SEO is a fickle beast.
Search engines are changing their algorithms frequently because human search behaviors keep shifting and they have to keep up. This also means marketers have to keep up with the best strategies to rank on the first page of SERPs.
As the ways people search evolve and the technologies used to interpret search results improve, you’ll need to embrace new ways to organize and create content so you can rise to the challenge.
In this article, we’ll cover what is a pillar page, the nature of cluster content, the topic cluster content model, and why this new content structure is what to do next to get found on search.
What Is a Pillar Page?
A pillar page is a single web page that looks like an extra-long blog post and covers all aspects of a topic you want to rank for, in an overview sort of way. Pillar pages give broad, quick-read, scannable answers to questions about your topic. It’s a jumping point for people who are asking questions and searching for answers about your topic. If they want detailed information, they will find it by clicking on related in-depth content that links to the pillar page.
What is Cluster Content?
While pillar pages give an overview of your topic, the detailed posts that support your pillar are called cluster content, i.e., the related in-depth information people need when they want more details. Technically, each cluster content page for the pillar focuses on a specific long-tail keyword related to your pillar topic.
How Do Pillar Pages and Cluster Content Work Together?
The pillar page links to each cluster page and each cluster page links back to the pillar with the same hyperlinked keyword. They are the building blocks of the topic cluster content model, which does two things:
- Gives searchers deeper, more comprehensive coverage of your topic across a range of related areas
- Creates an efficient information architecture for your website to address frequent changes in search engine algorithms due to how our search behavior has changed over time.
5 Reasons Why We Need To Change The Way We Create Content
1. People are making more detailed search queries to sift through the exploding amount of content out there and find the information they need faster.
2. Today’s searches are more conversational and 64% include four words or more, which helps people find the exact information they're looking for.
3. People are relying more on scanning content like blog post headers and featured information in SERPs to get simple answers to questions quickly.
4. People are using voice search more frequently. When it comes to mobile searches, 20% are conducted by voice and this percentage is expected to rise with the popularity of home devices.
5. Search engines are constantly evolving algorithms and using machine-learning to get more accurate interpretations of specific terms to give searchers exactly the information they want. Your site needs to organize quality content so your business can benefit from search engine improvements and make it easier for searchers to find what they need.
Big Advantages of the Topic Cluster Model
Topic cluster architecture has three components:
- Pillar content – Content that outlines the main topic you want to rank for.
- Cluster content – Detailed content related to your main topic and based on specific keywords related to that topic that all link to each other.
- Hyperlinks - Linking URLs together helps more pages on your site rank in search results and helps people find information on your site more easily.
The topic cluster content model is helping marketers build broader search engine authority. How? By providing the best answers for the new types of search queries while also getting more pages ranked. In fact, just one high-performing cluster content page can elevate the search rankings for all other cluster content that’s linked to the same pillar page.