SEO: Topic Clusters and Pillar Pages

What are they and why do they matter? Coconut’s Digital Marketing Manager, Ian Easton, brings the lowdown.

“It changes almost daily”. Since time immemorial, this has been the message on the flux of SEO. When us Digital Marketers think we have a handle on it, kaboom – goalposts move. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Algorithms that drive, and ultimately dictate your SEO, are in a constant state of fluidity. This in turn means that optimising your content in order to rank first in the SERPs, is an ongoing task. With tech and algorithms that interpret and present search results changing over the past 18 months, solely optimising content to rank for long-tail keywords could now be considered as outdated. This goes hand-in-hand with changing human behaviour; need drives change, and vice versa. With this in mind, we must dictate the way we create and display content across our media-space, whether it be on our website, social media channels or blogs.

The Way People Search Has changed
Users want more exacting information. Search engines are becoming more systematic at providing exactly what users want. This has resulted in over 60% of searches now being four words or more. To find the exact information they are looking for, users use longer-form and conversational search terms – which runs alongside the advent of an increasing rise in voice search.

Siri, Google Assistant, Google Home and Amazon Echo are just a handful of devices trailblazing the ever-growing trend which has seen over 25% of mobile searches carried out via voice search over the past 12 months. Essentially, users are doing this in an ongoing effort to sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to zeroing in on what they want. And what they want is: faster, slicker, more-targeted and more-refined content and information. To the point they tend to skim content; relying on headlines and truncated pull-out information to find the gist of what they need, so they can move on in their surfing journey.

Topic Clusters
This means the challenge for content creators, digital marketers and SEOs is to find more creative and concise ways of organising and presenting content so a user gains all the salient information they require from their source (your site). The most current and efficient way of doing this is through the topic cluster methodology.

Organising your site through the main topics you wish to rank for, with content including specific long-tail keywords which are hyperlinked and UTM-tracked to one another, means a broader and more-defining search engine authority. In a nutshell, your content can manage and address as many search queries as possible about said subject. A typical topic cluster content infrastructure would look like this:

The Topic Cluster methodology creates a more-focused site structure/architecture which organises and intrinsically links all URLs, in order for more of your site pages to rank in Google. It also helps users find information on your site quickly, which is all that they want!

This website structure consists of three components:

  • Pillar Content
  • Cluster Content
  • Hyperlinks

Pillar Pages
The Pillar Page method has been on the rise for the last 18-24 months and is the foundation on which a Topic Cluster is created. A Pillar Page is a repository of all aspects of a topic/subject grounded in one single “home base” page. This “home base” page then hyperlinks out to other supporting pages which detail any principal points of the topic/subject in more detail and depth. Pillar Pages cover a broad topic/subject and Cluster Content covers a specific keyword related to the broader topic/subject.

Pillar Pages cover a lot of ground. They offer more of an overview of the broader topic/subject, covering all aspects of it within the page. If users want to know more, they click the relevant section they require, and are then taken to a Cluster Content page with more in-depth information. Pillar Pages answer questions or queries a user might have about a topic/subject, making the user want to click on the page when they enter a search term, which the Pillar Page ranks for – ideally the related broad topic/subject. The Pillar Page then hyperlinks to Cluster Content pages to provide more comprehensive information. Again, this leads to a broader and more-defining search engine authority.

Pillar Page structure example:

Think of Pillar Pages and the resulting Cluster Content as a spider bubble diagram for the architectural structure of the content within your website, social media channels and blogs. They are an efficient way for your content to rank and can be used when reverse-engineering your repurposed content too. Using Pillar Pages, you can comprehensively cover all aspects of your content, product, or solution in one highly optimised and organised content mini-matrix.

Now where’s my Keyword Planner…

Enjoy creating!

So, what exactly is Franchise Cloud?

If you could find one platform where you could organise and manage all your franchise resources, why wouldn’t you use it!

As your franchise brand grows, you may start to come across niggly little issues, which if not dealt with, can lead to bigger problems. Especially when it comes to centralising marketing for a growing network of franchisees or controlling the often numerous informational resources. Here at Coconut, we understand franchising, and we understand how to help you achieve your goals, whether this is for recruitment, marketing, or keeping your franchisees on track. Which is why we have people in the team who are now working at resolving your system problems… not quite around the clock, but definitely at times when the rest of us are asleep!

Have you met Adam Knight, AKA Big Ad? He is passionate about helping you resolve issues you’ve shared with us, some of which you may not yet be aware you have. “We’ve been working on Franchise Cloud for 18 months, it started as a system which would allow us to work with whole franchise networks, not just with a franchise’s Head Office, for things like digital marketing and reporting. When someone is running online advertising for hundreds of franchisees, for example, we’ve experienced how difficult it can be to easily administer payments, issue reporting and regular network wide updates instead of email/telephone calls for each separate franchisee.”

So frustrating!

If you’ve also encountered this type of issue with your network, you’ll know, first-hand, how frustrating it can become. Which is why Adam, and the team, set about finding a solution. “We’ve created a system which allows Head Office to easily manage all of the resources the whole network needs to be successful, but also empowers franchisees to login, communicate with HQ, access anything they need and see their personal reports. They can also direct questions to HQ or the Coconut team as a marketing partner if we’re working on their campaigns, to ask for changes, without Head Office having to act as a go-between. Franchisees can also manage their payments, and receive regular updates on how their campaigns are performing, comparing data from across the network.”

Wait, there’s more!

We quickly realised Franchise Cloud could offer clients even more! As a hub, you can upload your operations manual, marketing collateral and templates, manage your franchisees’ websites or even their email marketing campaigns. “This isn’t some off-the-shelf software,” Ads continues. “Because we understand franchising, we know how unique every brand is. So, we tailor your Franchise Cloud to your specific needs. We use a franchise-aware, user-permissions system, to drive what people in your franchise network need to see and do. This ranges from Head Office to franchisee staff, to your marketing partners. Every module within Franchise Cloud can understand the various roles and relationships which make-up your business.

Your problems, our solution

We love franchising, which probably sounds twee! But, it’s what inspires us to never just be a supplier to our clients. “We aim to become a trusted expert partner,” Ads continues. “So, we see and hear directly, the problems which come from running a successful franchise system. The key issues we kept hearing were around centralisation, organisation, and controlling access to confidential information. There were also issues around permissions and how to, for example, share training videos in such a way they can’t be saved or shared outside the network. By building additional functionality within our internal client management tool, we believe we’ve empowered franchisors to keep control over who in your network can access any single piece of content.”

But, we’re not quite done!

As you can imagine, software is always being developed and improved, as new technology is created. “We’re currently recording a host of tutorial videos which will show exactly how each part of the system works,” Ads explains. “These will also show you how you can easily manage your content within the system, and how to manage some of the administrative tasks involved with keeping a network organised and successful, from within Franchise Cloud. There’s so much scope with Franchise Cloud, to bring you an efficient system which enables you to operate your franchise the way you need to, without any compromises. This is our ultimate goal.”

To find out more about Franchise Cloud, take a look on our website, or give us a call to arrange an in-depth discussion around your needs.

Your Own Tailored 12 Month Marketing Strategy

[vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Do you wish you had clarity over the next 12 months of marketing activity?

This is a complete review of your current marketing strategy, where we assess your current situation and make recommendations for the next 12 months. The outcome is a tailored and complete 12 month strategy document delivered electronically (so you can tweak it at a later stage!) and we also send you a hard copy version to keep in your office and share with colleagues.

  • Broken down into month by month activity
  • Full Media recommendations included in your plan: magazines, websites, social media channels and exhibitions
  • Your plan is always based on your franchise recruitment growth objectives
  • We run your objectives through our Budget Matrix to generate a benchmark budget

This is a professional marketing plan that you, as the client can implement and follow, with all activities, deadlines, costs and notes included. We can of course assist you with plan implementation when you require help.

Written by a qualified Chartered Marketer with input from the whole Coconut Creatives team utilising our expertise, latest industry thinking and an understanding of what is working for other Franchisors across industry and sector.

If you are interested in learning more about our Strategic Recruitment Marketing Plans please contact us via the form below and one of our team will be in touch![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][contact-form-7 id=”5974″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Market Your Franchise

[vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]“We bridge the gap between knowledge and application”

We’re the award-winning and published marketing specialists and we want to help you take your business to new levels. We can help you to develop YOUR potential using marketing knowledge through our training and coaching service.

Would you like to:

  • Work smarter and earn more money?
  • Learn and utilise methods that have been PROVEN to work?
  • Elevate your brand above the competition?

Whether you’re new to marketing or just need to brush up on your skills and approach things in a different way, this is the programme for you!

Welcome to Market Your Franchise

Market Your Franchise is an innovative education programme designed to provide franchisees with expert knowledge and the tools they need to successfully market themselves.

Did you know there are approximately 930 franchisors in the UK? These franchisors look after an estimated 22,400 franchisees! (source: the NatWest/ bfa franchise survey 2013). That’s a lot of franchisees to support! Our unique programme offers support to franchisors to help them deliver marketing training to their network. The training is designed to be extremely flexible so it can fit into any in-house marketing already in place or can be delivered as a solo marketing course.

The skills we teach will not only be useful now, they can be transferred across industry and sector in the future. Whether you are a franchisor or a franchisee, this programme will benefit you. After all, your futures are linked!

How does it work?

Each franchisee is set up with a specific username and password in order to access our MYF Resource Centre. This contains a wealth of resources, materials and videos.

Our dedicated marketing programme takes you through the year, step-by-step, month-by-month. You will have access to a wide range of expert knowledge that has been broken down into bite-sized chunks that you can digest and implement yourself. It’s easy to use and can be done at a time to suit you. Sound good? It certainly is!

Benefits of MYF

  • Improve your network sales and performance
  • Help deliver training to your whole franchisee network
  • Elevates your brand above the competition
  • Uses best practice marketing that we know delivers results

Reviews

“Implementing MYF techniques has helped us increase turnover by 75% in the last year,” Jim Suswain, Wagging Tails Franchisor

“I found the MYF programme extremely helpful. It showed me how to take a marketing concept and apply it in my business in a way that made a difference to my profits. I would recommend this programme to anyone,” Tina Gray, Rosemary Bookkeeping Franchise Partner.

“I believe that the expert support offered through the ‘Market Your Franchise’ programme should prove a rapid game changer for many currently under-skilled franchisees,” Tim Rylatt, ActionCOACH Franchisee.

Contact

If you are interested in learning more about our Market Your Franchise programme please contact us via the form below and one of our team will be in touch![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][contact-form-7 id=”5974″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Graphic Design

[vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]This project aims to give you the basics to get started. In order to design your logo we will look at your target audience, product/service you are offering, your vision for the brand and your competitors.

We will create 3-6 concepts for each item based on the criteria above.

  • Logo design
  • Stationery design
  • Recruitment advert template
  • Product/Service advert template

We also take on larger design projects. If you are interested in learning more about our Graphic Design Services please contact us via the form below and one of our team will be in touch![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][contact-form-7 id=”5974″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Strategy Session

Join us at one of our Coconut offices in Barnsley or Andover for a strategy session to review your current marketing.

Our strategy sessions are for you if:

You’re an established franchisor and…

  • you don’t hit your recruitment targets
  • you spend too much money to generate leads
  • you don’t have AT LEAST 3 to 4 ideal franchisee profiles

You’re a new franchisor and….

  • looking to develop your recruitment strategy
  • looking to recruit your first franchisees
  • looking for guidance and support with your recruitment marketing

At our strategy sessions we will suggest improvements for:

  • YOUR marketing strategy and it’s overall impact
  • Increasing your franchisee conversion ratios
  • Using tools that deliver results.

Our strategy sessions have proven effective for so many franchisors who gain significant clarity on the positives and negatives of their current campaign. Often undertaken by a Coconut Director (Sarah Carlile, Paul Clegg or Adam Lovelock), we will go through all your current materials and activities. This review will help guide you forward in a structured and organised manner for the next recruitment season and beyond.

Franchisors are encouraged to bring along ALL their branding, franchise recruitment collateral including prospectus, flyers, adverts, press releases, case studies and anything else important for review. We will go through all your current materials and activities, review your messaging and target audiences to uncover where things can be improved. This review will help give clarity on ways to improve your current approach and achieve more leads!

In short, your entire current situation is reviewed in line with what you want to achieve (franchise sales objectives). We will help organise you and put together a road map of activity for you to go away and implement, by way of a written Action Plan.

This session including the follow up Action Plan is chargeable at £397 + VAT. The Action Plan highlights all of the activity you need to do in order to get you the best possible chance of achieving your objectives for growth. This is a plan that you take away and implement yourself, with your own team, or we can do all or parts of this for you.

If you are interested in learning more about our strategy sessions please contact us via the form below and one of our team will be in touch!