You’ve probably heard about how important search engine optimization (SEO) is for your organization's website. You may have heard that SEO is about using the right keywords so your website ranks high in Google search results, driving more traffic to your site and delivering more sales leads.Keywords are important for SEO, but probably not in the way you would expect. In recent years search algorithms have changed, and they now focus on quality content, not just the number of keywords stuffed into a site. In fact, cramming unnecessary keywords into website text will quickly send a website to the bottom of the search pile.
So, it's important to do SEO right, and focus on creating content that will be of value to your target audience, driving them to your site. But it's not just about more traffic, it's about qualified traffic. If your site delivers valuable content, your target audience will develop trust in your content and your brand, meaning better sales leads.
One way to ensure your content is easy to find is to cluster related content around pillar articles. Pillar articles should be an important part of your SEO strategy, because the Google search algorithm has a particular fondness for clustered content.
A pillar article is a blog post or article on your website that explores and explains one of your core topics in depth. It offers readers a full explanation of your chosen core topic and explains the connection to related subtopics. As you create content in the future, you can link back to the pillar article from related subtopic posts.
Linking from related posts to the pillar article helps search engine crawlers understand how your content is clustered. It also makes it easier for readers to find other valuable, related content, keeping them on your website for longer, which creates a sticky website, also helping you rank higher on Google.
Pillar articles can be added to your inbound marketing strategy to improve your SEO, increasing leads and, in turn, your sales. You want to first ensure that your topic clusters, pillar articles, and core-subtopics are carefully crafted.
When deciding on core topics it's important to do keyword research. Hubspot has a tool that will show you the monthly search volume for keywords, and the difficulty level of reaching 1st-page ranking for those keywords. Ideally, you want to aim for core topics and keywords that have a reasonably high amount of monthly searches, with a lower-level difficulty for reaching the 1st page.
According to Hubspot, pillar articles should never contain forms or locked content. By ensuring that all content can be accessed on the pillar article page, the search engine crawlers can easily move through, and will rank the site higher.
It’s important to ensure all new content links back to the pillar article for its core topic. Interlinks or hyperlinks within your own site make it easier to navigate, and also help increase rankings on search engines.
We know more traffic doesn’t always mean more sales. But more traffic from people looking for information about products and services in your industry will definitely mean more leads. Providing pillar articles that answer questions from your customers or potential customers helps to build trust with them.
Regularly providing useful content for your customers also establishes you as a thought leader in your industry, which shows credibility to potential customers. Pillar articles make it easy for Google to put your content in front of people who are looking for your services. The easier your site is for Google to navigate, the higher it will rank and the more qualified traffic you will see.