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How to build effective theme clusters and pillar pages

 Let's review the relationship between a Topic Cluster and a Pillar Page.


First, you need a central topic.It should be something bro ad, usually two to three words,something that can be dug and explained on a deep level.The sales qualificationThis is a great example of a central topic.Your central topic will take the shape of your pillar page.The central topic will also be what is trying to rank in search engines.Then identify your topic cluster,which will consist of relevant subthemes.A subtopic must be strong enough to be alone in the form of a blog or video post,but when combined with other thematic subtopics,it should be relevant and support your core topic.In this case, what is a qualified customer and what is BANT are examples of strong subtopicsthat support the central topic of sales qualification.And what completes this pillar of contentthat solves for the search engine and the search engineis connecting everything through a series of hyperlinks.By linking all relevant subtopicsto the main topic, which is your pillar page,you are channeling all your trafficto the main resource hub in this topic.Let's see this in action.If you searched Googleabout sales qualification,This is what the first page listing would look like.At the top, you'll see that Google generateda featured snippet which is the waysearch engine answer your questionsimply without having to click on the page.In this case, Google assumes that if you are looking forobtain sales qualification information,you will find value in the BANT qualification framework,information extracted from a HubSpot feature called The Best Guide to Sales Qualification.Below the featured snippet,you'll see that HubSpot also claims list number onefor qualifying sales with the same feature,The Best Guide to Sales Qualification.In a world of attempts to classifybroad terms of keywords,That's what you're striving for:by the featured snippet, as well as ranking number one.Let's say you're interested in learning more.on the BANT qualification framework,then you click on the link in the search resultto know more.You would be taken to this page.After the first few paragraphs you will see a table content that lets you know you can browse through the guide by clicking on each section.Each section title has an anchor link attached to it,which when clicked will take you to the specific sectionon the page where this topic is explained in depth.You will also notice a back button at the top.This feature is essential for a good user experience.on a page this size because it allows the readerback to the top after reading a specific section.The last thing you want is your readerhave to roll back upon a long content page to reach the top.Going back to our example, you found yourselfon this page because you clicked to learn moreabout the BANT qualifications framework, which is the numberfour in the final guide to sales qualification.By clicking on the anchor link you are takento the specific part on the page that discussesthe BANT qualification framework in depth.And within this section you will notice that there is a linkaverage of 5.4 people to make a buying decision.Clicking will take you to another HubSpot feature.titled Why Custom PositioningNo Longer Enough To Close Business.This is another relevant subtopic.Which supports sales qualification.Not every relevant sub topic you havewill be referenced on the pillar page, and that's fine.That's because you must have hundreds, even thousandsof subtopic pages that support your main topic.Instead, you can strategically linkrelevant subtopic contentacross the pillar page when it makes senseand when providing value to the site visitor.Just make sure all pagesof important subtopics connect to the pillar page,and use your best judgmentabout the content you include.Remember, keep the user experienceand the story you are trying to tell in mind.So, this is how this page resolved for the searcher,delivering a positive user experience.But how did the page solve the search engine?in terms of traffic and visibility?This page receives over 1500 organic,unpaid search engine visits per month.So how do you create a pillar page?

First, let's review both pillar page formatsmost widely used.Let's start with the pillar resource page.The resource pillar page focusesin internal and external links.The purpose of this pillar page is to be a useful resource.to connect the reader with more relevant sources about a specific topic,even if it means sending peopleout of your site.For example, take a look at the pillar page.Help Scout, a simple customer service company,created in customer acquisition.This resource page is made up of several sectionswhich provide links to internal and external resources.Generally, you wouldn't want to send people away of your site but this approach is solvingfor the visitor, not for your business.The biggest advantage of a pillar page format like thisis that you have the opportunity to generate inbound linksfrom the fonts you include on the page.This page has over 300 inbound linkspointing at her,Most are sources mentioned on the page.For this type of page you will need to developa disclosure plan to allow sources toknow that the page exists.Next is the 10x content pillar page.The purpose of this type of pillar page is the same,provide a comprehensive view of a specific topic.But the 10x content pillar page is usuallymade up of your proprietary media.The format of this page is similar.that of an ebook or open guide.Yes, I said open content.Open thought leadership content on stageof awareness solves for the search engineand for the site visitor, not one or the other.Resolves to the search engine becausethey are able to recognize groupingcontent with similar themes on a specific subject.And solves for the site visitorbecause it gives them the opportunity to see your contentbefore you decide to commit to downloading it.The trick is to make the conversion of 10x contentpillar page to focus on wrapping contentof the page in a downloadable resource.You must be wondering, why the hell does anyone gives you an indescribable email addressyou can see the same content on a site pagewithout providing any identifying information?Well, HubSpot did a study in March 2017,and we found that 90% of site visitorsprefer to read our extensive content in a PDF as opposed to a page of the site.But this preference is not limited to HubSpot content.It's human nature to want to take something with youif you find value in it.Think of it this way: let's say you go to a bookstoreLooking for a new book to read.You would probably walk the halls,leafing through pages of various booksuntil you find one that meets your needs.Once you find a book you like,you probably go to the cashier and buy itto take with you as opposed to staying at the book storehour after hour and day after day reading this content.This is the experience you are trying to replicate,but this can only be done if your contentprovides value to the reader.We come to this age when everyone seem to have an ebook or guide,but the quality of this content is a different story.Of course, you may be getting leads,but what if people don't find value in your content ? They probably won't keep buildinga relationship with you so the lead that captured

.It won't be as valuable as you think.In contrast, people who can see your content beforeto download it and choose to fill out the form,will be much more qualified because they are willinggiving you your information even if you already have seen what your content has to offer.For example, let's take a look at this10x content pillar page in email rangecreated by Mailshake,It's a simple tool for spreading cold emails.This 10x content pillar page covers one approach screens for sending emails with sectioned content.Let's say you want to know more aboutwhat an effective disclosure email looks like.Click on section three at the top of this page,examples of good and great promotional emailsand what we can learn from them,and the link will direct you to that specific sectionon the page to learn more about it.If you clicked a link in the index at the top of the page,noticed that Mailshakeoffers content as a downloadable packageat the bottom of the page.This way, if the visitor finds value in the content,He can choose to take you with him.How well is this page presenting?Well, in less than a year, this page has been viewed.over 43,000 times shared on social media398 times, attracted 372 inbound links,purchased 5,321 opt-ins emailsand acquired 402 customers.These are some serious results.for content less than a year old.Now that we know what types of pillar page there are,Let's review how a company called Etumacreated the first 10x content pillar page of your business.Etuma is a company that helps transformunstructured text datain decision making information for a company.While there is more than one way to create a pillar page,here is a seven step process that Etuma followedto create a 10x content pillar homepageand a topic cluster for your business.Let's review each step in depth.

First, Etuma has identified a central topic.for your 10x content pillar page.Etuma conducted keyword researchthat your main buyer persona,Customer Experience Manager Maggie,can use when searching for information online.They identified the term broad text analysisand decided on it as the central themebecause it's a stage of awarenessof the subject Maggie would look for,and is connected to a product or service they offer.If you will use the time to create contentthat educates your audience, make sure it connectsand supports at least one of your products or services.If not, ask whyyou are creating in the first place.

Second, Etuma has identified its topic cluster.You may already have content created in support of your central topic.Instead of reinventing the wheel, identify the chainown media that is relevant to your core topic.In this case, Etuma already had four pagesof blog content with text analysis themeand a series of YouTube videos.And although it may be great that you already haveSub-topic content created, don't sell your business.Brainstorm a list of as many subtopics as you canthat bring value to your core topicthat hasn't been published yet.After making a comprehensive list of subtopics,reduce it to six of the strongest subtopicsthat support your main topic and your pillar page.Remember, you can keep growing on your pillar page,then have a list of already identified subtopicswill help make this process easier.This comprehensive list you madeis the content that keeps giving away.

Third,Etuma has created blog posts for its sub-topic content.If you are like Etuma and have chosen at leasta subtopic that needs content created .You will need a way to bring it to life.Create a blog post first because there are severalopportunities to reuse it in the future.Etuma needed content for his subtopiccategorization systems so they createda blog post titled:How to create a customer feedback taxonomy.Once Etuma created this post,they had a blog postfor each of the subtopics they identified.

Fourth, Etuma reused its contentsof subtopics in a downloadable offer.Once you have all the content you need to createyour pillar page, redirect sub-topic contentfor a downloadable offer.Remember, the goal here is to use the content you haveto put together a useful story for the readerwhich explains the central topic in depth.Create the content offering before the pillar page.This will enable you to prepare a conversion action.highly relevant by lowering the content offering,to have on the pillar page so your business can startgenerating leads as soon as the page is published.

Fifth, Etuma deconstructed its download offeron a 10x content pillar page.Etuma took the same content offered in your guideand formatted to fit on one page of the site.We all know that content is king.Matt Cutts, formerly with Google,coined this phrase many years ago.But the design is sometimes forgotten,and it's just as important, if not more important,than the page content.Do you want people to have a positive experiencewhen they are reading your content.Think about the last bad experienceHad in a restaurant you visited.You came back?To ensure your 10x content pillar pageprovide a positive experience.Check out these 13 layout tipsdescribed in the Etuma example.Let's review each layout tip in more detail.Starting at the top left of the example,with tips one, two, and three,applies consistently on the SEO pagebest practices, referencing the central topicin your page title, URL, and H1 tag.Going to tip four,include conversion-focused landing page elements.Really, this is what a landing page should look like:left text with dots to describethe value offer, a cover image of the offer in the middle,and a form to complete and access the offer on the right.Enter form directlyat 10x content pillar page.This reduces the amount of conversion actions.What a reader needs to do to download the feature.That said, if you are more comfortablewith a dedicated landing pagewith a form to access the offer,insert a CTA on the pillar pageto send readers there.Going to tip five, add an anchor link indexbelow the conversion point with the line,click the link to go directlyfor a specific section.This lets visitors know they canpreview the content before you decide to take it away.Moving to the upper right corner of the example,in layout tip six,you will notice that there is navigation on the site.The purpose of this page is to createa positive experience for the visitor,don't force it to convert like a landing page would do.Going down to tip seven,There is a definition of the main topic.The main topic is defined at the top of the page,which helps optimize the page to chooseas a featured snippet for this topic.A featured snippet is Google's waytrying to answer your search querysimply without you having to click on a page.It's the first thing people seebefore search result listings.Going to tip eight, use relevant imagesacross the page with the main topic referencein the alternative text.This helps optimize the images used on the page.For image search results.In tip nine, use H2 tags for the headers section.Don't even think about just increasingthe size of the text and make it bold.Let's keep it simple, consistent and clean.Using proper HTML structure helps provide auser experience and simplifies page refresh.Going to tips 10 and 11, use internal informationand external links to deepen resources.Yes, I said external links too.Using external links helps validate your claims.Just use them strategically, as to supporta claim or data point that you want to reinforce.Moving on to tip 12, make reference to your central topic across the page,but just don't repeat that exact same phrase.Search engines are smart enoughto understand synonyms of your main topic phrase.And lastly, tip 13, have a Back to Top button.So when people click on a sectionthey want to learn more about,can easily return to the top.People will probably not read your entire page.They may find a section interesting enoughand want to download it and take it with them.You will want to do this processas easy as possible for the visitor.Forgetting this step would require the readerrolling endlessly, or it might look like this,which could lead to frustration, which could lead toto them by leaving your page and going elsewhere.

Sixth, Etuma has linked media contentproperty relevant to your 10x content pillar page.After completing your 10x content pillar page,you'll need to hyperlink your subtopic content to it,creating your topic cluster.The goal here is to connectall relevant own mediato the central topic of the pillar page using a hyperlink.The more associated contentto your topic cluster and pillar page the better.And don't just add old link text.Take the time to update the anchor text.for something descriptive that supports the main topic.Etuma has linked more than 20 relevant pieces of contentto your 10x content pillar page.And you will notice that they took time to createthe descriptive anchor text to let the researcherand the search engine knows where they are going.

Seventh, Etuma has created a path of conversion for people to access your 10x content pillar page.The goal here is to let peopleknow this content is availablebecause if you don't, you risk a bigpart of your site visitors never find.Forgetting this step would be similar to buildinga new room in your doorless home.No matter how big this space is,no one can get in, so what's the point?Another channel to consider is a dedicated section.with a CTA near the top of the homepagewith an image and descriptive supplementary text.This does not mean that alwaysyou need to stay here on this page.You can promote the pillar page for a limited time,possibly two weeks or a month,to support your editorial release.And there you have it, seven steps to createAn effective 10x content pillar page for your business.Etuma has been consistently creating content for years,but this seven step process helped themmake more sense in how to create,grow and connect effective content.But how well are you doing?After two months,his vice president of marketing and sales said:"We're getting about four times the leads,"if you measure by quality compared to before"from the text analysis content pillar."And why do you think Etuma's lead quality has gone up?Because their content provides so much value that interested visitors are willing to give inyour information to carry a download package with them.If you are looking for a place to startcreating topic clusters and pillar pages,consider deconstructingyour existing awareness offeringsor consider 10x content pillar pages.I deconstructed a camper guide from a DIY truckthrough a series of blog posts for my siteWildWeWander.com.And in an effort to solve the best experiencefor website visitorsand search engine web crawlers,deconstruct the guide contentin a pillar page focused on conversion.Result: In four months, our unpaid organic trafficfrom search engines increased 329%.

Remember if you have something valuableto tell your audience and the worlddon't leave it locked behind a form,Show me everything for everyone to see.Just make sure you pack it in a way that makes it easyfor people to take and enjoy elsewhere.

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