HubSpot has Changed its Approach to SEO, So Should You

The idea of pillar content has been around for a while, but it started gaining more conversation in May of 2017 when HubSpot started releasing content about Topic Clusters and pillar pages. HubSpot was rocking the SEO world based on their research of how to improve SEO rank for specific topics.

The assertion they made was a seismic shift away from keywords to a new model of grouping related topics (topic clusters) and linking to all of the topics from a single page (pillar pages) to help brands improve SEO rank for the products and services they offer.

Now the evidence is in; Jay Baer recently published an article confirming that,

“For the first time in 3 years, search is responsible for more website traffic than social.”

SEO is now more important than ever, and pillar pages are the way to rank!

The benefits of this strategy aren’t limited to HubSpot users. All brands should be using pillar pages to boost SEO. We believe it's so critical SEO success that we built a pillar page on how to create pillar pages!

In this article I'll describe what pillar pages are, and tell you why your organization should be using them to rank in organic search for the core services you offer.

What are Pillar Pages?

A pillar page is a single web page that comprehensively covers a core topic. The pillar page content is built from subtopics. Taken together, these subtopics form topic clusters around the core pillar page topic. 

Within the pillar page are links to content pages that are related to that same topic. The subtopics published as part of the topic clusters link back to the pillar page and each other. This linking action signals to search engines that the pillar page is an authority on the core topic being covered. Neil Patel recently published an article explaining how pillar pages can improve SEO rank.

For example, see our pillar page on creating pillar pages here. See this article for a more detailed look at the different types of pillar pages you can create.

Driven by Changes in Search and Search Engines

In 2013, the Hummingbird update to Google search started parsing phrases rather than specific search queries. Then, with their 2015 Rankbrain update, Google machine learning artificial intelligence (AI) began interpreting searcher intent based on things like associated past searches, search history, and similar search themes. These changes were made to provide more relevant search results based on how searchers had evolved.

HubSpot summarized the change in approach:

“Nowadays, most [people] are comfortable posing complex questions to search engines, and they expect an accurate and timely result. Searchers who want a specific answer also use many different phrases in their queries. And now search engines are smart enough to recognize the connections across queries. Algorithms have evolved to the point where they can understand the topical context behind the search -- [the searchers intent]. [Search engines] tie [those searches] back to similar searches they have encountered in the past, and deliver web pages that best answer the query.”

Search Intent is Key

Simply put, search engines are becoming better at interpreting what people are looking for, their intent. Pillar pages and topic clusters address this shift and can help your organization rank for the core services you provide, and core problems that you solve. 

You Should Plan Your Pillar Content Now

HubSpot is so committed to this approach that they are sun-setting their built in keyword tool and moving their clients to pillar pages.


But this shift is not limited to HubSpot clients. This impacts everyone hoping to be found through organic search. So, everyone. We're moving our clients to this approach. You should be moving to pillar pages as well.

We're so passionate about this that we've built a pillar page on how to create pillar pages. Click the image blow to check it out.