When you’re creating a content strategy, what’s first and foremost on your mind?
You want to get more organic traffic, right?
Because you know that increased traffic leads to higher profits, and higher profits allow you to grow your business.
We’re going to talk about one content strategy that will drive that organic traffic – and keep them on your site longer than ever before.
It’s the magic of a pillar page.
Here’s what you need to know.
At its most basic, a pillar page is just a really, really long blog. (Like, more than 2K words but less than 3K.)
But it’s actually more than just a lengthy blog.
A pillar page is kind of a foundation that covers a specific topic. It’s meant to encompass all the elements of the broader topic, with additional blog clusters that go in-depth into each element. Each individual blog in the cluster gets linked back to the pillar page.
For example: If you’re writing a pillar page about “marketing for ecommerce,” you might then write blogs about more specific topics related to marketing for ecommerce, such as “ecommerce digital marketing agency,” “email marketing for ecommerce,” etc.
The reason a pillar page is typically longer than a usual blog post is that it covers a comprehensive overview of a broad topic, without going too in-depth.
It’s always good to have a visual to help you understand a concept, so take a look at the one below. Using our example, the red circle in the middle would be our pillar page topic: “Ecommerce marketing.”
The green circles represent the blogs about specific aspects of ecommerce marketing: email marketing for ecommerce, ecommerce digital marketing agency, and so on.
The white lines indicate that each of the blogs is linked back to the pillar page.
(Source: Weidert Group)
Now that you understand what a pillar page is, maybe you’re wondering why you would ever create one.
Actually, there are several great reasons and they add a lot of value to your overall content strategy and help you to get more organic traffic.
It’s really all about that sweet SEO. What does organization have to do with Search Engine Optimization?
You’re about to find out.
See, Google likes websites that are nicely organized. It’s easy to tell what your site is all about when it’s all sorted.
Using pillar pages organizes your content so Google can recognize it and rank it. The flip-side of this, of course, is that messy pages that don’t have a well-defined topic are put on Google’s naughty list and don’t rank well at all.
One aspect of website organization that really boosts that SEO juice is that the process weeds out duplicate content.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of being more focused on pumping out a high quantity of content instead of making sure it's quality content. And when that happens, you can be redundant without even realizing it.
A pillar page forces you to look at your content and determine how it all relates. When your audience sees the connection between the pages on your site, they’re much more likely to stick around longer and explore more.
Organizing your website with the help of pillar pages and clusters also helps you identify gaps in your content.
Now let’s take a deep dive into the different types of pillar pages that you may choose to create.
Many writers of pillar pages take this route.
It sets the stage that the readers should expect to get a broad but comprehensive overview of the topic.
When they see a title like, “Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Marketing,” they understand that what they’re about to read is going to tell them all they need to know.
A common framework for a guide-style pillar page (using our ecommerce marketing example) looks like this:
Pro Tip: Often, the sections of a guide pillar page can be expanded into their own pillar pages. 🤯
You may notice that this is an example of what we addressed in the “Pro Tip” above. We could take our “What is ecommerce marketing” section and make it a pillar page on its own. (Or you can just start here!)
This type of pillar page can be attractive to search engines when you consider how people usually go about searching. If they don’t know what a pillar page is, they would probably google, “What is a pillar page?” (Maybe that’s how you ended up here. 🤷🏼♀️ )
Maybe you’re thinking, “Umm...this question could be answered in way less than 2,000 words! How do I make it long enough?”
That’s a valid question. The answer is that your goal is to provide the most value to the reader.
As you try to answer the question of “what is” something, it’ll probably lead to more questions, like why it matters, why you need it, how to use/implement it, etc.
Sometimes, your audience will find you because they just want to know how to do something.
And most people appreciate good, step-by-step instructions.
Make the pillar page lengthier by addressing why the problem is worth fixing, why this particular process is the best one, etc.
You can also include a “How NOT To…” section and touch on some of the common misconceptions or mistakes related to the topic.
This is also a great place to use visuals to illustrate each step in the process.
Pillar pages (and the blog clusters they pave the way for) are a crucial part of your content strategy. They give your website an SEO boost and help you to organize your content in such a way that visitors will want to stay longer.
And we all know that the longer a visitor is on your site, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Guide pillar pages, what is it? pages, and how-tos are all great ways to add value for your readers.
If the idea of writing your own pillar pages sounds too confusing, complicated, or time-consuming, you don’t have to get down in the trenches and do it yourself.
Get in touch and let us help you with your pillar page strategy.