SEO: what are pillar pages and topic clusters? Matthew Johnson - Head of Marketing & New Business by Matthew Johnson, Head of Marketing & New Business

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An introduction to pillar pages and topic clusters.

Over recent years, pillar pages and topic clusters have risen in popularity due to the evolving nature of online search. They have become vital components of a successful inbound marketing strategy and changed the way many marketers approach SEO. You want more traffic on your website so you start creating content. However, if your content strategy focuses on one-off keywords, you’re in trouble.

Introducing a pillar page and then topic clusters within that page is an effective way to boost your site’s search ranking and results in more leads finding your site and engaging with its content. Perhaps a few definitions will help.

Some quick definitions.

Pillar pages: are the foundation on which a topic cluster is built. A pillar page houses all of your subtopics on a single page. It contains detailed cluster blog posts, webinars, white papers, podcasts, videos etc. 

Topic clusters: are the collection of interlinked ‘subtopics’ or pages around the core topic. They work to boost your pillar page visibility so search engines can identify your content and it’s perceived expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT). 

Hyperlinks: are the links from a hypertext document to another location that can be activated by clicking on a highlighted word or image.

Your content strategy should be focused on a small number of core topics. This will earn you trust among search engines as well as the people searching for information about your topics.

Improve your SEO ranking.

Your core topic is the thing you want your business to rank for. The subtopics/topic cluster will help improve your business’ ranking for the core topic. Imagine you work for a small business finance firm and you want to become the go-to experts in your area. ‘Small business finance’ becomes one of your core topics. You then build related content to form the topic cluster. Some example subtopics may be: “Raising capital on your own terms”, “5 steps for creating your self-employed benefits package”, “To lease or not to lease: should you finance your business equipment?”.

Search engine algorithms now understand how ideas relate. They use latent semantic indexing and weigh site expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT) to serve the most relevant results. Using the same keywords in your content will ultimately confuse search engines – the opposite effect you want. But if you consistently publish high-quality, relevant content for your audience, search engines will begin to favour your core topic pages. They will push your business higher up the rankings so that more searchers can find your content to help them overcome their challenges.

Before getting started on this, make sure you understand your audience. You can do this by creating buyer personas for your business.

Want to find out more? Here’s a video from our partners at Hubspot. If you have a spare 20 minutes and want to delve further into this topic, pour yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy.

Matthew Johnson - Head of Marketing & New Business by Matthew Johnson, Head of Marketing & New Business
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