There is a giant SEO shift coming, and long-tail keywords are going the way of the dinosaur. Want to keep your search rankings up and stay ahead of the curve? Then pay close attention, because it’s all about pillar content, clusters, and how well you grasp the concept. Here we go!
Search Habits Are Changing
In the early days of the internet, SEO was all about getting the right keyword. Using the right word a few times on your page was enough to get ranked. People discovering Google were typing in single words or short phrases like “cats” or “cat videos.” You get the picture.
But a shift occurred, and long-tail keywords took over. It was now important to rank for longer keyword phrases, because more and more pages were competing for individual words. Now, if you wanted to stand out and compete, you had to target phrases like “cat videos funny” or “cat videos meowing,” etc. Because, after all, those were the actual questions people typed into their search bar. And that’s where things have been for the past decade or so.
But that’s all changing.
People don’t search broken phrase like “cat videos funny,” anymore. These days, people are more likely to trust Google to be smart enough to understand intent as well as words. So they pick up their phones and say, “Ok, Google, show me some funny cat vids.” In fact, about two thirds of search terms are over four words! Search terms are now becoming more about actual sentences and therefore topics.
Topics. Keep that word in mind.
Pillar Content Is the Future of SEO
So you asked, what is pillar content? Well, pillar content is the new way of organizing your website and blog to accommodate this new focus on and ability for search engines to identify topics. Instead of having multiple blog posts that compete for the same search term, high-ranking content will be developed in clusters around long-form content known as pillars.
Smart content marketing firms will begin grouping their content based on topics and then building out long pages that cover that topic in depth. All blog posts in that particular topic will link back to that pillar page (using the same search term), and the pillar page will, in turn, link back to those posts (being updated each time a new blog post is added).
For example, here is HubSpot’s pillar page on the Instagram Marketing topic. Notice the list of individual blog posts or cluster content linked throughout the page as well as at the bottom. Notice how each post delves deeper into a specific niche within the overall topic?
Take Me to Your Leader
In this way, pages don’t compete with each other. On the contrary, because they are all linked around a hub or pillar, each hit on a particular page benefits the whole cluster. The pillar page will serve as an overview that links to more in-depth posts that all link back to it like the central mothership for that topic.
So get out there and start working on your pillar content. Organize your posts around a central topic (or two or three…) and hyperlink back and forth. Watch your SEO rankings begin to climb as Google – and your readers – recognize you more and more as a subject-matter expert.
This is cutting-edge info, so pass it along!