Pillar pages (or authoritative content) with cluster content is here to stay
The way buyers search for information online has changed and Google has updated its algorithm to favour topic-based content that is easy to navigate.
What is a pillar page?
Pillar pages provide an in-depth, un-gated coverage of a core topic (usually a minimum of 2,000 words, but often 5,000 to 10,000). From there, your audience should be able to delve into “topic clusters” of content in even more depth (usually links to blogs or further downloads).
There is still the opportunity to generate leads with a pillar page call to action such as, “Busy? Why not save a copy for later?” and links to other content assets. However, these come after your audience has realised it’s worth parting with their details, so conversions often increase.
BUT: If the subject is snippet-bait friendly (see below), why not optimise future posts for when you do find your SEO effort catapults you into the top 10?
What search phrases are common Google snippets?
Getstat’s blog, The Best Words and Themes to Generate Google Snippets has the data (and well worth a read for further info):
Mobile-first responsive design is a must
Google is rolling out “mobile first indexing”, which means that the mobile version of your site is now seen as the real deal – even if somebody searches from a desktop.
Sites that fail to give a great mobile user experience will therefore suffer even more than before.
Here are some questions to ask yourself (and your web design team):
- Is any content hidden on mobile e.g. expandable info? If so, despite what Google may say, you’d better change it. This study found that “hidden content appears to be devalued in mobile-first index.”
- Do you have a mobile version of your site? If so, switch to responsive, pronto!
- Is your site REALLY mobile friendly? Just because a site is mobile responsive, it doesn’t mean it works well on mobiles. Ask friends or family for feedback if you can’t afford UX studies.
Link-building isn’t going anywhere
Inbound links to your website tell Google that your page is trusted. That it’s worth reading.
We don’t see any evidence that Google’s confirmed top 3 ranking factors have changed from links and content, followed by Rankbrain.
However, you will need to ensure that any inbound links are not spammy. Link building takes a lot of time and dedication and requires tools such as AHRefs, Buzzsumo and SEMRush. As such, if you’re going to outsource any SEO activity, then this is one of those best left to the professionals.