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Can Google Find Your Content?

November 14, 2017
Posted by Collin Carpio

Imagine walking into a grocery store and not seeing any aisles. There are no signs to point out which type of food is where, or even shelves to hold the food. Everything is just piled up in the middle of the store with an attendant standing next to it telling you, “Good luck.” As ridiculous of a scenario as this is, there’s a good chance your website’s content strategy is doing the same thing.

You add keywords to your blog posts, and there’s even a search bar that visitors can use, but, for the most part, there’s no other type of organization to your content. Everything just gets posted one thing after another, and your site racks up pages and pages of content that could have little to nothing in common with each other.

While a regular visitor may still be able to find your content after a little bit of searching, this organizational structure, or lack thereof, makes it harder for Google’s search engine web crawlers. It makes it difficult to figure out what your content is about and how it links back to everything else you’ve been posting.

Now that we’ve addressed what the problem is, we can talk about how to solve it.

When you’re designing your site and figuring out how to structure your content, group your posts into content clusters. Using the grocery store analogy, think of these content clusters as different aisles. All of the different items in the aisles are connected to each other. That’s exactly how your content should be organized.

Center your clusters around pillar pages. HubSpot’s Content Marketer Sophia Bernazzani gives a great definition of what a pillar page is in her blog post:

A pillar page is the basis on which a topic cluster is built. A pillar page covers all aspects of the topic on a single page, with room for more in-depth reporting in more detailed cluster blog posts…

These pillar pages serve as the jumping off point for your different posts. It’s the label on an aisle sign like pasta, which the rest of the food can fall under. So instead of just having a list of 100+ single posts, your content can now be organized into several distinct groups. Not only does this make it easy for site visitors to find your content, it provides an easier path for web crawlers to traverse and index your site.

Once you’ve set up your pillar pages, it’s time to create the cluster content that will branch off of it. If you’re starting this strategy with a complete blank slate, it’s important to develop a content plan for how you’re going to go about creating posts. The Content Marketing Institute provides an informative description of what a good plan should look like:

Think of it [your content plan] as a marketing plan that specifically relates to content; thus, it should include details such as the key topic areas you will cover, what content you will create, when and how to share content, and specific calls to action you will include.

If you already have a treasure trove of quality content on your site, you can go through and reorganize the posts so that they fall under your new pillar pages. While this may sound like a lot of work, it can drastically improve your site’s SEO, and help you move towards the first page of search results.

After creating this cluster content, or re-organizing existing posts into cluster content, you’ll need to link each individual post back to its respective pillar page. You can do this by hyperlinking a phrase within the cluster content that mentions the pillar page (e.g., hyperlinking the phrase “avoiding gluten” back to a pillar page about gluten-free diets).

This hyperlink provides a direct connection between the cluster and pillar content making it even easier for web crawlers to determine how all of this content is related, and it also provides a simple conversion path for site visitors.

Implementing a structured and strategic content organization plan within your site can help drive improved visibility and results. It’s important to note that even the most organized content structure is limited in its effect if you’re not creating content that is relevant and interesting to your industry and buyer personas. Make sure to stay up to date on our blog to learn how to create content and strategies that boost results.

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