April 15, 2019
Let me ask you something: do you want a straightforward way to boost traffic to your website? Look no further than the all-mighty pillar page.
Never heard of them? Don't worry, we'll dive deep into what pillar pages are, why they work, and how you can start utilizing them on your website. If you want to drive traffic to your website to bring in new customers, you're going to have to rank high on Google's search results. Pillar pages make it simple to organize content around a core topic for your business so that Google knows you're the real expert and your site should come first.
There's a lot to cover here so we'll include examples from our website for you to follow along with when creating your own. Let's get to it!
In short, a pillar page is a web page that contains links to related pieces of content on your website. These could be blog posts or landing pages - anything from your website that can educate visitors and answer their questions.
Why do this? So that Google knows your website is an authority on a certain topic related to your business. The first step then is to know what topics or keywords you want your brand to be known for.
If you're in private wealth management do you want to be known for helping people plan for their retirement, handle their estate, invest in an index fund or a hedge fund? How about marketing consultants out there - do you want to be known for SEO, social media marketing, or email marketing? Before diving into creating pillar pages the first step is to understand the types of things you want prospects/customers to know you for and then look to you for.
Now that you've got your topics set it's time to get to work and create pillar pages for each of these core topics.
We've set some up one on content strategy, and have one on keyword research, analytics and more in the works. To create these pillar pages we've created content for the sub-topics underneath the core topics. For content strategy we've written blog posts on identifying your target market, creating a blog schedule, knowing what topics to cover, and some light SEO work. For the core topics in your business there are likely several sub topics related to them that you ought to be writing about.
The idea is to have something that looks a bit like this:
A pillar page can be thought of an index or table of contents of sorts - you share a bit of copy per each sub topic with a link to an existing blog post. This provides a robust resource on a core topic to your business, and gives Google a big 'heads up' that you're an expert - but more on that later.
Pillar pages bring a huge SEO boost to your site, but how?
There's a long answer to that and a short answer. The long answer is that it can get quite technical, Google's algorithm works in mysterious ways and when it comes to worrying about your business, well that's not much of a concern. What is important though is that they bring a benefit by linking pieces of content from your site together around a core idea, and that is something Google appreciates and looks favorably upon.
Take us for example, we may have a couple dozen blog posts on content strategy. On their own they're doing just fine, but their impact is limited. When catalogued together we suddenly have a page that brings a ton of value to prospects as well as existing customers, covers a wide array of related questions, and is a page that we can rank for on Google while opening the door to other content across our site.
If you've got a blog then a pillar page really is just about organizing your posts and creating a page that links to them. If you don't have a blog yet, then start blogging with your core topics in mind.
We touched on it above but it's worth really digging in with some examples from our approach.
Your pillar pages should be built with core topics related to your business in mind, therefore understanding those core topics is critical before beginning. We recommend starting with five or so, there may be more but five is a manageable number to start with. Keep these broad, for us they're:
SEO, Content Marketing, Keyword Research, Social Media Marketing, Business Blogging
There are other topics we cover on our site but if we had to choose five core topics we want to be known for, those are them. For each core topic there are likely keywords related to those topics that folks are searching for. Things like 'affordable seo strategies', 'what is seo', 'how do do keyword research', 'how to measure keyword research'... etc. We collect those sub keywords and form clusters (we call them Constellations) to then map out our blog strategy around.
If five sounds intimidating start with one. What is one thing you want your business to be known for? What questions might folks be asking or searching for related to that topic? From there, you'll know what kind of content to create and your pillar page will organize it neatly for your visitors.
We've covered a lot here, but an example or two may help. Everyone needs a little inspiration so we'll share and analyze a couple of our own pillar pages for you to model off of.
Let's take a look at our page on developing a content strategy.
Developing a content strategy is all about knowing who you are trying to reach, the story you want to tell, and how to go about actually telling it. The page is designed for folks who may be new to blogging or content marketing and need to know the basics. We've got five resources linked... though will likely add more as we continue to blog.
The immediate benefit this provides is collecting our posts written over the year to actually tell a story, with the hope being Google recognizes that and looks more favorably on our page.