What is the Pillar-Cluster content model and how can affiliates leverage it?

I first read about the The Pillar-Cluster content model from a blog that was posted online via HubSpot a few months back. Reading digital marketing content from various sources is a good way to keep abreast of what’s happening in the digital landscape. I learn more about this industry and to progressing the way we deliver client strategy and affiliate marketing innovation.
The research suggested that search engines might not comprehend your full website, and in fact, the individual bits of information shared could cause confusion for ranking algorithms.  As a result, instead of content marketing working cohesively with traditional onsite and other SEO tactics, it can actually be competing against it. 

What are Pillar Clusters of content?

In order to provide the user with accurate and relevant answers for their queries – search engines need to understand what the user intent is behind every search.  For them to do this as well as they do, the search engine needs to be able to tell whether there is a topical connection behind a search query. They do this by referring to other similar queries that have been made in the past – and then find the content that best fits that query to match the results.  As such, Google will deliver the content that they feel is most authoritative on that specific topic.  It’s why most SEO’s are always telling you that the content you create needs to be unique and also be authoritative in nature to deliver real results.

How does it work?

To help Google recognise the content as a trusted authoritative piece, you can create what is now known as a “pillar” page.  Within that page would then be links to other clusters of detailed pages that would have greater detail on various subtopics, those would then at some point link back to what you have developed as the pillar page.  I’ll give you a quick example below of what I mean:
A Pillar page could start with: Why Bonuses Aren’t really free at online casinos
A sub set of Cluster pages would link with: 

  • Types of casino bonuses offered
  • How casinos calculate wagering requirements
  • How bonuses are paid out
  • Free money vs real money 
  • Casinos that offer free money and how to claim them

Doing this means your cluster pages will get a great organic boost should your pillar page rank higher. The cluster pages can help your pillar page rank higher if they start to index for your targeted keyword alongside. This would then have the content working together as opposed to against each other. The idea is that the infrastructure of your website would be much better creating a better overall experience for the end user.  The objective always being to make the user experience as simplistic as possible for your user to convert. 

How does this impact affiliates or affiliate marketers?

When creating your content marketing strategy – you will no doubt be targeting specific keywords that you would like to rank for.  A disorganised approach would be for you to curate lots of blogs that are designed to rank for specific long-tail keywords.  By doing this, you will end up with lots of blogs on similar topics – and they will end up competing against one another to rank your site.  
Instead of this, you should create a well-rounded authoritative piece of content which would be the cornerstone content. Then within that have sub-pages that lead off to other sections to your site within that text.  By relating those topics and having hyperlinks back to that pillar piece of content – there is a much better chance of your portal ranking higher in search results for your chosen keyword.  
If you are re-evaluating your SEO strategy to improve your organic rankings, consider the Pillar-Cluster content marketing approach.  Often its simple ideas like this that can make a big difference to your bottom line margins.

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