//Create a Pillar Page for your Website

Create a Pillar Page for your Website

A pillar page is a comprehensive gated guide that details one main topic in-depth while linking to relevant and useful content created to dig into subtopics within the pillar theme.

The concept of pillar content or pillar pages isn’t new. As far back as 2006, marketers were describing longer, essential, or foundational content that people would read to answer questions and other sites would want to link to. Even way back then, people knew content that was used as a go-to resource was valuable, and creating original and useful content would always be ranked higher than regurgitated blogs filled with keywords.

A pillar page is a comprehensive gated guide that details one main topic in-depth while linking to relevant and useful content created to dig into subtopics within the pillar theme.

We all know our search habits have changed. Think about when you started using search engines. You were taught how to plug in specific terms and generally received thousands of results that matched those keywords. Over time, we have become more general in our searches and rely heavily on Google to understand our intention, location, and meaning behind our more conversational searches.

This change has only been amplified with the use of voice search. People are more likely to search full questions or long statements. In fact, 20% of mobile Google searches are made via voice search and with the rise of smart devices like Amazon Echo, this number is bound to increase. Currently, 64% of searches are four or more words, and everyone knows that to get the answers you are looking for with the significant amount of web content out there, you need to be as specific as possible.

Pillar Page for SEO

Due to Google focusing on becoming more intuitive with search results, a lot of the content that marketers create is bound to show up in searches not specifically using the keywords plugged into the H1 tag or meta description. Over time, you may have noticed your content is often competing with itself for Google rankings or with other posts without any obvious keyword. This is due to the topic ruling the roost of the ranking world. Time to join in the fun and start building your content in the form of…

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. How exactly do you go about choosing a topic, creating pillar pages and topic clusters, and promoting them?

Process of Creating a Pillar Page

  1. Strategize

Immediately stop thinking about your site and content strictly in terms of keywords. Keyword rankings are fluid and constantly changing. Keywords should be used to inform your content decisions, not control them. Google isn’t going to suddenly prioritize disorganized sites or irrelevant content. The topic cluster/pillar page strategy simply reorganizes your site into a more logical and user-friendly experience, which is something no search engine will ever discriminate against.

“Keyword rankings are fluid and constantly changing. Keywords should be used to inform your content decisions, not control them.”

Here are a few steps you can take to get started with brainstorming your pillar page content and your related topic cluster.

Creative Team Meeting

 

Think about your buyer personal and map out some of the main pain points they have.

Group these problems into topic areas.

Expand those topic areas with keyword research and create subtopics.

Create your content titles and ideas to align with your topic/subtopics.  If you have , they have created the Content Strategy Tool to help with this process. By inputting your pillar page topic, it will suggest subtopics you might be missing and help you create, execute, and analyze your topic cluster.

  1. Create Your Topic Cluster

We know coming up with a content plan can be daunting, and taking inventory of your historical content is a painstaking Endeavour, but knowing what you already have and what you’re missing is crucial.

Now that you have outlined the areas you want to include in your topic cluster, it’s time to build out your new network of interconnected content. To do this, you need to conduct a full content audit to determine what you already have to work with and what you will need to create. Go through your content offers and blog posts to find the areas you’ve covered thoroughly.

Once you have identified the content you are including, you can use   ’s Content Strategy Tool or other marketing software to add your subtopics to your main topic and analyze your current standing. The    tool will show your domain’s authority for each main topic and analyze how well your existing content is helping your relevancy. If you have a low relevancy score, you know you may need to dig into this subtopic a bit deeper. Here’s an example of how you can build your content cluster:

For links, “Make sure to hyperlink directly to other blogs in the cluster and your pillar page.”

With existing content, you must now go back and optimize those pages around your new main topic. Make sure to add any keywords that might be missing, or change keywords to relate to a broader array of searches. Make sure to hyperlink directly to other blogs in the cluster and your pillar page. Once you have gone back to optimize your content, the Content Strategy Tool will show all your link building to display a perfectly interconnected topic cluster!

Topic Cluster Creation Template

Write Pillar Page Content

Your topic is decided, your content cluster is brimming with links, and all that’s left to do is sit down and write your main source of informational content—the pillar page!

 

As a first step, outline your table of contents. Consider using chapter titles that respond to questions people are already asking. For instance, for this pillar page on pillar pages (genius, we know) we added headings such as “what is a pillar page?” and “how do you create a pillar page?” If you answer these direct questions throughout the page, you can increase your chances of being linked to by other sites, being picked up by Google Snippets, and gaining high rankings for full-question queries.

Here are some other key points to remember when writing your pillar page:

Remember to take into consideration content you already have available. Some or all of this can be repurposed as pillar page chapters. Also, make a note of the chapters that could benefit from a CTA for a relevant content offer or where you could add a video.

Keep in mind the keywords you are focusing on in your topic cluster and the other subtopics that will be linking to your pillar page.

Write each section with the thought in mind that you can reuse chapter content at a later date.

Consider that you are writing for the web. People scrolling through your pillar page will be expecting a different experience than if they were reading a textbook. Write in short sentences. Split your paragraphs into sections. Use headings and bullet lists to make the text easier to digest.

Try to add your own creativity to it. You are not trying to sell anything. You are aiming to prove your expertise and show value to your readers, so make it fun for them to read!

Make sure you clarify where each chapter begins and ends. Use different fonts, underlining, and bolding to make each section simple to follow. Also, your designer will thank you.

Add an introduction and conclusion. These sections will not be in the table of contents but are considered more of a header and footer to your pillar page. These should be only a couple of paragraphs long at maximum and should be used to tie your whole pillar page together.

In the introduction, choose a few statistics or definitions that your design team can highlight. This will attract readers and entice them to read further. Also, make sure you define your topic clearly and early in the introduction. This is how pages are chosen for Google Snippets and, the sooner you clearly define your topic, the faster Google can find it.

Select the pull quotes you want to highlight throughout your pillar page. Enlarge or bold these items.

There is no minimum or maximum word count for a pillar page. Some topics will require more in-depth content while other topics will be shorter and more concise. Keep in mind that a pillar page is supposed to be a comprehensive guide, so as long as you’re confident you have covered the topic fully, you’re covered—don’t just add content for the sake of increasing the word count.

“Since your pillar page should be the comprehensive guide to your topic, make sure you’ve answered the who, what, where, when, why, and how.”

Once you’ve finished writing, have others in your organization look over your pillar page. Ask your sales and support teams if questions they encounter often are answered within the page. Since your pillar page should be the comprehensive guide to your topic, make sure you’ve answered the who, what, where, when, why, and how. Finally, make sure you haven’t simply repeated the pillar page topic keyword in every chapter—that’s the old way! Make a list of synonyms or associated terms to include throughout your pillar content.

  1. Edit Pillar Page Content

Editing your pillar page content is a tedious but crucial step in the content creation process. With thorough revisions, you will be able to make sure your entire pillar page reads well as one cohesive document and accurately responds to the questions your visitors are asking.

The editing process also allows someone other than the original writer to comb through the pillar page. Editors should confirm whether chapters are in a coherent order, whether images, videos, and CTAs are placed properly, and whether all sources are cited.

Pillar pages are not just long blog posts. Editing them takes time and you should budget at least two to three revisions into your timeline. Also, if you are including a downloadable PDF version of your pillar page, this will also need at least one run through with your editor.

Once editing is complete—and after you praise your editor for their hard work—it’s time to let the design team take over.

  1. Design Pillar Page Content

Now is the time to let your brand’s creativity speak for itself. While there are some best practices (outlined in the next chapter) to give you a guideline, there are no rules to what your pillar page should or can look like.

The first pillar page you design will take the longest. After that, you will be able to reuse templates and designs for additional pillar content. Let your imagination run wild, and find the perfect way to show off your pillar page.

  1. Launch and Promote Your Pillar Page

Promoting your pillar page is sometimes overlooked, but it can be one of the best ways to jumpstart link building and get your content noticed. Here are some ways you can promote your new offer to your existing customers, leads, and industry insiders:

Include a downloadable PDF for those who want to keep the information or read the page later.

Send an email blast promoting your PDF version or the link to the pillar page to your existing customers.

Create smaller e-books, checklists, or info graphics out of pillar page content, and link back to your full guide.

Create new blog CTAs promoting the pillar page.

Use Quota and other knowledge-sharing sites to answer questions you respond to in your pillar content with links to the full guide.

Contact industry influencers and offer to include quotes on your page in exchange for sharing a link.

Include an email in your nurturing workflows linking to the guide and downloadable PDF.

Add an additional resources list with links, and let those companies know you are linking to them and suggest a link back.

Ultimately, your pillar page is a guide, and the information should be valuable not only just to your website visitors but to others in your industry and even to your competitors.

Congratulations! You’ve now completed the pillar page process! From here on out, it’s all about analyzing your page performance, optimizing your content, and continuing to update the page as new innovations, techniques, and useful information become available.

By |2018-09-21T08:29:09+00:00September 21st, 2018|How To Web Design Guides|0 Comments

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