t mean it’s in line with the value you’re trying to convey. Also, I find that when people offer reasons for choosing a pillar page, it somehow leads to the idea that every page needs to be a long-form pillar page.

The problem with this shotgun approach is that it’s not methodical and can end up being quite detrimental. There’s a kind of diminishing value to it because when spending the resources to create that much content, you should probably do it right. That means doing your research ahead of time to really understand what it should include.

Granted, most people don’t just start writing a 5000-word article without doing at least some research. But with pillar content, it’s also important to understand how to cover the subject. You’re not going for depth; you’re aiming for the breadth of coverage. You want to touch on a lot of things that are important and relevant to your topic.

For example, let’s say you’re writing a guide to Google Analytics. The nuances of the landing page report aren’t something you’re going to cover. Instead, you’ll talk about a number of different things at a high level. 

This is where the technical side of a good pillar page comes into play. Understanding all the user intents, important to the topic, are critical to your research. You want your content to address all the things people want to know about the subject.

1. You’re unsure of what a pillar strategy is

This is a big one, because without being sound about the meaning of a pillar strategy you’re doomed to fail in this area.

As a reminder, the idea is to create a page that is the A-Z of a topic that resonates with your audience, offering education, advice, templates etc. which will help establish a relationship of trust between you and prospective customers.

But underneath this is the necessity of finding a topic with reasonable amounts of people searching for this each month (anything between 200-2000 people) and then finding enough sub-topics to build content around it.

The sub-topics form a nexus of information that your ideal buyer can consume which will lead them back to your pillar page.

This approach tells search engines like Google and Bing that you are the voice of trust in this area. The trickle-down effect is that you have more people visit your content and consume it (thus entering your nurturing) and it helps your overall website increase in its visibility on search result pages.

2. You’re in a competitive marketplace

This is a slightly tongue in cheek challenge because, if we are honest with one another, you are always going to be in a competitive space unless you have a product that no one can match.

So, in essence, we are all in the same boat. Yes, there is some variation where some markets are more competitive than others, but SMEs are growing every day, so if you don’t look to adopt modern marketing efforts you can be sure your competitors have or are in the process of doing so.

Now, competition also extends to your pillar content strategy.

The reason is that you must find a niche that has enough people searching for content around the matter, and not enough of your competitors talking to them with appropriate information (or if they are, the information they share is of poor quality).

You will get a steer on your niche from your buyer personas and have your finger on the pulse of what’s coming up in your industry.

You see, a pillar page is a combination of information that people are searching for, with a sprinkling of information that person wished they had known without knowing they needed it, and then giving them a reason to buy something from you.

It is for you to provide that information. If you do not, someone else will.

Find your niche and deliver a truly amazing experience for your prospects and you will turn these into paying customers.

3. You do not have the internal knowledge

Pillar marketing is going to push your resources into places that they may have seldom reached. Unfortunately, too many people believe that they can write content that is compelling and of a high quality, and they fall short of the mark time and time again.

And knowing that you may not be a copywriter is OK.

It is incredibly difficult.

You need to research your topic, be mindful of competitors’ content, and then map out what you are going to write to your buyer persona, all the while adopting a sound narrative structure and sticking to your brand’s tone of voice. Internal knowledge and internal resources can be a real blocker on your success rate with pillar content, there is no denying this fact.

Some suggestions for jump-starting the process:

  • Create and use your buyer personas to hone in on what you want to create content-wise
  • Develop a pillar page content plan and map out what the blogs, eBooks, templates, video and other pieces will be
  • From here, ask whether you have internal skills to execute these
  • Add in a need factor – do you need this content?
  • What are your timelines?

By completing this exercise you can start to understand the scale of the work in front of you and the resources that can help you achieve your goals.

Should you not have internal knowledge, look to some of these sources:

  • Fiverr for freelance designers and copywriters
  • Industry events for subject matter experts
  • SEO agencies for support with correctly structuring content and your site to generate as much traffic as you need.

4.  You are impatient

If you are impatient, or your key stakeholders are, then you must change this immediately. Pillar and cluster content isn’t a quick win type of game.

This is an investment in content marketing which will typically take 6-12 months to begin to show results. You cannot simply create content and expect it to be featured in the top results on Google and to generate traffic.

If you believe this, again, you need to change your expectations, immediately.

Now, you can adopt some of the below to boost traffic to your pillar and cluster content, but be mindful that they come with their own caveats:

  • PPC traffic

If you can target the right people to view your content through Google, Bing or LinkedIn ads, you can increase page views. However, be mindful that PPC traffic has a higher bounce rate than most because these are not necessarily people actively looking for content like that which you have made.

  • Social traffic

Start using the keywords and phrases associated with your topic and share that across your company pages, employees’ profiles etc. This will help you to get your content out into the ether.

  • Email traffic

With your nurture marketing and email newsletters in place you can point people to your pillar and cluster content, ensuring that your existing database is made aware of your new content.

The ideal scenario is that these are the very sorts of people you want to engage, so it offers a route to re-engage them!

5. You don’t know what content you can use

Perhaps you already have a stream of content that exists and it has been built around your pillar topic – what do you do with this?

Firstly, ask yourself if the content you have actually relates to your pillar topic. There is little point in adding this as a cluster form of information if it is nothing but a fluff piece, a sales blog or something which adds no value to your pillar page.

Remember that your pillar page is the mecca of the topic you want to talk about, nothing more, nothing less. Do not accept imitations.

Secondly, the pillar page must be focused, relevant and meaningful to the pillar topic. If you are adding nothing to the conversation you want to be a part of, leave that content to the side.

And if you think it passes the first two matters, then follow these steps:

  • Keep the content updated, check new sources of information and make it fit for purpose
  • Link back to the pillar page to ensure it creates that connection the likes of Google and Bing are looking for
  • Look back at your buyer personas and ask your customers to review the content and ask if it helps them
  • Take to your blog analytics to look at the page views, bounce rate, time spent on page etc. because this will help you know if it is truly valuable content.

And some words for thought on what is ‘compelling’ content.

Google and Bing love content that is of an average 1800 words, so that is really the benchmark to reach. But don’t forget about creating infographics, videos, graphics and much more to support your blog content.

Compelling content is from the eyes of search engines and the readers themselves. If you create content that is too long, that is bound to turn them away, and that is the exact opposite of what we want from your pillar strategy.


Crafting an effective Pillar Page requires a strategic blend of research, content creation, and optimization. This comprehensive guide serves as a roadmap for marketers and content creators, unraveling the intricacies of Pillar Pages and offering actionable insights to elevate a brand’s online presence. By understanding the core principles, optimizing for SEO, and staying attuned to evolving trends, businesses can harness the power of Pillar Pages to navigate the digital landscape successfully.

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