By Stuart Roberts on August 14, 2018

Pillar pages: A quick and dirty guide

What does your business want to be known for? What topics do you want to ‘own’? What are your areas of expertise? Answered that? Good. Now; how do you prove your expertise in these areas while also boosting your SEO and driving conversions? 

The answer is pillar pages and content clusters.

Why pillar pages?

Marketing CRM Hubspot has conducted hardcore SEO research of late and found that things have changed considerably. According to their findings, optimising blog content to rank for long-tail keywords is no longer the best way to rank in search engine results. Instead, organising your blog architecture is.

That’s because the way we search for things has changed. Today, we’re far more conversational in the way we speak to search engines. We don’t search for ‘hot tub’; we search for ‘Discount hot tubs near me’. There’s also way more content than ever, and readers are skimming through content to find the bits that are most relevant to them.

To provide the best results, Google has therefore had to change. It looks for context and relevance, and as businesses, we can help Google by organising our content into clusters (or topics), creating a central hub for that info (pillar pages) and linking all this together with hyperlinks.

How to create a pillar page

By planning.

Look for those topics you want to own. These have to be quite broad, but not so broad that you can’t possibly cover the whole topic on one page. So, content marketing is far too broad. B2B content marketing strategy, however, is just about granular enough.

Think of 5-6 top-line chapters within this topic, then explore each of those in more detail. Each chapter should have enough info to answer a query a site visitor might have about a topic, but should also hyperlink out to your blogs that explore the point in more detail.

In this way, when planning each chapter of the pillar page, you should also map out the content you already have around that topic.

Make sure you hyperlink from this page to your more in-depth blogs and hyperlink back from that blog to the pillar page.

Lengthwise, your pillar page should be somewhere between 2,000-6,000 words. Make sure you include CTAs to you lead magnets too - eBooks, whitepapers, newsletters. Aside from an SEO bump, pillar pages can act as useful lead magnets too.

What do they look like?

Here’s some we made earlier.

For creative technologists Calvium: Calvium's Approach to Digital Placemaking

For membership organisation Vistage: Talent Management: The Comprehensive Guide for Leadership Teams

And for supplier of proven part-time Marketing Directors, The Marketing Centre: Marketing Theory for Non-Marketers

Here, you can see the hallmarks of an effective pillar page: a well-chosen topic, a clear structure and plenty of links to deep-dive ‘cluster’ content.

Pillar pages aren’t a content quick-fix, sure. They’ll require you to evaluate your existing content, think hard about what web visitors are looking for, and take time to write and get right. But for businesses with a large library of content, the SEO benefits are worth it.

Time to get cracking on yours.

Pillar pages are just one small element of effective content marketing. First you need strategy, planning, research and more. See how we've helped other businesses smash their goals.

Published by Stuart Roberts August 14, 2018