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Mastering Effective Keyword Research for Pillar Pages

Updated: 28/03/2024

In digital marketing, keyword research drives organic traffic to your website. And when it comes to pillar pages, selecting the right keywords becomes even more critical. A well-executed keyword research strategy ensures that your pillar pages rank high in search engine results, attracting more visitors and establishing your authority in the industry. This post will explore the process of conducting effective keyword research for pillar pages and provide tips and techniques to achieve optimal results.

What Are the Steps involved in Keyword Research for Pillar Pages?

  1. Understand the Purpose of Pillar Pages
  2. Define Your Pillar Page’s Topic
  3. Identify Seed Keywords
  4. Expand Your Keyword List
  5. Analyse Keyword Metrics
  6. Group Keywords and Plan Pillar Page Structure

1. Identify the Purpose of Your Pillar Page

Before diving into keyword research, it’s essential to comprehend the purpose of pillar pages. Acting as comprehensive guides or hub pages, pillar content covers a broad topic, providing a solid foundation for subtopics or cluster content. Pillar pages are designed to capture the attention of search engines and users alike, offering valuable information and resources. By understanding the purpose of pillar pages, you can align your keyword research strategy to maximise their impact.

What are your business goals? 

What do you want to achieve from your pillar page (and broader topic cluster) Do you want to generate leads, increase traffic to your website, or build brand awareness? Once you know your goals, you can start to identify the topics that are most relevant to your business and your target audience.

What are your areas of expertise? 

What topics do you know a lot about? What are you passionate about? Pillar pages should be written on topics that you can authoritatively and comprehensively cover.

What are your competitors doing? 

Research your competitors’ websites and see what kind of content they’re publishing. Are there any gaps in their content that you could fill?

2. Brainstorm Pillar Page Topics

Once you have a good understanding of your business goals, areas of expertise, and competitive landscape, you can start to brainstorm pillar page topics.

  • Start broad. 
    Pillar pages should cover broad topics, not specific keywords. For example, a pillar page on the topic of “marketing” could cover a variety of subtopics such as content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing.
  • Be specific. 
    Even though pillar pages cover broad topics, they should still be specific enough to be relevant to your target audience. For example, if your target audience is small businesses, you might focus your pillar page on “small business marketing.”
  • Think evergreen. 
    Pillar pages should be written on topics that are evergreen, meaning that they will be relevant for years to come. Avoid topics that are trendy or faddish.

3. Prioritise Your Topic List

Once you have a list of potential pillar page topics, you can start to prioritise them. Consider the following factors:

  • Use a keyword research tool. There are a number of keyword research tools available, such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and SEMrush. These tools can help you to identify relevant keywords and their search volume.
  • Think about long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are more specific and less competitive than short-tail keywords. For example, the keyword “marketing” is very competitive, but the long-tail keyword “small business marketing tips” is less competitive.
  • Consider your audience’s intent. When choosing keywords, think about what your target audience is searching for. Are they looking for information, products, or services?
  • Search volume. How many people are searching for the topic?
  • Business relevance. How relevant is the topic to your business goals?
  • Competitive landscape. How much competition is there for the topic?

Once you have prioritised your pillar page topics, you can start to develop a keyword research strategy for each topic.

To conduct adequate keyword research, you must first define the topic of your pillar page. Consider the broader subject matter you want to cover and identify the central theme or focus. Selecting a topic relevant to your target audience, aligning with your business goals, and having sufficient search volume is essential. Industry-specific tools such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush can provide valuable insights into search volume, competition, and related keywords.

3. Identify Seed Keywords

Seed keywords act as the foundation for your keyword research. They are the core terms that represent your pillar page’s topic. Start by brainstorming a list of seed keywords directly related to your topic. These keywords should be broad enough to encompass various subtopics and cluster content. For example, if your pillar page is about “Digital Marketing Strategies,” seed keywords could include “digital marketing,” “online marketing,” “internet advertising,” and so on.

4. Expand Your Keyword List

Once you have your seed keywords, it’s time to expand your list by incorporating related and long-tail keywords. Related keywords are variations or synonyms of your seed keywords. In contrast, long-tail keywords are more specific and detailed phrases—Utilise keyword research tools to explore these variations and uncover new keyword opportunities. Tools like Ahrefs or Moz Keyword Explorer can provide valuable data to help you identify relevant keywords with high search volume and relatively low competition.

5. Analyse Keyword Metrics

After generating an extensive list of keywords, analysing their metrics is crucial to ensure you select the most effective ones for your pillar page. Look for metrics such as search volume, competition, and relevance. Focus on keywords with a high search volume and moderate competition. Additionally, consider the intent behind the keywords. Are they informational, transactional, or navigational? Understanding user intent will help you align your pillar page content accordingly.

6. Group Keywords and Plan Pillar Page Structure

Once you have a refined list of keywords, group them based on relevance and intent. These keyword groups will serve as your pillar page’s subtopics. Plan the structure of your pillar page by assigning each keyword group to a specific section. This will help you organise your content and create a cohesive user experience. Remember, the pillar page should comprehensively cover the main topic, addressing all subtopics logically.


Efficient keyword research is the backbone of successful pillar page creation. By understanding the purpose of pillar pages, defining your topic, and conducting thorough keyword research, you can create pillar content that captures your target audience’s attention and drives significant organic traffic to your website. Follow the steps outlined in this blog post, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering effective keyword research for pillar pages. Remember, keyword research is an ongoing process, so regularly monitor your performance and adapt your strategy accordingly for optimal results.

Chief Tea Boy and Marketeer

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