How to Use Pillar Content for Better SEO
Posted by Sarah Wai on Oct 14, 2019 3:16:39 PM
Pillar content is taking the web marketing world by storm. When we discovered that it not only created helpful information for potential clients but that it also had immense benefits for SEO purposes, we had to start implementing it. The results we’ve seen for clients have been astonishing (you can see one example of pillar content strategy here).
Pillar content ticks a lot of Google’s boxes (as well as marketers') when it comes to searchable content, as it is:
- Answering real questions that people have
- Providing a bounty of ungated resources in one place
- Establishing companies as authoritative in their industry
- Building trust with potential clients
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s cover the basics of pillar content to remove any confusion.
What is Pillar Content Strategy and What are Pillar Pages?
Pillar pages are currently one of the most effective forms of collateral in the world of web marketing. With the changes in search engine algorithms that focus on user intentions and the rise of more conversational search queries, pillar pages have become the choice method for professional content creators.
Pillar pages are created to cover the broad aspects of a topic on a single page. The starting point for this is the creation of topic clusters, which are organized structures behind the scenes, that help direct search engines to all of your related content on a topic.
The process for this involves choosing broad topics you want to rank for, creating content based on specific keywords/phrases related to those topics, and then interlinking all of those topics to each other (where appropriate) and to the pillar page (the broad topic content). If it helps, think of it as a behind-the-scenes web of links. The benefit is that this is the kind of linking Google encourages!
Creating pillar pages and topic clusters increases your search engine authority and gives you a higher probability of showing up in search engines because you have created a one-stop-shop on a topic that answers the questions that real people are asking and searching for.
Because pillar pages cover a broad topic that points to more in-depth content you've created throughout your website, they are much longer than blog posts. They should answer any question a searcher may have about a topic. Once a searcher clicks on your website in a search engine, it leads them to the pillar page. They then have the option to click on the additional resources that you have linked to in your pillar page content. The additional resources should then lead these searchers further into the buyer's journey.
Here are some examples of pillar pages to give you a visual:
Benefits of Pillar Content Strategy and Creation
Pillar content creation is not as simple as compiling a bunch of content. There’s strategy involved that requires the skill of an SEO specialist and a content specialist. You’re creating content for SEO purposes, but you’re also creating content for real people. There has to be a balance, and that balance requires a strategic approach to reap the most significant benefits and to see the most success.
It’s also worth noting that if you haven’t been doing content right to begin with (plagiarizing, for example), then you’re likely going to run into some bumps along the way to SEO success. Just because you create pillar content doesn’t mean you’re going to see great success. All your bases have to be covered. Pillar content is a great tool to see faster SEO success, but it’s not the whole toolbox.
Let’s look at what benefits you’re likely to see if your website is already in good standing with search engines like Google (i.e., you have a website that was built within the few years that is always being search engine optimized and has valuable, non-plagiarized content).
Significantly Increased Traffic within Three Months of Roll-out
Here’s the thing: when you start creating content that checks all of Google’s boxes, they’re going to start giving you more real estate on their search engine result pages (SERPs). The key is to get that coveted real estate for search terms related the products and services you offer.
Our client, Transformyou, saw a 200% increase in traffic to a few of their product pages we turned into pillar pages just two months after we built the content. We did a deep dive to discover the questions that search engine users were asking, and we answered those on the pillar pages. With Google’s algorithm as it was (and still is), that was precisely what they wanted to see, and our client saw success because of it. An increase in traffic from the qualified users searching for what you have to offer almost always translates into sales, which is exactly what has happened for our clients.
Quality Content That Provides Value
Pillar content, when done correctly, requires a lot of research and background knowledge. It can’t just be slapped together. You have to be meticulous in compiling and creating pillar content.
Pillar pages require gap analysis, which means that gaps in the content on your site are filled. It essentially requires you to map out your content and figure out where the “directions” could be clearer. Because of this, you’re going to find that there is valuable, quality content being created for your website.
You’ll Keep Seeing Results as You Continue to Build Upon Your Pillar Content
Pillar content is not a “one and done” approach. Maybe you’ve heard of the Growth-Driven Design approach or Website as a Service (WaaS); think of it that way. It’s always being improved and built upon as you learn more about what people are searching for, what questions they need to be answered, and what content you are creating in the form of content offers, blogs, etc. As you create offers and additional website content, continue to add it to your pillar pages. This tells search engines that you’re continually adding value for web users, and it continues to build your web authority.
Are You Creating Pillar Content as Part of Your Greater Content Strategy?
It may be time to reevaluate your approach to content creation and include pillar content in your strategy. Not sure where to start? Schedule a time to talk with us and we’ll create the best plan for your unique needs and industry!
Written by Sarah Wai
Content, Email, and Social Media Marketing Specialist of Tribute Media. Bachelor of Science in Digital Communication Arts and Master in Business Administration. Holds HubSpot Certifications in Inbound Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, and Contextual Marketing.