Lately, we have been talking a lot about pillar strategy and how it should fit into every marketer's campaign strategy. Because of Google's new algorithm ranking factor, RankBrain, it is important that we optimize our websites around topics rather than a limited amount of keywords. The thought is that if we focus on optimizing the right pages and writing on the correct topics, our rankings will increase for all related keywords within that topic.
Throughout this article, I will be discussing how to choose which pillar pages you should focus on and how to successfully implement this type of SEO strategy through content creation, optimization, and internal linking.
Choose Pillar Pages
The first step in this process is to choose which pages on your site are going to be considered your pieces of pillar content. Depending on the type of business, this could be anything from an important service to an important offer that you want to drive traffic too. If you there is a certain piece of pillar page that you believe you need to add, there are definitely steps you can take to create new pillar content, however it is much more beneficial to choose a page that already has authority and ranking behind it.
When choosing pillar pages, we take a look at the analytics behind the page to make an educated guess as to what pages will be the most beneficial to go after and are bound to drive the most traffic. This will help us get a sense as to what exactly our audience is looking for and make sure we are optimizing our site even further for those topics.
Each pillar page that is chosen or created is then translated into a topic. For example, if we have a digital marketing page, we will probably make that topic "Digital Marketing." An important way to determine if you have chosen a right topic is to do some broad keyword research around that particular topic to ensure it gets enough search volume and is worth targeting. If it is not, you may want to change topics for that page.
Brainstorm Your Topic Clusters
Once you have chosen your pillar pages and topics to go along with them, it is time to brainstorm your topic clusters. An integral part of the pillar strategy is to make sure you are creating content that is related to one of your topics. You start with the main pillar page and you build off of that by creating content, blog articles, that can support those pages and help them gain authority and rise in rank. We like to think of this strategy as a topic cluster. It looks something like this:
As you can see, the pillar page, or topic, is the basis of the entire strategy and the the other subtopics are content that is written to support the main topic.
Deciding what those subtopics are going to be, requires some long-tail keyword research. Long-tail keywords are those that can serve as blog titles, get a decent amount of traffic, and have medium to low competitiveness. If my topics is "Digital Marketing," some of my long-tail keywords would be as follows:
- Digital Marketing: The Art of Blogging
- Innovative Digital Marketing Trends
- Different Personas to Optimize Your Digital Marketing
- Digital Marketing: Task List For Beginners
Once you have this all planned out, you can begin writing your content. When writing this supporting content, you can set it up like any old blog article, just make sure you use a long-tail keyword as your title and always optimize it for search!
Link Internally To Support Your Pillar Strategy
So yes, these topics are all related to each other, but how does Google know? There is one step that is vital to this strategy that you must not forget. When working with topic clusters it is very important to:
- Link back to the pillar page that you are writing about on each blog post.
- Link internally between blog articles. Use each of them as references where possible.
This is a very important step because it is the key to bringing everything together and showing Google how everything works together and what pages are related.
As you can see, today's SEO strategy plays a much bigger role in digital marketing than it used to. In order to succeed and support your main pages, it is important to bring the whole marketing strategy together.