A Pillar Page is a page on your website that covers a specific topic in detail. With a pillar page, you can link to various relevant subpages, called content clusters. On the Pillar Page, all content is teased and linked to. The user should be directed from the Pillar Page to the more in-depth Pieces and from there back to the Pillar. The Pillar Page connects all the content on your website that is relevant to a topic.
By the way, the name Pillar Content makes little sense in my opinion, because the article is carried by the subordinate articles and rather represents the roof, which is carried by the Pillars and connects them with each other.
Advantages for your SEO
- Content clusters serve specific and small-scale search queries and long-tail keywords.
- Google quickly captures and indexes the content of a Pillar
- Internal linking strengthens your website.
- A prepared holistic content leads to expert status in Google and they rank you relevant to your target audience.
- Your visitor will most likely click through your perfectly prepared content and thus stay longer on your website.
Analysis of the existing content
The analysis of the existing content is the foundation for developing a pillar page. This is done in three steps:
- Record all URLs of your website in an Excel list. You can use a tool such as Screaming Frog to identify the URLs.
- Expand this list with all the metrics relevant to you (e.g. session duration, bounce rate, conversions, organic traffic). You can find the metrics in your Google Analytics or HubSpot account.
- Use your favorite SEO tool like AHrefs or SEMRush and analyze for which keyword the content element is currently ranking and what it should rank for in the future. Include the main keyword, the monthly search volume and the current Google ranking in the list.
Define the main topic of the Pillar Page
The topic should be broad enough to provide enough possible subtopics. Furthermore, the topic should be chosen so that it will still be relevant and expandable in a few years. About 10-20 sub-pages are a good guideline. However, you should keep it within reasonable limits.
Look at your existing content and find your topic based on the question whether a topic is worth expanding and whether there are then enough subtopics for this that you can prepare structurally relevant. Once you have decided on a core topic, the next step is keyword research, which you do with the usual tools such as Google Keyword Planner.
For any given keyword, look at the first ten results on Google and consider how difficult it will be to rank for that keyword. If you are going to compete with many strong sites on the first page, it might be better to focus on a different keyword.
Identify cluster content
After you have defined the main topic of your Pillar Page, the next step is to determine the appropriate cluster topics. Here you proceed in two steps:
- In the first step, refer back to the Excel spreadsheet where you analyzed your existing content. Consider which existing content belongs to the topic area of your pillar topic. Add a column called “Pillar Page” to your Excel spreadsheet and mark all the content elements that you want to associate with your Pillar Page. Include those content elements that have a good ranking on Google and those that you have marked “revise”.
- In the second step, analyze the results of your keyword research. Go through the list keyword by keyword and consider whether they fit thematically with your pillar content. The individual keywords must have a lot to offer in terms of content so that they can function as independent cluster content. At the same time, they must solve a problem for your buyer persona and have an acceptable monthly search volume. Next, think of a suitable topic for each keyword.
Make sure that you interlink between the individual content elements on your website with the respective main keyword of the page. Signalize to the search engine for which keyword each page is to be found. Avoid link texts like “learn more” or “click here”.
Structure pages thoughtfully
Before you start working out your content cluster, you need to think about it: What is the logical order, where do you place your jump marks in the links, how is the eventual navigation designed and do you want to work with fold-out text elements? Don’t forget to list, tease and link all content clusters.
Write the content
After the research work is done, it’s time to create the Pillar Page. It is important to make the page appealing and provide added value. just because Pillar Pages are not written in an in-depth style, it does not mean that you should neglect the quality! Especially for B2B sites, Pillar Pages are a great way to position a company as the expert for complicated technical topics.
In the introduction, it’s a good idea to first outline the core topic, explain relevant terms, and include a table of contents with anchor links. readers can skim the page and keep track of it. You can implement a snippet with a definition of the core topic – in the best case, this will result in it being listed as a highlighted topic on Google. For better readability, you can highlight individual chapters in color to create a delineation of topics. The individual content clusters are outlined and then hyperlinked. By the way: To save work, you should first work out the content clusters. You can first collect all the information in detail and then shorten it on the main page.
Finally, you should include additional content such as PDFs, explanatory videos or infographics. These provide readers with valuable additional information and can be used for lead generation. Finally, when all the content is written, you should check that all internal links from the Pillar Page to the content clusters and reset.
When it comes to the success of your Pillar Page, it’s not simply a matter of choosing the right theme and the quality of the content, but also of design. Especially because your Pillar Page offers a lot of content, the design should be clear and aesthetically pleasing. The reader should be able to use your Pillar Page intuitively and lose track of where he is.
Important elements include a table of contents at the beginning of your Pillar Pages. Content should be well-structured using headings, bold markers, and bulleted lists. Links should be immediately recognizable as such.