Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a dynamic process, and marketers need to stay abreast of the changes that take place in this process to accordingly adjust their content and strategies. SEO has gradually changed from focusing on keywords to topics, which is a result of the evolving nature of search queries and the methods in which people ‘ask’ search engines for solutions.
While marketers initially used keywords to rank for the terms they wanted to associate with their business, topics have replaced this thinking.
Pillar pages are vital components for any modern-day marketer’s inbound marketing strategy, and marketers need to adjust the way they present their content to boost rankings.
What Are Pillar Pages?
A pillar page is an internet-based webpage that presents a comprehensive generalized overview of a website’s content. While it is a generalized overview, a pillar page provides users with the opportunity to absorb information about a topic in detail through links.
Pillar pages present brands as authorities on the topic and deliver more traffic to the page and, in turn, the website. A pillar page boosts e a brand’s search engine visibility by organizing content into related ‘clusters’ in an efficient way.
To put it in simpler terms, pillar pages are master pages that cover all related topics under one main umbrella page. It touches on all related topics without delving into too much detail. Pillar pages are comprehensive content that provides the audience with a good understanding of the topic, are generally lengthier than blog posts, comprise links to more detailed content, and provide hyperlinks at the beginning of the page.
Topics are all the things that marketers would want their business to be known for. It is what subject a brand wants to be found on search engines for when internet users search for a query.
- Topic Clusters
These are interlinked subtopics, also known as cluster content, which are related to the core topic. Topic clusters boost website relevance to the core topic when users search for a related query in a search engine.
These are links that take users from one web page to another and can be reached by a simple click on highlighted words or images. Hyperlinks help search engines crawl, index, and rank a website as they are interconnected to all related content.
Types of Pillar Pages
There are two basic formats of pillar pages; the Resource and the x10. While both have their own advantages and disadvantages, marketers need to choose the type that they are most compatible with, and which suits the content, and customers the best.
- The Resource
A resource pillar page is one that is linked to numerous external and internal content. While it is not as common a pillar page as the x10, it is certainly quicker and easier to create. It can be thought of as a hotspot of information from all across the web, accumulated in a single place. This makes it a reference page that readers like to come back to and generally bookmark.
- Who Uses the Resource?
The resource pillar page is used by those who have content that is useful, trustworthy, interesting, inspirational, emotional, high quality, remarkable, unique, and problem-solving. It is also used by those who have content that comprises organized links to both external and internal materials around a core topic, tremendous knowledge about useful websites other than its own, and easily navigable sections.
Generates inbound links from owned pages
Contains more external content
- The x10
The x10 pillar page is more widely used than the resource pillar page and comprises content that is almost completely owned by the creator. It serves as an opportunity to deep dive into a core topic and is quite similar to an ungated ebook.
- Who Uses the x10?
The x10 pillar page is utilized by those who have content that is problem-solving, trustworthy, high quality, interesting, inspirational, remarkable, unique, useful, and emotional.
The website owner’s content is the focal point, which helps establish the brand as an authority on a topic. Since the content on an x10 pillar page is original and organized, it is more appealing to search engines.
Requires hard work and expertise.
When Is a Brand Ready for a Pillar Page?
The need for the creation of a pillar page is important for marketers in terms of SEO. However, how can marketers know when is the right time for a brand to create a pillar page? To answer this, let’s head back to the definition of a pillar page. A pillar page’s function is to keep users informed about a topic that a brand considers itself as an authority on. So, a brand is ready for a pillar page when it can call itself an authority on a particular topic.
When Can a Brand Call itself an Authority on a Topic?
The following three checks help brands understand whether they are ready for a pillar page.
- Is the Topic Popular?
Marketers need to understand whether the topic that they are trying to rank for has adequate search volume. This can be done by visiting Google Trends, which allows marketers to see the number of searches for a keyword.
- Has the Brand Previously Covered This Topic?
Marketers are advised to go through their previously uploaded content to search for or related topics that can be repurposed or updated with current advancements for newer audiences.
- Does the Brand Want to Cover the Topic?
Brands that possess extensive knowledge on a particular topic can help others in understanding it better by creating a pillar page.
How to Create a Pillar Page?
Once marketers decide that their brand is ready for a pillar page, it is time to create it. The creation of a pillar page requires planning, an outline, writing, and designing.
Planning a pillar page is more complex than it sounds. It requires a considerable amount of time and expertise to ensure that the pillar page is up to mark. Since a pillar page comprises of all generalized information around a central topic, it is more than a lengthy blog post. It requires time for topic identification, keyword research, web designing, and much more. To simplify this, let’s take a look at a classified timetable.
- Topic identification takes up to 3 hours.
- Keyword research requires around 2 to 3 hours.
- Content auditing needs about 15 minutes per article.
- Outlining and planning take 2 to 4 hours.
- Writing requires about half a day.
- Editing requires approximately half an hour for every 500 words.
- Internal link cleanup needs around 15 to 20 minutes for every article.
According to this timetable, marketers need to dedicate somewhere around a whole 24 hours for a 5,000-word pillar page.
Once marketers complete planning and outlining their pillar page, comes one of the more challenging parts of creating a pillar page. To write a pillar page, marketers must follow the following points.
- Create Well-Defined Content
Since a pillar page consists of a large amount of content, it is important to make it as easy as possible for users to glance through. Make sure your content is defined by chapters, headlines, subtitles, and a table of contents to make it easy for users to find exactly what they are looking for.
- Make Use of Question-and-Answer Style Formats
Ideally, pillar pages must comprise Q&A content that is full of keywords to make it easier for users to navigate. Another plus point is that this allows websites to optimize content for Googles ‘Featured Snippets’, also known as ‘Rich Results,’ which is also a major part of Answer Engine Optimization (AEO).
There are a set of best practices that marketers make use of while designing their pillar page. These are as follows.
- Pillar pages are an entirely new webpage and not a part of the main business page.
- The topic phrase is to be included in the page URL, title, and H1 tag.
- Utilize visual elements to keep content interesting.
- Add navigation tools that enable users to skip to relevant content.
- Provide users the option to download pillar pages to generate leads.
Pillar pages are a useful method of harnessing and amplifying the SEO potential of regular content creation and staying competent by allowing websites to rank highly. Optimized pillar pages are geared to succeed by maximizing web traffic, engaging users, generating leads, and contributing to consumer demand.