In our Q2 digital marketing update for home builders, we mentioned the importance of identifying pillar pages and directing traffic to them in order to increase your website’s search engine rankings. In this article, we’ll explain in more detail what pillar pages are, what their corresponding topic clusters are, how they can all be integrated with your home builder SEO and blogging strategies to attract more organic traffic. Let’s dive in!
What Are Pillar Pages?
A pillar page is any page on your website that gives information about a broad topic (or keyword) that you want your site to rank for. For home builders, that could be a page that addresses new homes in a particular market or submarket, a build on your lot program, custom home building in a particular market, or a floor plan summary page. These are typically the pages that include your highest-level target keywords, like “new homes in [market]” or “custom homes in [market].”
Pillar pages are typically long-form summary pages that touch upon all the parts of a topic that you’re trying to rank for, and link off to pages that explain the subtopic in more detail (more on this below). The pillar page is like the hub of a wheel, and the spokes lead to other, more specific information. Another type of pillar page is written in shorter form, like a listicle, but still links out to various subtopic pages.
What are Topic Clusters?
Topic clusters are a series of pages on your website — usually in the form of blog posts — that further explain subtopics of the larger topic addressed in the pillar page. For example, if your pillar page is on the topic of “Custom Homes in Miami,” your sub-topics might be:
- How much does a custom home cost in Miami?
- How long does it take to build a custom home in Miami?
- What is the best area to build a custom home in Miami?
In a subtopic page or blog post, you are attempting to attract traffic for longer-tail keywords, specific search phrases, and unique keywords that people searching for custom homes in Miami might use. This helps your website rank higher for the narrower keywords that people use as they get deeper into their home searches.
Topic cluster pages always link back to the pillar pages using anchor text, driving traffic for the narrower search terms to the page that’s ranking for the higher-level search term, boosting your page rankings along the way.
Here is how a pillar-cluster hierarchy might look:
Pillar Page: New Homes In Houston
CLUSTER BLOG TOPICS:
• How to Buy a New Home in Houston
• Popular Home Designs in Houston
• Why People Love Living in Houston
• Top 10 Reasons to Relocate to Houston
• 5 Big Family Attractions in Houston
How to Develop Pillar and Cluster Pages
Your pillar pages are likely ones that you already have on your site. If you work with Group Two’s website development services to create your new website, pillar pages will be developed based on extensive keyword research and best practices for home builder websites.
To develop cluster topics for your blog, you would use a combination of keyword research, website activity, and feedback from the sales team to identify the subtopics that are of most interest or use to potential buyers.
When first crafting your pillar-cluster strategy, you should come up with a list of 5-7 cluster topics for each pillar page. If you have four pillar pages on your site (and if you blog once a week), that gives you 5-7 months of content in one planning session!
As you publish blog articles and share them to social media, be sure to keep track of which ones are performing (i.e. attracting the most web visitors, and from which sources), so that you can elaborate on blog topics that are of most interest to your audience.
Benefits of Pillar and Cluster Pages
When set up properly, the pillar-cluster method can:
- Help Google determine what your website is about, helping it rank higher for your target keywords and search phrases
- Increase engagement on the site, since you are publishing information that is specific and relevant to your audience
- Keep visitors on site longer, since there’s so many interesting links to follow and new things to learn!
In summary, the pillar-cluster method is one of the best ways to
1) provide helpful information to your audience to guide them along their home search, and
2) appeal to the almighty search engine algorithms.