June 3, 2019 Last updated May 31st, 2019 1,447 Reads share

How to Build Your SEO with Pillar Content

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The success and reach of content marketing in the digital space are constantly evolving. This reality is driven by the fact that SEO algorithms and tracking methods are continually changing and updating the way they record data. For a business owner putting funds and effort into creating quality content that isn’t producing the expected ROI, this constant fluctuation can be frustrating, to say the least!

Take a deeper look here at some of the various ways SEO metrics are changing. Right now, let’s consider how you can implement a content strategy called “topic clusters” that will evolve with the constant tide of change in cyberspace.

What is a topic cluster?

So, first things first. What exactly is a topic cluster? It is a HubSpot term that refers to what they call a “pillar page” on your website that acts as the primary hub of content for a key subject. You are then able to link all of your related website pages back to this “pillar” containing the key information you are trying to rank for in SEO.

These connected links tell search engines that your pillar page and your website are authorities on that particular topic. As you produce more content on a key subject and continue to link it to your pillar page, search engines begin to rank that page, and your website as a whole, higher because you are providing relevant, valuable, and consistent content about that information.

To put it more simply, topic clusters help significantly boost your SEO ranking. In fact, one of the major benefits of this strategy is that it enables you to use all of that amazing content you’ve already spent hours of your time and money creating.

Effective topic clusters will provide:

  • Higher rankings, traffic, and conversions.
  • A greater authority with your audience.
  • Improvement in the results from every piece of content you publish around a given topic.

A key factor of using this strategy effectively, however, is to create pillar pages that broadly cover the various themes you’re focusing on so that they actually connect to all the other relative cluster content that is linked to it. This allows people who want to learn more about certain information on the pillar page to click over to access more in-depth cluster content, such as blogs that will cover the topic in more detail. For example, if you have a pillar page that’s all about “how to grow your business,” a cluster content page might go into the more focused subject: “using social sharing to raise brand awareness.”

When building your pillar pages and cluster content, the important thing to remember is to take time considering and researching the specific topics and ideas you want your business to rank for. Let’s take a closer look at a few effective ways to determine what subject matter and information will be the most beneficial for you to target for higher SEO ranking.

Determining your key topics

So, how do you decide what key topic cluster you should devote your time to creating first? Start by taking a look at what your business is offering and how it relates to what your potential clients are looking for. Once you’ve determined what that is, you want to create a page focused on meeting their needs to learn more about that particular subject. If you’re not quite sure how to find this out, HubSpot offers a content strategy tool that will display the following three metrics in the core topic validation section to determine if a certain theme is worth writing about in your realm of the business world:

  • Domain Authority: This is a scale from 1 to 10 that determines how authoritative your domain is and how likely you are to land on page one for that term.
  • Monthly Search Volume: This is the approximate number of searches that show up each month for that term.
  • Relevancy: This is a 0–100% score that tells you how relevant the topic you’ve chosen is to all the content on your domain.

Pillar page

Once you’ve decided what the primary focus of your main idea will be, it’s time to create a pillar page. A pillar page is a more extensive resource page that covers a subject in depth and links to your blogs and other various forms of quality content that offer more robust details surrounding the supporting subtopics of information. It’s important to remember to apply consistent on-page SEO best practices when creating this content pillar, such as:

  • Referencing the core topic in the page title and URL.
  • Placing the pillar page on the top level of your website in a space that has proven to generate a lot of organic traffic.
  • Producing content with strategic messaging to convert visitors to leads or leads to customers/donors.

Another tip to ensure that everything on your pillar page can be crawled by SEO engines and discovered by potential customers is to have it readily available for consumption. Don’t “lock” it behind a requirement to fill out a form or log in with a password. Your pillar page will also gain authority by joining quality inbound links from your subtopic content.


Subtopics are shorter pieces of information that answer specific questions about the core theme covered in your pillar page. You can attach the following types of content to your subtopics:

  • A blog post
  • A landing page
  • The full URL of a web page
  • A link to a credible external resource

When you attach a website page, landing page, or blog post to a new subtopic, your topic cluster will keep track of how many inbound links you have referring back to your pillar page to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success.

The strategy of bundling content together in this format not only constructs the type of web blueprint that search engines covet, but it also provides users with more precise answers to their questions. In fact, according to Search Engine Land, voice search makes up 20% of search queries on Google’s mobile app and Android devices. Additionally, 64% of searches are four words or more, according to Ahrefs.

Topic clusters help us adapt to people’s search habits by providing a calculated, well-organized, and structured system that’s easy for search engines to crawl and understand. In turn, search engines reward you by giving your site more authority and a higher placement as a thought leader in your industry.


SEO Strategy

Faye Ferris

Faye Ferris

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