Posts Tagged "writing for SEO"

3 Tips for Writing Pillar Content

3 Tips for Writing Pillar Content

Here are three tips for writing pillar content that will help structure your posts, attract leads and gain better page rankings.

In case you missed our series on writing for SEO, pillar content is a highly effective way to define your brand, drive traffic, and convert website visitors to leads. But in order to be effective, these pages should be strategically designed to do their proper job in telling search engines what your site is all about.

Before we go further, let’s take a step back and talk about exactly what pillar content is. As search engines adjust their algorithms to favor topic-based content, savvy marketers are turning to topic clusters to structure their content.

“This method uses a single pillar page as the main hub of content for a given topic. All of your content assets related to that topic link back to the pillar page,” explains HubSpot blogger Amanda Zantal-Wiener.

Need some ideas for writing and structuring effective pillar content? Here are three tips to get you started.

3 tips for writing pillar content

1) Start thinking about your site differently.

Not so long ago, SEO optimization was all about keywords. But search engines are changing. As their algorithms get more sophisticated, they look for websites that can provide depth and breadth on a particular topic. That means topic-based content wins you better page rank. It’s time to start thinking about your site as a collection of topics rather than a collection of keywords.

2) Consider your core audience.

“Think about the top interests and challenges of your core audience personas to give you ideas for pillar page content,” says HubSpot blogger Sophia Bernazzani.

Good content marketing is all about cultivating your reputation as a trusted resource for your audience, and pillar pages are no exception. Chose topics that answer the needs of your target audience. Topics should be broad enough to be able to generate multiple related blog posts, but narrow enough that you can cover all related content on a single pillar page.

3) Your content is about answering questions.

“Pillar pages should answer any question or query a searcher might have about a topic — which will make them want to click on your pillar page when they enter a Google search term that your page ranks for,” writes Bernazzani. The goal is to draw site visitors with savvy pillar content, and let them explore all content in your topic cluster.

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Posts Tagged "writing for SEO"

Writing for SEO: Topic Clusters and Pillar Content (NOT Keywords)

Writing for SEO: Topic Clusters and Pillar Content (NOT Keywords)

Using topic clusters and pillar content instead of trying to rank for a short list of keywords will boost your search engine rankings and improve user experience.

This week, in our ongoing Writing for SEO series, we’re looking at topic clusters and pillar content. Our previous two posts explored how search engines are changing, and how people are changing the ways they search.

I’ve been hinting — more like, emphasizing — in our recent Writing for SEO series that trying to rank for certain keywords in each blog post you publish is a practice on the way out. You may have been wondering what you’re supposed to do instead. Today’s post on topic clusters and pillar content is your answer.

Before we dive too far in, it’s important to understand the key terms at work here.

  • Core topics are the several ideas/phrases/value propositions that most closely align with your brand. These are the categories that define your business and the knowledge you have to share with internet users. You want users searching the for these phrases to find your business. For Fronetics, content marketing and social media marketing for the supply chain are two obvious examples.
  • Pillar content is your evergreen content that covers those topics at a high level. For Fronetics, an example would be: Why Supply Chain and Logistics Businesses Need Content Marketing. Pages with pillar content are typically longer, offering a broad overview of the subject and linking to other webpages (cluster pages) that offer more in-depth information about related subtopics.
  • Topic clusters are the subtopics that cover a particular aspect of a core topic. For example, writing for SEO, blogging, and content strategy are a topic cluster that falls under the core topic of content marketing.
  • Cluster pages are webpages that contain content covering topics from your cluster. Each topic cluster page focuses on providing more detail for a specific keyword relating to the core topic. For example, Instagram Stories: How the Supply Chain Can Use Them to Engage Prospects and Customers (core topic: social media marketing) was one of our most popular topic cluster pages last year.

How to structure your pages

Your pillar content page should contain links to each related topic cluster page, and each cluster page should link back to the pillar content, with the same hyperlinked keyword. This allows visitors to move seamlessly between the pages to find information that is most relevant to them. It also helps search engines better understand the content of your website so it can drive appropriate traffic to your content.

Topic cluster pages should focus on driving traffic from specific queries (e.g., “How do I use Instagram Stories?”). Pillar content pages should include broad information about the core topics, as well as opportunities for website visitors to convert to leads. This sets up your website so that traffic comes in through your cluster pages and converts on your pillar content pages.

As HubSpot puts it, “The beauty of this model is that you can spend a lot more time optimizing your pillar content for conversions and your cluster content for traffic. This saves a lot of time compared to the traditional model of optimizing each individual post.”

Why topic clusters and pillar content

Using topic clusters and pillar content lets you organize your internal linking more efficiently, boost your search ranking, and provide a better user experience.

Because search engines are getting better at understanding semantically related concepts, this structure allows them to recognize your authority on a certain topic — rather than assigning you a ranking based on an exact word or phrase. It shows you have real depth and breadth on a topic, which is important to users searching for information about it.

As I say all the time, search engines are constantly evolving to bring the most relevant content to people who are searching. So if you can show search engines that you have breadth and depth on a topic, they will assign more authority and higher search placement to your website pages.

What’s more, one high performing cluster page can elevate search rankings for all the other pages linked to the same pillar. That means more users will find your content. That means more effective content marketing for you.

So, rather than writing around a short list of keywords for which you’d like to rank, you should focus on developing topic clusters and pillar content that align with your brand to drive organic traffic.

Want to learn more about writing for SEO? Make sure to read the other parts of our series: part 1, Writing for SEO: Search Engines are Changing, part 2, Writing for SEO: People Are Changing How They Search, and part 4, Writing for SEO: Measuring the Success of Your Content.

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Posts Tagged "writing for SEO"

Writing for SEO: People Are Changing How They Search

Writing for SEO: People Are Changing How They Search

Those writing for SEO need to be conscious of how users are being more conversational in their search queries and how search engines are analyzing phrases over keywords.

This is part two of a four-part series about writing for SEO for supply chain marketers.

Last week, we kicked off our Writing for SEO series by taking a look at how search engines are changing. As we delve further into updated strategies for effective SEO writing for supply chain marketers, today we’ll explore the ways in which people are changing their search behaviors, and what that means for your content.

Search queries are turning conversational

Before we start quoting studies and scholarly research, think for a minute about how you search the web, and how that’s changed over the past several years. Chances are, you do lots of searching on your phone, sometimes using voice search. (“Siri, what’s the fastest pizza delivery in my neighborhood?”) And you’re probably “talking” to the internet more like a friend than an encyclopedia.

The studies back us up. According to HubSpot’s blog, “Amplified by the rise of mobile and voice search, queries have become more and more conversational.” A few years ago people tended to enter a single term into a search engine. Now they’re increasingly asking questions and using full, complex sentences.

Search engines are responding. In order to understand this new type of query better, much of Google’s product development in the past 3-4 years has been about natural language processing. The 2013 introduction of Hummingbird, Google’s search algorithm, is a prime example.

Writing for SEO with topics over keywords

Search algorithms like Hummingbird have begun analyzing phrases rather than relying solely on keywords. This is big news for writing for SEO. As Google and other search engines move from keyword to topic-focused SEO, you need to be adjusting your content strategy to maximize your visibility.

We pointed out last week that keyword rankings aren’t as reliable as they used to be. In summary, search engines have evolved beyond the point that everyone gets the same results from a query (depending on location, search history, etc.). Therefore rank can change drastically depending on context. Now we’re looking at the same issue from the user end.

“The traditional view of ‘keywords’ in search has changed,” according to HubSpot. Traditional writing for SEO technique tells us that there were about 10-20 “big keywords” that were sought after for ranking within a topic. Now, there are hundreds or thousands of “long-tale variations” that people regularly search for within a topic — and change based on location.

To boil it all down, it’s no longer enough to dominate a few words. What’s important is broad visibility across a topic.

Make sure to read the other posts in our series, part 1: Writing for SEO: Search Engines are Changing, part 3: Writing for SEO: Topic Clusters and Pillar Content (NOT Keywords), and part 4: Writing for SEO: Measuring the Success of Your Content.

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Posts Tagged "writing for SEO"

Writing for SEO: Search Engines Are Changing

Writing for SEO: Search Engines Are Changing

In part one of a four-part series on writing for SEO, we address how search engines and the search landscape have changed recently.

Content marketing has seen a lot of changes in the past few years. These changes are largely results of the rapidly evolving search landscape, as well as a seismic shift in the way people are actually discovering content. New, more sophisticated search algorithms, changes in the way people use search engines, and new ways that marketers develop their content are just a few of the contributing factors and outcomes.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be writing a series of posts examining how marketers should approach writing for SEO in this new landscape. Today, we’re exploring specifically how search engines have evolved — something they are always doing, as they improve to help searchers find the content that best answers their queries.

Are keyword rankings still important?

It’s important to recognize that as search engines change the way they process and evaluate content, older metrics of SEO success aren’t as reliable as they used to be. Take keyword rankings for example. While conventional wisdom tells us that it’s absolutely necessary for content marketers to check their Google keyword rankings for target keywords, debate has swirled recently about the actual reliability of this metric.

Why is this once-standard metric being called into question? The answer is largely about context: Search engines have evolved beyond the point where everyone gets the same results of a query, and therefore rank can change drastically depending on context.

Location-based searches are one of the most obvious and important contextual variables. Simply put, depending on where you’re searching from, you’ll see different search results. This makes it difficult and unreliable to evaluate success based on keyword rankings alone.

Featured snippets

In addition to keyword-ranking problems, search engines are starting to dictate how content should be structured — particularly with the increased appearance of featured snippets. These snippets typically display content from within one of the pages ranking on page one of a question-based query, directly answering the question searched for without the user ever having to visit the actual page.

writing for SEO

Fronetics has the featured snippet for Supply Chain Management MBA Programs.

A recent study found that of 1.4 million queries, 30% showed a featured snippet — that’s big growth. This means that content that ranks within the featured snippet section often gets a much greater share of the traffic for the given query. For content creators, this points to a need to restructure content to try to appear within these featured snippets.

Changes to the way search engines work do present a challenge for content creators writing for SEO. But keeping pace with the ever-changing technology is key to keeping your content relevant.

Make sure to check out part 2 in our series, Writing for SEO: People Are Changing How They Search, part 3, Writing for SEO: Topic Clusters and Pillar Content (NOT Keywords), and part 4, Writing for SEO: Measuring the Success of Your Content.

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