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Turbo-Boost Conversions and SEO with Pillar Pages

By Cary Matthews on Aug 11, 2023

Most business people understand the importance of posting content valuable to their customers on their websites. It’s good for customer engagement and good for SEO. But it’s important to also understand the importance or organizing your website by pillar pages and their linked cluster content.

Imagine you walk into a library or a bookstore looking for a book about easy recipes for vegan cooking. But you are aghast to find all the books piled up haphazardly on tables and thrown onto shelves without any regard to their topics. Novels are mixed with chemistry books. Biographies are mixed with DIY books. How are you going to find any cookbooks much less vegan cooks or vegan cookbooks with easy recipes?

Now take this into the digital realm. Without a logical website architecture, neither your customers nor search engines will be able to find anything on your site. And a critical part of that website architecture is pillar pages and related, linked cluster pages.

What Are Pillar Pages and Cluster Pages?

A pillar page is a thorough, long-form overview on a topic. It’s the main page about the topic and the starting place for most people. It should give a good grounding for those looking for initial information and should touch on most issues. However, since a pillar page is broad, after people read the pillar page, they may want further information.

That’s why you want to provide various linked cluster pages that go into depth on the many issues broached in the pillar page. It’s important that you interlink cluster and pillar pages.

A cluster page only treats one aspect of the general topic covered on the pillar page. It covers that aspect in  depth but is generally shorter than its related pillar page. Once again, linking from the cluster page to the pillar page and to other related cluster pages is critical.

How Pillar Pages and Clusters Can Help Your Website

Improve the User Experience

The pillar-cluster model makes it easy and fast for your visitors to find what they’re looking for. People expect a logical structure. If they can’t find what they are looking for quickly, they will become frustrated and head over to your competition’s website. It’s important to be consistent in language and formatting across all pillar and cluster articles in order to make the content cohesive and more enjoyable for your audience.

Pillar pages and cluster pages may sometimes be arranged in navigation with the pillar in top navigation and cluster pages in sub-navigation, but need not be. However, all web pages do not appear in navigation (such as blog posts).  They should still be easily accessible through links and by searching on the umbrella topic of the pillar page. So if a page does not fit into navigation, another way to provide access is through calls to actions such as “Read more about [Subtopic]” at the end of each cluster article, pointing back to the pillar page and related cluster articles.

When people have the positive experience of easily finding what they want on your site, they stay longer, they visit more pages and they are much more likely to convert.

Enable Search Engines to Find and Understand Your Site

When people have a good experience on your website, they stay longer and visit more pages. This improves your search engine rankings as well as increases conversions.

Interlinked pillar and cluster content also helps search engine crawlers find your website. And once found, the pillar-cluster organization and in-depth content enables search engines to understand your site’s purpose.

Increase Credibility and Domain Authority

Pillar page and cluster page organization enables you to cover many aspects of a topic in an easily consumable manner. You aren’t just writing an article here and there; you are offering what amounts to a valuable and extensive guide. This goes a long way toward improving your site’s authority.

We cannot stress enough that the purpose of search engines is to provide the best results they can for the user’s search. They want to provide trustworthy, reliable information that is free of errors. Google stands by the concept of E-A-T, that is, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, to determine whether they are providing helpful and valuable information. The pillar-cluster organization feeds into that concept.

Attract Backlinks

Backlinks from other sites are important to building domain authority, improving SEO and rising in search rankings. Because pillar pages are long-form and comprehensive, sites are more likely to link to pillar pages than other content.

Make Interlinking Easier and More Intuitive

The pillar-cluster model naturally encourages internal linking between pages, which not only helps with SEO but also keeps the user engaged for a longer time.

Catch Missing Information

When your content is organized by pillar pages and cluster pages, it’s not only simple to find, but it’s simple to maintain. You can more efficiently review the cluster and see if you are missing information or whether some of your information needs to be updated.

Correctly Use Keywords

Keyword cannibalization arises when multiple pages within a single website vie for identical Google ranking positions. This is what happens when pages on a site are optimized for the same keyword and serve the same search intents. If your information is organized into pillar and cluster content, it is much easier to track your use of keywords and adjust for better SEO.

Rank for Keywords That Are Broad and Competitive

Because the nature of pillar pages is that of topic overviews, they must compete for broader keywords, which are more competitive. The only hope for ranking a page with one of these broad keywords is with a long form article that is linked to child pages that expand on the original page’s content, in other words, a pillar page.

Need Help with Website Development and Pillar Pages?

You have your hands full running your business. Reach out to Umbrella Local for help with your marketing, content and website development. To schedule a free consultation, complete this form or call (646)440-1426.


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