Search engines have developed. The keyword method alone no longer guarantees you’ll rank for the core assistance you offer. Search engines are now extremely better at determining user intent from search queries. This difference is so disruptive that HubSpot changed its approach to boosting SEO rank to pillar pages.
Creating clusters of content that connect to a comprehensive pillar page on a related core topic standards search engines that you are an authority on that topic. That boosts your SEO rank for that topic. We’re so concerned about this we even built a guide on how to do it.
Keywords, however, still hold a role to play. When you’re picking the core topic for your pillar page, and when you’re choosing subtopics, it’s best to select long-tail keywords that your domain can rank for.
Research Key Metrics for Core Topic Candidates
When you start up planning a pillar page campaign, the first thing you need to do is estimate out some good core topic candidates. These are potential core obstacles your pillar page will cover. Once you have those, it’s an opportunity to do keyword research.
This is where this new entrance building SEO rank with topic clusters pillar pages compares with old-school keyword research. You want to discover keywords that map to your core topic candidates. The best keywords will have a conventional monthly search volume and be relevant to your business plus the personas being targeted. Beyond that, you need to define related subtopics that are continuations of the core topic.
To begin, look at these metrics:
- Domain Authority: Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score that prognosticates how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). Scores vary from 1 to 100, with higher scores being better. To learn more see this Moz article.
- Monthly Search Volume: This is a type of the total number of searches through search engines over a provided time period, often the previous 12-months.
There are numerous tools that can help with this:
- Small SEO Tools Domain Authority Checker will dispense your domain authority for your domain, including domains you’re linking with.
- io tells you the search volume for any keyword (Google Keyword Planner will too do this if you have an AdWords account.
- HubSpot’s Content Strategy means will tell you both the Domain Authority and Search volume.
- SEMRush will tell you search volume as well and also have a number of other features to support you find similar keywords, and to research keywords used by your competitors.
Get the Best Core Topic Keyword Combinations
Match up your core topic candidates to see which your domain places better for, and has higher monthly search volume. Use a robust keyword tool such as being the Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush to help you find comparable search terms. These other search terms may be more commonly managed and have a better monthly search volume than your original keyword competitors.
Select the Subtopic Keywords
Once you choose your core topic, quickly make a list of 8-22 subtopics that hold the core topic. Subtopics don’t need to include the core topic words but should incorporate synonyms and closely-related words. For example, if the core topic is spot training, then your subtopics might be:
- Cloud migration training
- AWS training
- Azure training
- Google cloud training
- Cloud security training
- Cloud administration training
- Cloud automation training
- Cloud adoption barriers
As with core topic keywords, you’re looking for keywords furthermore phrases your target audience will use when searching concerning your products and services.