A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Pillar Content

Pillar content: your gate to develop a topic cluster

As the SEO and content marketing strategy are constantly changing, a topic cluster becomes the hero to be successful in the long run in SEO. The main part of the topic cluster is pillar content since it becomes the gate to the cluster content.

If you are new to the terms, let us uncover it one by one!

What is the topic cluster?

A topic cluster is the next evolution of SEO. Rather than use keywords in content, which you may be familiar with, a topic cluster mainly focuses on the buyer persona. It matches with the rapid growth in technology that frequently uses voice search and results on the conversational search queries.

Therefore, many companies build a system called a topic cluster, a group of multiple contents that connects pillar and cluster content using hyperlinks.

What is pillar content?

Pillar content is a long-form piece of content that becomes the foundation of other content on your website. In this type of content, you just need to cover the general idea of a topic. It usually consists of 2,000 to 3,000 words.

This still covers a broad topic because the specific ones will be discussed in the cluster content in a more in-depth way.

So, if you look at a tree, the pillar content is like the trunk, while cluster content is the branch.

Types of pillar content

10X Content Pillar Page

As the name suggested, 10x content is the content which 10 times better than the best result with the same keyword. Moz says that there are 6 conditions where content is categorized as 10x content. Those are content with:

  • great UI and UX for any device,
  • high quality and reliable information
  • uniqueness compared to other works
  • the ability to drive audiences’ emotion
  • an accurate and comprehensive solution to a certain problem
  • remarkable style

Resource Pillar Page

This type of pillar content emphasizes the function of internal and external links that help readers to connect with insightful content within the topic. Compared to 10x content that makes the reader focus only on your website, the resource pillar page also educates the readers with content outside your website.

Why do you need this?

1. Keep your website organized and connected

Instead of just creating “one episode” content, a topic cluster will group your idea with pillar content as the first episode. Pillar content can help you organize and connect your content as it contains hyperlinks to the cluster content. 

2. Target specific audience

The explanation in a general pillar content will be covered by more in-depth cluster content. The children of the pillar content can specify your target audience as it talks about the specific concept of the topic.

For example, you can take a look at Whizter’s pillar content which discusses social media for business. It has hyperlinks to the cluster content such as social media topics and social media solutions.

People who have a problem in managing social media will more likely to click on the second, while the ones who stuck in creating content can read the second cluster content.  

3. Get you fresh ideas

Try to find an idea or topic can be frustrating. However, once you have the head term, you can easily generate the idea since you have owned the “umbrella” so that you do not have to widely think about what kind of topic to publish.

4. Assist Google to understand your website

Because the topic cluster will apply semantic relationships between your webpages, you help Google to recognize your website. It likes a website that has a connected and organized architecture as Google will notice what topic you bring on your website.

How to create pillar content

As you have known what pillar content is and why you must have one on your website, let us dig deeper into the steps of creating it.

1. Choose your head term

Go to Google Keyword Planner or LSIGraph to get your head term with high search volume so that you can be indexed along with other popular websites. This head term should be broad or you can say that it has the head keywords which have 3 words or less. It must be general enough, so you can specify it in the cluster content.

This head term must be not only broad but also relevant to your business. For instance, your business is a gym. Your head terms could be about weight loss and workout routines, and do not go beyond that is irrelevant to your business because Google may be confused.

2. Define the core topics

After that, you need to identify the core topis that you will explain in your pillar content. These topics still have a high search volume, but those are lower than the head terms. The core topics frequently use 3 to 5 words that support the head terms.

Let us have the same example as in the first point. You have had weight loss as one of your head terms, then you can generate it into “weight loss tips”, “weight loss exercise”, or “weight loss foods”.

3. Be resourceful about the subtopics

The topic cluster works as a pyramid. As you have the head terms like in the lowest part of the pyramid, then you go up to the middle part of it. And, this part discusses the peak of the pyramid which is the specific one, the subtopics. They will deliver more comprehensive content as you have talked about the broad topic in the pillar content.

Search the long-tail keywords that have search volume between 10 to 400. If you have “weight loss tips” in the core topics, you can draw up the subtopics into “weight loss tips for men”, “weight loss tips at home”, or “natural weight loss tips”.

4. Write your pillar content

Finally, you can write the pillar content accomodating your core topic. Make sure you input the hyperlinks to the cluster content to make your content semantically connected. Make the words containing the link to the cluster content relevant to the subtopics. Still, do not force the keywords and write the content naturally.

Now, it is your time to arrange and upgrade your website using a topic cluster and its pillar content.