What is Pillar Content, and Why Do You Need It?

Pillar content broadly covers a particular topic: what you do, the products you sell, the services you provide. Cluster content addressed the topics within your topics. What do each of these look like, and how do they work together?

March 11, 2022

We can’t explain pillar content without talking about cluster content. But which do we dive into first? It’s a modern-day marketing chicken and egg situation. We’re on team chicken-came-first, and in this scenario, pillar content may be the easiest place to start when building your website. 

So, what is pillar content?

Pillar Content: A Proverbial Marketing Chicken

Pillar content, also called pillar pages, broadly covers a particular topic: what you do, the products you sell, the services you provide, an area your business is an expert in. Pillar pages can look something like this:

We could keep going, but you probably get the gist. What search terms do you want to be the first result for?

But, as we said earlier, keep it broad. Think topics, not keywords. Cluster content is where you fill in those gaps (more on that later).

What is your audience most interested in, and what challenges do they face? You want ideas that allow for more related content, i.e., blog posts, but not something you’ll need to spend 6,000 words on just to cover the basics. For example, ‘Advertising’ may be too broad for a pillar page. ‘Google Display Ads’ may be a bit too narrow. ‘Digital Advertising’ is like room-temperature porridge, “juuuust right” enough to convince a curious mind to explore the rest of the house. 

Why Does Pillar Content Matter?

Pillar pages help you build authority on these topics. They provide context, relevance, and increase your credibility as an expert on the subject, both through the information on the pillar page and the additional resources housed there. 

Pillar pages are also important for search engine optimization (SEO). Pillar pages help Google understand how all the information on your site is connected, kind of like a map. This improves your site structure, increases website traffic, and gives Google an idea about which URL to show searchers. 

Because of this, you’ll earn better rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your high-volume keywords. 

Cluster Content: Then Came The Egg(s)

Chickens can lay between 500 and 600 eggs in their lifetime. In the same way, your pillar content can have hundreds of cluster content pages that come from a single topic.

Cluster content addresses a more specific keyword that relates to the pillar content in-depth. This content is often blog posts, but can be subpages on your site as well.

This blog post is an example of cluster content. We are building a resource to rank for the keyword phrase “what is pillar content,” which gets roughly 500 searches a month. This idea is part of Content and Messaging, or how you represent your business through blog posts, product descriptions, brochures, videos, photo galleries, webinars, press releases, social posts, downloadables, and more.

See how we connected this cluster content to our pillar page?

Why Does Cluster Content Matter?

We aren’t quite done dragging our chicken and egg metaphor around, so think about it this way: cluster content is the protein that provides a structural framework for your website, acts as a messenger between you and your readers, and plays a role in business growth. 

How people are searching for content has changed. If you are redoing your kitchen, would you search “countertops” or “kitchen remodeling near me?” Both are relevant, but the second option would get you a lot closer to what you’re actually looking for. 

And you’re not the only one. In 2021, 69.7% of search queries contained four words or more. People are using longer-form conversational search queries to quickly and effectively find the answer to their question. 

With more detailed content, search engines are better equipped to provide exactly what searchers want, and give them even better answers in the process. 

So if you create a blog post around “digital marketing trends for 2022,” someone searching “what to expect in digital marketing this year” would be happy to find your resource at the top of their search results. 

Creating Pillar and Cluster Content for Your Business

Now that you have a better idea of these types of content and how they benefit your website, the next step is to define your pillar pages. After you determine your pillar pages, you can start outlining content ideas based on more specific areas of expertise and questions you can answer. 

Although the concepts may be straightforward, you want to be sure that you are organizing your website in a way that best reflects and supports your business. We’ve learned a lot about content strategy over the past several years, and we’d love to help you talk through a plan. 

Reach out to us here to learn more about how to use content marketing to connect, convert, and thrive!

Writer: Gabrielle Mingus
Editor: SK Vaughn

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