What Is Pillar Content and Topic Clusters and Why You Should Care

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In the good old days of search engine optimization, a lot of small and medium-sized businesses would churn out articles faster than rabbits breed and stuff those articles with keywords to get a higher rank in local search. Those days have long gone.

What sells in 2019 is research-based, attention-grabbing content that solves real problems. Those in the industry call it pillar content.

What Is Pillar Content?

What is Pillar Content - CAPillar content is a collection of articles, blogs, web pages, videos, infographics, podcasts, and media files around a highly-targeted keyword that cover a topic exhaustively.

Let’s try to understand this through an example.

Pillar content is typically in long form with extensive research (2000+ words). It should be related to the business and could be a service of the business or a high search volume/money keyword.

Assume that you are a plumber and have written a DIY article on HVAC maintenance. A good pillar article covers the core topic in depth and touches on several sub-topics. The sub-topics can be: how to keep your central heat and cooling system in good shape during winters and summers, how to identify frequently occurring issues—clogged filters, inefficient heaters, and so on—and how the problems can be quickly remedied when they appear.

The goal of writing pillar content is to create a go-to reference for homeowners essentially. The shelf-life of a pillar page or article is measured in years. Once the article is complete, you can create a series of videos, infographics, images, and supplementary articles—to be published on your website or as guest blogs—to expand on each sub-topic. Together the pillars will constitute pillar content.


It is not sufficient just to create pillar content. The content should be arranged in such a manner that it is accessible to readers and search engines to understand. And that brings us to the next subject: topic clusters

What are Topic Clusters

Topic clusters are becoming the future of SEO. As cluster pages are created and linked to the pillar page, search engines will then use those links as signals to determine the authority of the pillar page. The more pages linking to the pillar page and the related cluster pages, the greater the chances that they will rank in SERP.

Pillar Content + Topic Clusters = Web Domination

Search engines have advanced a lot over the past few years. Old-school content marketing techniques rarely work nowadays.

In 2019, a recommended strategy for businesses is to create pillar content, and content silos allow local businesses to make the most of the new web.

Takes Care of Keywords in a Natural Manner

Keyword density was a big thing when Foxxr opened the shop because several search engines relied on other ranking mechanisms to rank websites. But recent search algorithm updates have rendered keyword density a meaningless term.

Clever use of pillar content and content silos permit you to utilize your primary keywords naturally.


Longtail Keywords are natural keywords

Credit to: Neil Patel, How to Generate 20,000 Monthly Visitors Through Long Tail Search

Ensures High-Quality and Value-Added Content Consistently

Back in the old days, churning out blogs as if there was no tomorrow was a normal practice. This has changed. High quality and value-added content are more important today than publishing frequency, which has been going down.

No one wants to read blog posts with the title “5 Local SEO Tips.” So don’t get started writing right away. Long articles and web pages are usually the ones on the first page of Google’s search for a keyword. Your readers want meat, not potatoes. A lot of the time, it is advisable to spend time creating one create a pillar article and topic clusters every week or two that can be used for several years instead of several short posts every day.

Is More Suitable for Conversational Search

Beginning with Hummingbird (a Google Algorithm); however, Google has gotten a lot more intelligent. For instance, Google focuses more on search intent than actual keywords. Few people type in “Starbucks San Francisco,” and more people are asking Google “Where can I find Starbucks in San Francisco?” Indeed, 20 percent of all Google searches on mobile are voice searches, thus more conversational.

In-depth research and clear demarcation will mean that you will be creating a piece of content your target audience can relate to.

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Benefits of Pillar Content

As a result, you can look forward to these tangible benefits:

  1. Higher Rank in Search. Writing several quality articles about a topic will cover all your keywords naturally.
  2. Future-Proof Strategy. Google’s increasing reliance on AI means the search engine emphasizes context more than keywords. Pillar article will provide plenty of context around a topic.
  3. Consumer Trust. Consumers are more likely to believe in you if you can show them your expertise through content.
  4. More Sales. When your content is your niche’s encyclopedia, your clients will turn to you for help and will be more likely to buy from you.


SEO has changed. Old content marketing techniques do not work. Adopt pillar content in your online marketing strategy to dominate search and expand your business.

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Brian Childers

Brian Childers is the Founder & CEO of Foxxr Digital Marketing, based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Childers leads a team of digital marketing experts with specialties in; Web Design, Local & National SEO, Paid Search Management, Link Building, Content Marketing, and Social Media to help clients attract an insane amount leads and revenue. Follow Brian on Twitter