I find it astounding to read that there are over three million search queries per minute. That’s a lot of people looking for answers. While not surprised, as a marketer, I can only think about how difficult it can be trying to capture someone’s attention with more content than ever before.
Trying to rank on page one is a constant battle and makes fighting for the attention of prospects and customers that much harder. With all the content published, search engines like Google are constantly updating their algorithms to aid in finding the information you need.
It’s not only about creating content for search engines. Search engines aren’t the ones coming to your site, people are. If you want to create effective content that converts visitors into leads that have potential to become customers, you need to create helpful information that solves for both the searcher and the search engine. So how do you stand out in a world of clutter?
Your content can be the solution for both by linking together targeted topic clusters that cover a specific core topic in depth, known as a pillar content.
What is this Pillar Content you speak of?
Pillar content isn't new.
The article titled, What Is a Content Pillar? The Foundation for Efficient Content Marketing, defines it as,
"... a substantive and informative piece of content on a specific topic or theme that can be broken into many derivative sections, pieces, and materials.”
A content pillar consists of a specific topic, think of it as a web design in Photoshop. There are several layers that turn into one final creation. Have enough layers you can elaborate on. It becomes a long article or web page focused on one specific topic that you can turn into many smaller pieces of content to fuel your content strategy. Once you define a core topic, you’ll want to identify a series of sub-topics. Sub-topics are strong enough to stand on their own but have a common connection with the core topic and can be clustered together with other sub-topic content. Sub-topic content can easily develop into blog posts, infographics, videos, emails, social media updates, and more, to attract your audience.
Take note, in order for the magic to happen, you have to connect everything together through a series of hyperlinks to and from the sub-topic pages to the core topic page. BAM! Now you know why it’s called a cluster!
Google now offers a range of formats to quickly find your answer:
1. Featured snippet: Google’s quick answer to your query without you having to click-through to a page
2. #1 Google ranking: top of the SERP stockpile
The larger the “web” that you create, meaning the more hyperlinks connected throughout your web pages, increases the probability of showing up for one of these features, strengthening the value of your topic cluster. If something spikes the searcher's interest, they can navigate through the links to learn more - landing on your website.
How do I collect leads?
On your pillar page, provide the option to download the content in the form of a PDF. If the visitor finds your content valuable enough, they will be willing to fill out the information on your form to access the offer. It may seem as if you are giving away content and missing out on lead generation opportunities but consider it from an SEO standpoint.
I once asked, “When I create a pillar page and it’s ungated, why would I want to include a form to download the information.” The question followed with the answer, “Exactly, you want to make the content worthy enough to download.” Make the information on your pillar page worthwhile so that your persona would want to download the information and take it with them.
If you’re providing valuable enough information, those that keep coming back will trust you. Once you’ve built brand authority you’ll begin to gain quality leads for your business.
Why you should be using Pillar Content
Pillar content increases the chances of your business being found in a search.
The article, Why Your Website Needs Pillar Content To Survive explains that despite many Google search algorithm changes,
"... there’s one element of the SEO landscape that has always remained unchanged: the power of pillar content. If you can create pages that serve as a go-to resource for others and contain groundbreaking information that hasn’t been published elsewhere, you’ll not only boost your rankings, but will establish yourself (or your brand) as a thought leader."
The better you understand who your customer personas are, what your audience's pain points are and how you can provide value, the more effective your pillars will be. With that understanding, you can select a core topic for your page. That's where keyword research comes into play. Keyword research is critical. Identify topics that aren't overly competitive, yet are highly relevant and can generate traffic to your site.
Pillar content must be part of your content strategy. It has become more technical with specific SEO tools addressing it as part of content optimization and management. HubSpot developed a content strategy tool that lets you identify pillar content, allowing you to think about the relationship (and links) between the pillar and the supporting topics. Plan strategic internal linking, internal linking is a process that is undervalued by content teams that can bring a ton of value.
Get started creating valuable resources your customers will find useful. Not sure where to get started or need help with your content strategy? KBK Communications has the experience to help you get started.
GIF Resource: via GIPHY